Late 2021, the Fitch credit rating agency confirmed what the markets have been indicating for some time now – that Evergrande, one of the largest real developers in China, has not fulfilled its payment obligations which were due December 6.
The real estate giant is currently in a critical situation and its possible bankruptcy is expected to greatly affect the owners of Internazionale, the Suning group.
For Inter, the concern is very real, since Suning owns €2.6 billion in Evergrande shares. As a result, Suning is having serious liquidity problems as China has already revoked Evergreen’s license to build a mega-stadium in the city of Guangzhou.
Such long-term financial struggles are believed to be the reason for Suning’s refusal to inject more cash into the Nerazzurri and the departure of Antonio Conte, Achraf Hakimi and Romelu Lukaku.
For now, Inter’s performance has barely been affected, as the team is challenging for the title and have qualified for UEFA’s Champions League’s knockout stage.
They are currently priced at 67.0 in the Champions League winner odds to win the competition.
The company, which has delayed several bond payments in recent months and did not pay interest in September, failed to pay $82.5 million.
According to the rating agency, the group is now in default. To make matters worse, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which evaluates billionaires’ fortunes, also indicates that Zhang Jindong, owner of Suning and Inter, lost 2 billion dollars in 2021. That represents half of his fortune.
Currently, it is estimated that the company’s total debt exceeds $300 billion. There are many concerns about the impact of Evergreen’s bankruptcy not only on the real estate or Chinese market but the global market.
What Is Next for Inter?
While the Zhang family has repeatedly stated their interest in maintaining ownership of Inter it is now speculated that the club’s growing financial issues could force them to sell the club. It has been reported that several investment firms have demonstrated their interest in acquiring the club.
However, Suning is not willing to settle for any amount below the asking price, which currently stands at €1 billion.
Additionally, since October, there has also been speculation that Saudi Arabia’s royal family, in the form of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) group has plans to buy Inter.
The group, which revolutionised the world of football by acquiring Newcastle United for £300 million, are rumoured to be interested in taking over the historic European club.
The acquisition of the club by Mohammed bin Salman would reinforce the team’s position inside the Italian league, but also provide the club with resources to fight with Europe’s strongest sides and reclaim their place as a Champions League contender.
For now, regardless of any deal going through, what is imperative is for the club to give players the stability for them to maintain their performance levels, avoiding any delayed payments or similar situations, and for the board to make fans feel like they are part of the club again.