Fantasia Holdings announced that it was unable to make a U.S. debt payment of $206 million on its due date of October 4. The company was owned by Zeng Baobao, the niece of Zeng Qinghong, a former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) top official and the right-hand man of former CCP head Jiang Zemin. Many media have reported that Zeng heads the Jiang faction since Jiang has been in poor health and their group has taken many actions against Xi Jinping.
People’s Daily reported on Fantasia’s missing the $206 million debt payment. It also reported that Fantasia raised 3.3 billion yuan (US$ 512 million) by selling a core business Li Li Le (邻里乐) from Color Life, a property management company that Fantasia owns, to Country Garden Services Holdings, another real estate giant in China.
The fact that People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the CCP Central Committee, reported the negative news about Fantasia, may convey a strong political message.
Also, an article analyzing Fantasia has appeared in many Chinese media. The article said that Fantasia appeared to have plenty of money when it reported its bank balance and its cash of 27.1 billion yuan (US$ 4.21 billion) on June 30, 2021. Actually, however, for real estate companies, the cash they hold may be the cash deposits from different house buyers, so banks will freeze that. Also, Fantasia may not have mentioned other debts that it has hidden from its report.
The article commented that Fantasia might have been blocked from issuing bonds and it therefore had no choice but to borrow money on the capital market. By June 30, 2021, its capital debt was 67 percent of its total debt, with the U.S. dollar debt accounting for 53 percent of the total debt. Among the 12 U.S. dollar debts that it has, only one has an interest rate lower than 8 percent; the other 11 all have rates of around 10 percent or higher, way above the average 7.5 percent interest rate on Renminbi debt.
Related postings on Chinascope:
1. People’s Daily, October 11, 2021
2. 163.com, October 9, 2021