Three More China Companies Face Trouble in Bond Repayments

  • At least seven firms have reneged on local bonds this year
  • China Securities expects more private and SOE defaults

Three Chinese companies have said they lack funds to repay bonds due in coming days, flagging risks defaults may spread as manufacturers grapple with a cash crunch amid a weakening economy.

QuickTake China’s Debt Bomb

Henan Sanli Carbon Products Co., based in the northeast province of Henan, doesn’t have the funds to repay notes due Dec. 27, it said in a filing to the Chinamoney website Tuesday. Huaian Jiacheng Hi-Tech Chemical Industry Co., based in the eastern province of Jiangsu, said on the same website it hasn’t deposited the required amount of principal and interest for bonds due Dec. 28 into the payment account because of a cash shortage. Huaian Farun Chemical Co., also based in Jiangsu, cited overcapacity and operating losses as reasons why it hasn’t deposited required funds for securities due Dec. 28.

More firms in China are struggling to repay debt amid the worst economic slowdown in a quarter century. The number of Chinese companies with more debt than equity has jumped to 913 from 705 in 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Earlier this month, pig iron producer Sichuan Shengda Group Ltd. became at least the seventh Chinese firm to renege on local debt obligations this year. Sinosteel Co., a state-owned steel trader, last week postponed a bond payment a third time.

“Preventing financial risk will likely be a very important policy goal in 2016,” according to a Tuesday report from China Securities Co. “Yet as the government works to reduce overcapacity, there will inevitably be rising risk for the financial market. Therefore we will see more defaults among both the private sector and state-owned enterprises.”

Defaults have mounted despite six interest-rate cuts by the central bank since late last year and a tumble in corporate borrowing costs to the lowest in more than five years. The amount of bad debt reported by Chinese banks rose 10 percent in the third quarter from the previous three months to 1.2 trillion yuan ($185.3 billion).

China’s government this week pledged to offer more support for companies to upgrade technology and equipment, and reduce debt with “innovative financial policies.”

Henan Sanli Carbon is one of three issuers of 270 million yuan of 5.9 percent collective notes, which typically are sold by several small- and medium-sized companies that don’t have the ability to sell securities on their own. The filing didn’t say how much the company needs to repay.

Huaian Jiacheng Hi-Tech Chemical and Huaian Farun Chemical are both co-issuers of a 350 million yuan 5.8 percent three-year debenture. The former is responsible for the repayment of 95.2 million yuan including principal and interest while the latter is responsible for 169.3 million yuan, according to the statement. 

China Bond Insurance Co. is guarantor for all three and will fulfill the obligation in the case of a default, the companies said in their filings.

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