UPDATE 1-China Evergrande warns of default risks, H1 profit more than doubles

(Adds details, background)

HONG KONG, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Debt-laden property developer China Evergrande Group warned on Tuesday of liquidity and default risks if it fails to resume construction, dispose of more assets and renew loans, as it reported a doubling in first-half net profit.

The country’s No.2 property developer by sales said in a filing it would adjust project development timetables, “vigorously” promote sales, renew or extend borrowings, dispose of equity interests and assets as well as introduce new investors to the group and its units.

The measures were aimed at improving cashflow and reducing debt, it said.

“In the event that the Group fails to implement the above measures...its liquidity issues may deteriorate, which may result in defaults on borrowings and litigations,” it said in a filing to the stock exchange.

But it added the company will have sufficient working capital to meet the financial obligations due in the next 12 months, if the measures are implemented effectively.

Evergrande has been scrambling to raise funds it needs to pay its many lenders and suppliers, with regulators and financial markets worried that any crisis could ripple through China’s banking system.

Industry watchers said clear signs are now emerging that authorities at various levels are stepping in to avoid a hard landing for Evergrande, amid worries about the “social impact” of a possible collapse.

Evergrande said earlier this month that it is in talks to sell certain assets, including stakes in Hong Kong-listed units Evergrande New Energy Vehicle and Evergrande Property Services.

Reuters also reported the company was seeking buyers for a bulk of its urban renewal projects in the southern high-tech city Shenzhen.

China Vanke , the country’s No.3 player, and Shenzhen Investment, backed by the Shenzhen city government, told reporters at their earnings conferences on Monday they have been in talks with Evergrande on cooperation but no decision has been made.

In Tuesday’s filing, Evergrande disclosed for the first time it has sold property units to suppliers and contractors to offset some payments, amounting to 25.2 billion yuan ($3.90 billion), and offloaded a 49% stake in bottled water unit, Evergrande Spring Group, for 2 billion yuan.

It has also disposed interests in five property projects and other non-core assets for a total of 9.27 billion yuan, it added.

The developer reported a 120% rise in net profit in the first six months to 14.4 billion yuan.

Including non-controlling interests, however, profit was 10.5 billion yuan, 29% lower than a year earlier, dampened by losses in property and NEV businesses. The company issued a profit warning last week.

Its total borrowings stood at 571.8 billion yuan, compared with 716.5 billion at the end of 2020, while total liabilities rose slightly to 1.97 trillion yuan, compared with 1.95 trillion yuan.

Shares of Evergrande eased 0.7% ahead of the results, versus a 1.3% rise in the boarder market. ($1 = 6.4616 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Louise Heavens and Jacqueline Wong)