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China property firms’ shares, bonds take hit after Yango debt exchange

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November 2, 2021

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Shares and bonds of Chinese property developers stumbled on Tuesday as worries over spreading financial contagion worsened following a debt exchange from one of the country’s top 20 homebuilders that triggered a flurry of credit warnings.

Yango Group Co Ltd on Monday offered to exchange some U.S. dollar bonds for new notes personally guaranteed by its chairman to avoid defaulting on upcoming debt payments.

Fitch Ratings said on Tuesday that it considered the offer a distressed debt exchange, downgrading Yango’s rating to “C” from “B-“. Moody’s Investors Service earlier cut Yango’s corporate family rating to Caa2 from B2, citing liquidity risk.

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“Yango may not be able to mobilise all of its cash holdings to repay its maturing debts, given that most of it resides in its project companies. In addition, Yango’s exposure to its joint ventures is significant, which could limit its ability to control its cash flow,” Moody’s said in a statement.

China Chengxin International, a domestic agency, said it had placed the company on a watchlist for possible downgrades, while Dagong Global Credit Rating Co on Monday cut its outlook on Yango to negative due to uncertainty over funds for debt repayments.

Yango Group did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

The downgrades and warnings weighed on market sentiment on Tuesday, pushing Hong Kong’s mainland properties sub-index down more than 4%, taking its losses since an Oct. 22 peak – when China Evergrande Group narrowly avoided a $19 billion default – to nearly 17%.

The CSI300 real estate index of A-shares fell more than 3%, while Yango’s own shares fell as much as 9%.

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Yango Group’s bonds fell sharply for a second day, with Duration Finance quoting its 12% March 2024 bond down almost 58% on the day to less than 13 cents, yielding nearly 160%. Its Shenzhen-traded April 2024 bond fell more than 15%.

November 2022 and 2023 bonds issued by Evergrande unit Scenery Journey fell more than 12% to about 20% of their face value ahead of coupon payments totaling $82.5 million this weekend.

Bonds issued by developers Yuzhou Group Holdings Co, Ronshine China Holdings and Zhenro Properties Group also fell more than 10%.

Evergrande narrowly avoided a catastrophic default for the second time in a week on Friday, making a last-minute payment on an overdue dollar bond coupon. On Tuesday its shares gave up early gains to fall 2.5%.

Evergrande’s woes have brought collateral damage to China’s property sector, with some Chinese developers forced into formal default on their dollar bonds last month and others proposing extended payment schedules.

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(Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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Canada’s Shopify records Black Friday sales up 21%

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November 27, 2021

(Reuters) – Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc recorded worldwide sales of nearly $2.9 billion on Black Friday, an increase of about 21% in comparison to last year, the company said Saturday.

New York, London and Los Angeles were among the top-selling cities, the company said, while apparel and accessories was the top-selling product category.

Shopify also said it funded 23,000+ tonnes of carbon removal to counteract emissions from the delivery of every order placed on its platform on Black Friday.

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(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Xiaomi to open car plant in Beijing with annual output of 300,000 vehicles – Beijing govt

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November 27, 2021

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp will build a plant that can produce 300,000 vehicles annually in Beijing for its electric vehicle unit, authorities in the capital said on Saturday.

The plant will be constructed in two phases and Xiaomi will also built its auto unit’s headquarters, sales and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the government-backed economic development agency Beijing E-Town said on its official WeChat account.

Beijing E-Town said it anticipated the plant reaching mass production in 2024, a goal announced by Xiaomi’s Chief Executive Lei Jun in October.

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In March, Xiaomi said it would commit to investing $10 billion in a new electric car division over 10 years. The company completed the business registration of its EV unit in late August.

The company has been opening thousands of stores to spur domestic sales growth for its smartphone business but eventually intends to use these shops as a channel for its plans to sell electric vehicles.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by William Mallard)

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Eni sells Snam 49.9% stake in Algeria gas pipelines for 385 million euros

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November 27, 2021

MILAN (Reuters) -Italian energy group Eni has agreed to sell gas group Snam 49.9% of its stake in strategic pipelines carrying Algerian gas into Italy for 385 million euros ($436 million), the two companies said on Saturday.

The pipelines will be jointly controlled by the two companies, they said in a joint statement.

Italy imports more than 90% of its overall gas needs and Algerian gas currently accounts for around 30% of flows.

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“This transaction allows us to free up new resources to be used on our energy transition path,” Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi said.

Eni is working on spinning off a series of oil and gas operations into new joint ventures to help reduce debt and fund its shift to low-carbon energy.

Snam, which owns a 20% stake in the TAP pipeline that carries Azeri gas into Italy, makes most of its money from managing Italy’s gas transport grid.

It has pledged to spend more on new green business lines such as hydrogen and, like other gas grid operators in Europe, is upgrading its gas network to be hydrogen ready.

“In the future, North Africa could also become a hub for producing solar energy and green hydrogen,” Snam CEO Marco Alvera said.

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The pipeline companies involved in the deal posted net income of around 90 million euros in 2020.

($1 = 0.8836 euros)

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Giselda Vagnoni)

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