“Evergrande gives our money back! Investors protest against Chinese developer’s office

GUANGZHOU, China, Jan.4 (Reuters) – Investors in financial products issued by China Evergrande Group protested outside the cash-strapped offices of the company in Guangzhou on Tuesday, with many fearing their returns could be sacrificed to keep projects going. real estate afloat.

Crowds of around 100 shouted “Evergrande, give our money back!”, Repeating a chant used by disgruntled investors and suppliers last fall as its deteriorating financial situation became apparent.

On Friday, Evergrande (3333.HK) announced a recall of investor repayment plans in its wealth management products, announcing that each could expect 8,000 yuan ($ 1,256) per month in principal for three months at beginning in January, regardless of the time. their investment matures.

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Once the best-selling developer in China, but now under more than $ 300 billion in liabilities, Evergrande previously agreed to repay 10% by month’s end when the product matures, without specifying an amount.

The change has raised concerns among investors that they will not get their money back.

“I think it’s hopeless and I’m scared, but if we don’t fight for our rights it’s worse,” said a retired woman surnamed Du who was among those on the outside Evergrande offices in the southern Chinese metropolis and said it had invested one million yuan in Evergrande wealth management products.

“The economy is not good right now, these are ordinary people and they need this money for the children, to support their parents,” she said.

By noon, around sixty demonstrators had been confined by security personnel.

Lured by the promise of yields of around 12%, freebies such as Dyson air purifiers and Gucci bags, and the guarantee of China’s top-selling developer, tens of thousands of investors have purchased management products. heritage via Evergrande. L1N2QN2YG

More than 80,000 people – including employees, their families and friends, and owners of Evergrande properties – have purchased products that have raised more than 100 billion yuan in the past five years, a sales manager said. Evergrande Wealth, launched in 2016 as a peer-to-peer (P2) online lending platform that was originally used to finance its real estate projects.

“We fear being sacrificed,” said a 34-year-old protester who works in e-commerce and would only name Sophie, for fear of reprisals from the authorities.

“It’s okay for young people like me, we can always get it back, but I am worried about the older ones who have it all set up,” she said.

China Evergrande did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the protest or on investor concerns.

Protesters and members of messaging groups of people who owed Evergrande money said police told them not to cause any problems and saw their newsgroups blocked.

Sophie said police had taken her to the station four times since joining protests at the Evergrande headquarters in nearby Shenzhen in September.

“We don’t know what happens to our money but we have to be quiet, it’s not fair,” she said.

($ 1 = 6.3718 yuan Chinese renminbi)

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Reporting by David Kirton Editng by Tony Munroe and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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