Evergrande considering selling Guangzhou FC: source

Evergrande considering selling Guangzhou FC: source

Evergrande, which has been struggling to meet repayments on over $300 billion in debt, is considering selling money-losing Guangzhou Football Club, the person said.

The construction on the 12 billion yuan $1.86 billion Guangzhou Evergrande Football Stadium began in April last year and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022, when it was set to be the world's largest soccer stadium by capacity.

Evergrande halted construction due to lack of capital, and ceded control to authorities that plan to sell the stadium, or - in the absence of buyers - acquire it via state-owned Guangzhou City Construction Investment Group, the person said.

Another person familiar with the matter said construction had stopped for at least three months.

Evergrande didn't want to say anything. In September, the stadium works were as normal. The Guangzhou city government did not answer Reuters' calls. Guangzhou City Construction Investment did not respond to a request for comment.

Evergrande was once China's top-selling property developer, but is now struggling to repay creditors and suppliers. People familiar with the matter told Reuters that local governments in China are steering sales of some of its assets.

Evergrande's troubles in meeting offshore bond repayments rattled markets and upended the broader property sector with a string of developer defaults and credit-rating downgrades.

The last month it pulled back from the brink of default, leaving investors on tenterhooks as they wait to see whether it can meet its obligations to pay an overdue coupon worth $82.5 million before a 30 day grace period ends on December 6.

Evergrande bought control of Guangzhou FC for 100 million yuan in 2010 and saw its value hover at 19 billion yuan before its delisting in March. The club has suffered high-profile exits against the backdrop of its owner's financial woe.

In September, the eight-times Chinese Super League champions said head coach Fabio Cannavaro had left by mutual consent. Brazil-born forward Ricardo Goulart, who took Chinese citizenship to help China reach the World Cup finals, has been terminated from his contract with the club, Reuters reported this month.

A person close to the school and a lawyer representing some of the staff said since August, the Evergrande-owned soccer school has laid off more than 100 staff due to the constraints of the school. Both declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Foreign coaches and translators have been asked to leave, the lawyer said.

It is not known how many people the school employed before or after the redundancies. A person close to Evergrande said the school was operating as normal.