Real estate billionaires profit from China’s move to ease Evergrande crisis

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China’s purchase of a stake in a troubled regional bank from China Evergrande Group in a bid to prevent contagion also benefits Shengjing Bank Co. investors, including some poker friends of Evergrande founder Hui. Ka Yan.

Evergrande agreed to sell a 20% stake in the bank to the local government of Shenyang for 10 billion yuan ($ 1.55 billion), with the bank demanding that all profits go to settle debts with the lender. Shengjing Bank rose 1.4% on Wednesday in Hong Kong on the deal, although the sale is unlikely to reduce Evergrande’s massive debts to bondholders and homebuyers. Evergrande fell 4% on Thursday, posting three days of gains.

ALSO READ: Evergrande Investors Say They Have Not Received Coupon Payment In Dollars Yet

Recent investors in Shengjing Bank include the following real estate billionaires who have financially supported Hui and Evergrande.

Cheung Chung Kiu

Chongqing’s Chinese-born chairman and founder of Hong Kong-listed company CC Land Holdings Ltd. is a regular player of the Big Two poker game with Hui. Cheung began by buying electronics and other goods in Hong Kong for resale on the mainland, and later moved into real estate. Today, his CC Land owns multi-billion dollar real estate in the UK, including the “Cheesegrater” skyscraper in London’s financial district. Cheung held direct and indirect minority interests in Shengjing as of June 30, according to the latest disclosure to the bank’s shareholders.

cheng family

Henry Cheng, president of New World Development, is Hui’s richest poker buddy, with a fortune of $ 23.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is the eldest son of the late Cheng Yu-tung, who fled rural Guangdong for Macau in 1940 before the Japanese occupation, married the daughter of a goldsmith and made a fortune in the real estate industry. The Chengs have invested in Evergrande projects and stocks, including this year’s public offering of Evergrande’s online real estate and auto markets known as FCB. The family indirectly held a minority stake in Shengjing, according to the report.

Paul Suen

Suen was once known as the “Shell King” of Hong Kong for holding stakes in dozens of small businesses while playing the city’s penny stocks. Its holdings include a minority stake in Shengjing held directly and indirectly. He also invested in English football club Birmingham City and Ambassadors Club of London, a casino that appears in the James Bond film “Dr. No.” A 2019 disclosure of Suen’s purchase of a stake in Shengjing Bank also showed that it had a stake in the Evergrande electric car company at the time, as well as Evergrande bonds.

ALSO READ: Country and company: how China and Evergrande rose together

Karen lo

Lo is a wealthy descendant of Hong Kong’s largest soymilk dynasty whose real estate ranges from mansions in Holmby Hills and Malibu, Calif., To pop star Sting’s former apartment overlooking Central Park in New York City. The University of Pennsylvania graduate, who has owned shares in dozens of companies, has moved on as an investor in Hong Kong-listed fashion company Esprit Holdings Ltd. to its largest shareholder. Lo made investments alongside Suen, including a stake in Shengjing from 2019 when they also disclosed interests in the Evergrande electric car company. Lo and his partner – Eugene Chuang, an investor and horse racing enthusiast – have created a chair in their name at the University of Hong Kong. A September 27 Shengjing filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange shows that Lo no longer has any interest in disclosing.

The Lau family

Joseph Lau’s Chinese Estates sold his stakes in Shengjing in 2017 to a company owned by his wife, Chan Hoi-wan. Chan then sold those and has not had a declared interest in the company since January 2020, according to a file. The billionaire family of Lau, another poker friend of Hui’s, also sold Evergrande shares.

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