China: Will Evergrande pay creditors back with their greenhouse?

The faltering Chinese real estate developer Evergrande is repaying creditors with real estate. The company reports on the Chinese chat app WeChat that investors can now opt for discounted real estate instead of cash. These would be apartments, offices, retail spaces, or parking garages. On these, Evergrande would offer discounts of up to 50%. Among their premises is also a giant greenhouse complex.

Financial trouble
In Hong Kong, shares of real estate giant Evergrande Group are trading 17 percent lower Monday morning. The property developer is on the verge of collapse, and investors fear that this will be the start of a new financial crisis.

Evergrande is struggling with an immense debt of approximately 300 billion dollars, while the government does not seem to want to extend a helping hand at this time. The group employs about 200,000 people and indirectly almost 4 million work for the company.

Among their premises is also a gigantic, recently opened greenhouse project. Dutch company FoodVentures joined forces with Evergrande to run the new build greenhouses in China. 

FoodVentures entered into a multi-million dollar contract with the Chinese to grow to a hundred acres in five years. Around fifty million euros is needed per greenhouse, the lion's share of which will be provided by the Chinese real estate party. Evergrande built the greenhouses, which would then be run by FoodVentures. This spring, the first greenhouse was opened in Shanghai. 

The newspaper asked Dirk Aleven, CEO of FoodVentures, for a reaction. He says he is not worried and expects that eventually, Evergrande will be too important for the Chinese government to simply drop. Moreover, he does not see the investments in horticulture in China stopping just like that. 


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