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China Evergrande Group asked international creditors to give the giant property developer more time to get a grip on its complicated financial situation, and warned that drastic legal action could be destabilizing.

The plea came days after a group of international bondholders threatened to enforce their legal rights against Evergrande, saying they had been unable to engage substantively with the troubled Chinese real-estate company for months. Advisers to some Evergrande bondholders last Thursday released a statement accusing the developer of withholding crucial information about its liabilities and failing to engage, despite statements to the contrary.

Evergrande’s board and its risk-management committee “sincerely ask all offshore creditors to give us more time," and the company needs their support while it fully considers various uncertainties and risks, the company said Monday on its website.

The developer said it is working with its advisers to communicate with overseas debt holders and has told creditors that it was sparing no effort to evaluate its situation, stabilize its business, and formulate a comprehensive restructuring plan.

Evergrande said it had made some progress in exploring how to resolve its risks but also realized that further work would be required given its scale, wide range of businesses and many stakeholders. It asked creditors to “refrain from taking any radical legal actions, which will have an impact on the current hard-won stability."

The company has been slow to engage with international bondholders in part because the government has got involved in Evergrande’s affairs, according to a person familiar with the matter. In December, Evergrande sought help from the government of its home province of Guangdong, and major decisions are now being made by a risk-management committee that includes company executives and representatives from several state-backed organizations.

The company is also awaiting more clarity on the Chinese government’s willingness to support the broader property sector, the person said. China’s Communist Party will hold an annual legislative meeting in March that may include policy changes or important signals for the industry, which could influence the direction of Evergrande’s restructuring. As such, it may be several more months before a potential deal with international bondholders comes together, the person added.

Evergrande, which has roughly $20 billion in international debt outstanding out of around $300 billion in liabilities, has struggled to meet its financial obligations since the summer and is deemed to be in default by all three major credit-rating companies. Its bonds now trade far below face value.

A large group of the company’s international bondholders—including global funds, asset managers and distressed investors—are being advised by investment bank Moelis & Co. and law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

In an earlier response last Friday, Evergrande had said its risk-management committee was actively looking for solutions and communicating with creditors, and planned to deal with its debts fairly. The company, which last year engaged Houlihan Lokey Inc. and Hong Kong-based Admiralty Harbour Capital Ltd. as financial advisers, said it would also hire China International Capital Corp., BOCI Asia Ltd., and Zhong Lun Law Firm LLP.

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