Country Garden’s Entire Offshore Debt to Be in Default If Tuesday Payment Not Made

REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo
A view of the residential apartments in Country Garden’s Forest City development in Johor Bahru, Malaysia August 16, 2023.

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Country Garden’s entire offshore debt will be deemed to be in default if China’s largest property developer fails to make a $15 million coupon payment on Tuesday, the end of a 30-day grace period.Non-payment of this tranche is set to trigger cross defaults in other bonds as is standard in bond contracts.

Lack of payment – which is expected after Country Garden last week warned about its inability to meet offshore debt obligations – would make the firm the latest in scores of Chinese developers who have defaulted.

Country Garden has also missed other offshore payments in the past few weeks though those payments still have not seen their 30-day grace periods lapse.

Country Garden declined to comment.

With nearly $11 billion of offshore bonds and $6 billion of offshore loans, a default by Country Garden would set the stage for one of China’s biggest corporate debt restructurings.

Country Garden has appointed Houlihan Lokey, China International Capital Corporation (CICC) and law firm Sidley Austin as advisers to examine its capital structure and liquidity position and formulate a ‘holistic’ solution.

Last week, printed circuit board maker Kingboard Holdings became one of the first known listed companies to take legal action against Country Garden when a unit, which is owed HK$1.6 billion ($204 million), issued a statutory demand seeking repayment.

So far, developers accounting for 40% of Chinese home sales have defaulted on their debt obligations since 2021, according to JPMorgan. CreditSights figures show Chinese developers have defaulted on more than $114.6 billion of $175 billion in dollar bonds outstanding since 2021.

As more developers moved towards restructuring debt, their offshore creditors are expected to be offered less favorable terms amid a worsening outlook for the country’s real estate sector.

$1 = 7.8203 Hong Kong dollars