Cash-strapped Evergrande Group misses loan payments to two banks

Topics Evergrande

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China's Evergrande Group missed interest payments due Monday to at least two of its largest bank creditors, taking the cash-strapped developer a step closer to one of the nation’s biggest debt restructurings.

Evergrande hadn’t made the payments as of late Tuesday local time, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. Banks were expecting Evergrande to miss the deadline after China’s housing ministry told them the company would be unable to pay on time. It’s unclear whether banks will formally declare Evergrande in default. Some are waiting for the developer to propose a loan extension plan before deciding on next steps, two people said. Evergrande’s next closely watched debt deadline comes on Thursday, when it’s due to pay interest on two bonds.

The property giant’s cash crunch has become a key focus for global investors. While many China watchers predict Beijing will take steps to contain any fallout from Evergrande’s crisis, official silence on the company’s plight is unnerving investors. Authorities may give some signals about their willingness to reduce systemic stress on Wednesday, when the People’s Bank of China resumes daily open-market operations after a holiday break.

Evergrande, which has more than $300 billion of liabilities, didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment outside of business hours. Evergrande has borrowed about 572 billion yuan ($88.5 billion) from banks and other financial institutions including trusts, with nearly half due in less than a year, according to its latest financial statements. 

“We believe Beijing would only be compelled to step in if there is a far-reaching contagion causing multiple major developers to fail and posing systemic risks to the economy,” according to an S&P report dated September 20.

Chinese developer’s dollar bonds slump amid repayment fears

The dollar bonds of Chinese developer Sinic have come under intense selling pressure this week, following a plunge in the firm’s shares and a credit rating downgrade on concerns over its finances. Sinic’s $246 million bond due Oct 18 was trading at around 25 cents to 28 cents on the dollar Tuesday morning, according to credit traders. 

The note finished last week around 90 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

The firm’s two dollar notes maturing next year were indicated to have fallen to below 25 cents, the data shows, from around 75 cents. S&P Global Ratings lowered Sinic to CCC+ from B on Tuesday and put it on watch for further downgrade, citing “substantial risk.” Sinic halted trading after an 87% slump in its shares on Monday afternoon.

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