**Country Garden Holdings Co. Bondholders Look to Billionaire Chair Yang Huiyan for Support**
Bondholders of Country Garden Holdings Co. are hoping that billionaire Chair Yang Huiyan will use her personal fortune to help the struggling Chinese property firm. Yang, estimated to have a net worth of over $5 billion, is set to receive $28 million in dividends for her stake in the company’s services unit, which is enough to cover the missed bond payments. There is potential for an additional $35 million in cash payouts to a foundation owned by her family.
**Following the Footsteps of China Evergrande Group**
If Yang chooses to use her own money to pay off Country Garden’s debts, she would be following in the footsteps of Hui Ka Yan, founder of defaulted developer China Evergrande Group. Hui faced pressure from creditors to use his personal wealth to support his firm.
**Default Fears and Downgrades**
Country Garden, once regarded as a “model enterprise,” is at risk of joining the ranks of defaulters like Evergrande if the missed payments are not made within a 30-day grace period. Investors have already priced in a likely default, with the company’s dollar bond trading at about 10 cents on the dollar. Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Country Garden by three notches, and the company forecasts a first-half loss of up to $7.6 billion.
**Yang’s Dividends and Payment Wall**
Over time, Yang has collected almost $5 billion in dividends from Country Garden and Country Garden Services Holdings Co. It is unknown how she has utilized these proceeds. However, given the company’s impending payment wall of 7.8 billion yuan this month, it is likely that she has accumulated a sizable pool of funds.
**Will Funds Continue to Keep Bondholders Afloat?**
While Country Garden has shown a higher willingness to pay compared to other privately-owned developers, it remains uncertain if they will continue to utilize their own funds to support bondholders. Zerlina Zeng, a senior credit analyst, highlights the challenges the company faces with declining contracted sales.
**The Unusual Transfer and Dividend Payment**
In a surprising move, Yang transferred a significant portion of her personal stake in Country Garden Services to a charity foundation controlled by her sister. UBS Group analysts found the timing of this transfer to be unusual. Subsequently, the payment date for the company’s dividends was brought forward.
Despite receiving dividends, Yang’s net worth has declined significantly as Country Garden faces a debt crisis. Her fortune has slumped by 84% since its peak in June 2021, leaving her with a net worth of $5.5 billion.
**Possible Asset Liquidation**
Country Garden may consider selling shares to raise cash in the short-term. However, selling off investment properties may not be a viable option, as the company’s assets are unlikely to be attractive to potential buyers.
**Other Family Stakes**
In addition to the dividends received, the family still controls a $2 billion stake in Country Garden, a $1.2 billion stake in Country Garden Services, and a $20 million stake in Bright Scholar Education Holdings Ltd.
Yang’s father, Yeung Kwok Keung, co-founded Country Garden in 1992 and transferred a controlling stake to her in 2005. The company experienced rapid growth in the booming Chinese housing market and became well-known in the Guangdong province. At the young age of 25, Yang became China’s richest woman and eventually took on key leadership roles within Country Garden.
Overall, bondholders are looking to Yang Huiyan to use her personal fortune to support Country Garden during its debt crisis. While she has received significant dividends and controls family stakes in various companies, the future remains uncertain for the struggling property firm.