Evergrande is starting to pay off its overdue debts and restart stalled real estate projects. Now the embattled Chinese developer is reportedly signaling that it wants to move away from housing and focus on cars.
Chairman Xu Jiayin, also known as Hui Ka Yan in Cantonese, said Friday that the firm wants to make electric vehicles its main business within a decade, according to Chinese state media. Evergrande did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN Business about Xu’s remarks. The comments — reportedly spoken during an internal meeting at Evergrande, according to the state-run 21st Century Business Herald — come as the company has demonstrated some attempts to get back on solid footing.
The company said in a statement Sunday that it has resumed work on more than 10 housing projects in southern Guangdong province, which will be delivered to homebuyers “one after another.” It also made a key interest payment late last week that allowed it to stay out of formal default, according to Chinese state media. In the remarks quoted by state media, Xu assured that the company could get back on track by restarting work and resuming sales, which he said would allow Evergrande to pay suppliers, investors and financial institutions.
The company’s Sunday statement also said that the projects in Guangdong were in “full swing.” It said in a separate statement on WeChat that construction at more than 40 housing projects in the Pearl River Delta region — which is in Guangdong — is “proceeding smoothly.” China’s second biggest developer still has massive problems to contend with. It is buckling under more than $300 billion worth of debt, and it faces a wave of upcoming interest payment deadlines. It met last week’s deadline to pay $83.5 million worth of interest on a US dollar bond, but that was at the tail end of a 30-day grace period. Another grace period on a $47.5 million interest payment expires this Friday.