China Evergrande bondholders brace for Monday’s coupon deadline

October 11, 2021

By Andrew Galbraith

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Offshore bondholders of beleaguered developer China Evergrande Group were on Monday bracing for news on more than $148 million in looming bond coupon payments after the company missed two coupon deadlines last month.

Expectations that the company will make the semi-annual payments on its April 2022, April 2023 and April 2024 notes due Oct. 11 are slim as it prioritises onshore creditors and remains silent on its dollar debt obligations.

That has left offshore investors worried about the risk of large losses at the end of 30-day grace periods as the developer wrestles with more than $300 billion in liabilities.

Evergrande’s troubles have sent shockwaves across global markets and the firm has already missed payments on dollar bonds, worth a combined $131 million, that were due on Sept. 23 and Sept. 29.

Advisers to offshore bondholders said on Friday that they want more information and transparency from the cash-strapped property developer.

The offshore bondholders are also demanding more information about Evergrande’s plan to divest some businesses and how the proceeds would be used, the advisers said.

Trading in shares of Evergrande, as well as its Evergrande Property Services Group unit, has been halted since Oct. 4 pending a major deal announcement. On Monday, the company’s electric vehicle unit swung between large losses and gains, falling as much as 4.65% and rising by up to 9.28%.

Evergrande contagion worries affecting the broader Chinese property sector spilled into heavy selling of Chinese high-yield dollar debt last week, particularly after smaller developer Fantasia Holdings Group Co missed the deadline on a $206 million international market debt payment on Oct. 4.

The option-adjusted spread on the ICE BofA Asian Dollar High Yield Corporate China Issuers Index was last recorded at 2,069 basis points on Friday evening U.S. time, its widest ever.

Fantasia Group China Co said on Monday it will adjust the trading mechanism of its Shanghai-traded bonds following credit downgrades by China Chengxin International Credit Rating Co (CCXI), and said its parent had formed an emergency group to resolve liquidity problems.

The move comes after the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Friday paused trading of two of Fantasia Group’s exchange-traded bonds following sharp falls, and echoes a similar adjustment in trading of Evergrande’s onshore bonds last month.

“We believe policymakers have zero tolerance for systemic risk to emerge and are aiming to maintain a stable property market, and policy support could be forthcoming if the deterioration in property activity levels worsen,” said Kenneth Ho, head of Asia Credit Strategy at Goldman Sachs.

“That said, we also believe that policymakers do not want to over-stimulate, and their longer term goal is to deleverage the property sector. Finding the right balance may require more time, and the uncertainties are likely to be a continued source of volatility for the China property (high-yield) market.”

(Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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