After weeks of setbacks in the insolvent company’s attempt to liquidate its assets and repay creditors, China Evergrande finally had some success in raising capital when it sold two of its private jets for more than $50 million last month. According to the WSJ, the money from the sale was used to pay a foreign debt coupon and helped avert a default on its US dollar debt.
According to WSJ sources, American aircraft investors bought the planes, both of which were Gulfstream G650 jets. The sales closed in October, the same month that Evergrande made two overdue bond-coupon payments shortly before 30-day grace periods on them expired.
After the sale, the Shenzhen-based Evergrande likely has at least two more jets it can use to repay debt. According to online records, the company had at least four jets recently and has one more on order.
The property developer’s private jet fleet is the result of founder and chairman Hui Ka Yan’s splurge on luxury jets during the company’s heyday which he used to fly himself, Evergrande executives, and others around the world. Other Chinese conglomerates, like the formerly high-flying HNA Group, also boasted flashy private jets with luxurious interiors. They are all now bankrupt.
Pre-pandemic flight records for one of Evergrande’s Gulfstream jets show it flew regularly from Guangzhou and Hong Kong to other major cities including London, Los Angeles, and Boston. It also made trips to the islands of Saipan and Bali.
The company sold that plane, a five-year-old G650ER ultralong-range aircraft that can seat 15 passengers, for less than $40 million in late October, the people familiar with the matter said. The buyer was Earth Air, a company backed by private aviation investors that operates out of Los Angeles and owns two similar Gulfstream jets.
Alex Joya, president and partner at Earth Air, confirmed to the WSJ that his company recently purchased the plane but said he couldn’t disclose details of the transaction.