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Court orders China’s bankrupt Evergrande to liquidate

A judge in Hong Kong on Monday ordered the bankrupt China Evergrande Group to liquidate, saying the indebted real estate giant has failed to present a stable restructuring plan.

Bankrupt Chinese real estate giant Evergrande on Monday was ordered to liquidate by a Hong Kong judge who argued the deeply indebted firm has failed to present a stable restructuring plan more than two years after its default.

Evergrande is the world's most heavily indebted property developer and became the poster child for China's property crisis. 

The move by Justice Linda Chan is the latest blow to the property behemoth and comes amid growing fears that problems in China's property sector could spread to other parts of the country's economy as growth slows. 

"It is time for the court to say enough is enough," Chan said in court on Monday.

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The decision sets the stage for what is expected to be a drawn-out and complicated process with potential political considerations as investors watch whether the Chinese courts will recognize Hong Kong's ruling, given the many authorities involved. Offshore investors will be focused on how Chinese authorities treat foreign creditors when a company fails.

Chan appointed Alvarez & Marsal as the liquidator, saying an appointment would be in the interests of all creditors because it could take charge of a new restructuring plan for Evergrande at a time when its chairman, Hui Ka Yan, is under investigation for suspected crimes.

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Evergrande, which has $240 billion of assets, sent a struggling property sector into a tailspin and dealt a blow to the economy when it defaulted on its debt in 2021. The liquidation ruling creates further uncertainty for China's already fragile capital and property markets.

Since the sector's debt crisis unfolded in mid-2021, companies accounting for 40% of Chinese home sales have defaulted.

Evergrande recently had $330 billion of liabilities. A late 2021 default triggered a string of defaults at other builders, resulting in thousands of unfinished homes across China.

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Evergrande could appeal the liquidation order, but the liquidation process would proceed pending the outcome of the appeal.

FOX Business' Bradford Betz and Reuters contributed to this report.

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