Evergrande crisis: Central China Real Estate, Yango Group make last-ditch efforts to avoid bond defaults as Beijing piles on the pressure

By Iris Ouyang
/ SCMP |
November 5, 2021 9:02 AM SGT
Shanghai-based Yango Group has proposed exchanging US$747 million of outstanding dollar bonds due in the next two years. Photo: Reuters
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More Chinese property developers have made last-minute efforts to avoid bond defaults after regulators piled on the pressure to ensure embattled home builders repay their debts on time.
Central China Real Estate (CCRE), a Henan-based developer, said on Tuesday that it had remitted the funds to pay back all principal and interest on a dollar bond due this month. That would mean the funds, in their entirety, are now with a trustee who will transfer the money to the bondholders.
Meanwhile, Yango Group, a Shanghai-based peer, has proposed exchanging US$747 million ($1.01 billion) of outstanding dollar bonds due in the next two years, according to a filing on Monday to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, where the bonds were trading.
The eleventh-hour moves came as Beijing switched the focus of its crackdown on debt in the property sector to developers' liabilities in the offshore market. The industry continues to bear the brunt of a nationwide campaign to contain a property bubble and prevent financial risks from spreading.
CCRE's shares in Hong Kong lost 0.9 per cent to HK$1.12 (19.4 cents) on Tuesday. Its bond due November 8, with US$363.2 million outstanding, was trading at 98 cents on the dollar in the morning.
Yango's stock shed 6.7 per cent in Shenzhen, and its US$200 million dollar bond due January 11 was indicated at 22.05 cents on the dollar.
Yango is offering US$25 in cash and US$1,000 of new notes in exchange for each US$1,000 bond for two tranches due in 2022 and one that matures a year later. The debt swaps "are intended to improve liquidity, avoid payment default, and preserve options to stabilise our operations as a going concern," Yango said in the announcement.
Golden Credit Rating International downgraded Yango Group and its onshore bonds on Tuesday to AA+ from AAA.
Both developers join China Evergrande Group, the most indebted developer in the world, and numerous other peers in a mire of debt. Investors have been increasingly vigilant, dumping property bonds and shares since mid-September when Evergrande failed to pay back what it owed on its wealth management products.
"Persistently tightening governmental policy, multiple credit events, and deteriorating consumer sentiment have resulted in the temporary shutdown of various refinancing avenues for the sector and put enormous pressure on our short-term liquidity," Yango said. "The current sharp downturn in the financing environment...has limited our funding sources to address the upcoming maturities."
Last month China's central regulators summoned a number of developers and demanded they pay their offshore debt on time. CCRE was one of those in attendance at the meeting, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Meanwhile Fujian's foreign exchange watchdog gave Yango the green light to transfer its funds offshore, where they could be used to repay outstanding debt.
A third of China's property developers could see their liquidity "acutely strained" in the worst case scenario as weaker sentiment and new government regulations weigh on their funding sources, with a "real" risk of default as some US$84 billion in debt is set to mature by the end of next year, S&P Global Ratings warned last week.
This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2021 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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