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EXCLUSIVE-China Evergrande in talks with Xiaomi consortium to sell EV unit stake-sources

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Embattled Chinese property developer Evergrande Group is in talks with smartphone maker Xiaomi and Shenzhen state-backed investment firms as it looks to sell part of a 65% stake in its electric vehicle (EV) unit, three sources said.

The Evergrande New Energy Vehicle (NEV) Group had a market capitalisation of $12.5 billion on Thursday and one of the sources said the consortium is looking to buy a significant minority stake.

Evergrande, Xiaomi and Shenzhen’s state asset regulator did not respond to requests for comment.

The talks were said by the sources to be at an early stage and subject to changes.

The developer said last week that it was in discussions with several independent third-party investors on the proposed sale of certain assets, including stakes in Evergrande NEV, as part of its efforts to reduce debt.

Smartphone maker Xiaomi has been ramping up investments in EV suppliers after it unveiled its EV ambition with an investment of $10 billion in March, following its peers from Apple Inc to Huawei Technologies Co as they bet on more cars becoming battery-powered and smart.

Evergrande has been struggling to raise funds to pay its debts after Beijing stepped up curbs on the real estate sector to contain the risks of a bubble.

China’s central bank, banking and insurance regulator said they had summoned executives of China Evergrande Group to a meeting on Thursday.

Investors have been worried about Evergrande's financial health here and the potential systemic financial risk it poses.

Concerns about Evergrande intensified after it failed in June here to pay some commercial paper on time. A Chinese court froze a $20 million bank deposit held by the firm on the request of China Guangfa Bank last month. ($1 = 7.7911 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Zhang Yan in Shanghai; Additional reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Elaine Hardcastle)

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