A mansion at one of Hong Kong’s most exclusive neighbourhoods found its buyer after a fire sale and 15 months on the auction block, offering a minor victory for China Evergrande Group’s liquidators as they grapple to sell the defunct developer’s assets.

The 5,171-sq ft mansion at 10B Black’s Link, previously held by an Evergrande executive, sold last month for HK$448 million (US$57.35 million), according to the Land Registry. The price was 44 per cent less than the HK$800 million that valuers had estimated the property to be worth.

The buyer of the two-storey mansion, located near the Hong Kong Cricket Club and one of the island’s favourite trekking trails, was Sassicaia Company Limited, a privately owned company. The two directors of Sassicaia, registered in April, are the Singapore passport holder Lim Choi Hwee, and a Bermuda-registered company called Bartley Directors, which uses an agent in Hong Kong as its company secretary.

The sale showed that liquidators and receivers are making progress in their attempt to unravel the web of debt owed by Evergrande and its founder Hui Ka-yan, as they work through an estimated US$300 billion of liabilities after the developer’s liquidation in January. Overnight, Evergrande’s car-making unit was ordered to return 1.9 billion yuan (US$261.9 million) it received in subsidies from various local authorities after it failed to fulfil its production goals.
China Evergrande Group’s founder and chairman Hui Ka-yan at a meeting in Wuhan, China on June 5, 2017. Photo: AFP

The property was put up for sale by receivers in March 2023 to recover unpaid bills after being seized by China Construction Bank (Asia) in November 2022. Along with two adjacent mansions 10C and 10E, the three properties were remortgaged in late 2021 for HK$1.1 billion, compared with their combined valuation of HK$1.5 billion.

The mansion’s previous owner was registered as Better Vision and its director Tan Haijun, according to a company registration search. Tan was the director of Giant Hill, which owned adjacent mansions 10C and 10E on Black’s Link, according to Land Registry data. Hui resigned as Giant Hill’s director on July 30, 2021, and his seat was filled on the same day by Tan, according to the records.

Once China’s richest person, Hui’s personal wealth has dwindled since Evergrande was enmeshed in a debt crisis triggered by Beijing’s “three red lines” lending curbs in 2021, which choked off financing for developers that breached the central bank’s leverage limits. The Guangzhou-base developer defaulted on US$20 billion of offshore bonds.

The chokehold brought Evergrande, one of China’s biggest developers by sales, to its knees. The company was ordered into liquidation by a Hong Kong court in January, marking the largest such case in the city.

In March, the China Securities Regulatory Commission fined Evergrande 4.2 billion yuan, saying that the group had inflated its sales by 564 billion yuan in the years preceding its eventual collapse. It also slapped the company’s founder, known as Xu Jiayin on the mainland, with a 47-million yuan penalty and a lifelong ban from accessing the capital markets. Six other current and former executives of the Guangzhou-based home builder were each slapped with penalties of between 200,000 yuan and 15 million yuan.

The 10E property on Black’s Link, a three-storey detached house measuring 4,933 sq ft and an estimated market value of HK$550 million, was put up for sale by public tender in March. Savills, the agent responsible for the sale, invited tenders for the property, which closed on April 22.