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Ping An Insurance faces $8 billion exposure in indebted China Fortune Land

FILE PHOTO: The company logo of Ping An Insurance is seen in Beijing, China, August 27, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) - Ping An Insurance Group Co of China 601318.SS said it has a total exposure of 54 billion yuan ($8.4 billion) in China Fortune Land Development Co as the indebted property developer faces mounting default pressure.

Ping An Co-CEO Xie Yonglin told an earnings conference on Thursday that the company was now leading a creditor committee handling the debts in China Fortune Land, in which the company has a 25% stake.

Over the years, China’s biggest insurer has invested some 18 billion yuan in the equities of China Fortune Land Development and 36 billion yuan in its debts, said Xie. Those investments are part of Ping An’s 8-trillion-yuan investment portfolio, he added.

Chinese authorities have since 2016 sought to limit lending to the over-leveraged property sector to prevent systemic risks. Regulators outlined borrowing caps known as “the three red lines” last August while the central bank in December also introduced caps on property loans granted by banks.

China Fortune Land’s operations are facing some challenges including a tight regulatory environment which is affecting payment collection, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and the company’s aggressive expansion, said Xie.

The company said in a statement on Monday it had missed payment of principal and interest totalling $813 million.

Reporting by Zhang Yan,Kevin Huang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Ana Nicolaci da Costa

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