Shares in China’s Sunac jump after creditors approve debt restructuring plan

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Shares of property developer Sunac China Holdings surged as much as 14% on Tuesday after creditors approved its $9 billion offshore debt restructuring plan, the first green light of such a debt overhaul by a major Chinese developer.

In another significant move, embattled developer Country Garden won bondholder approval on the last of a batch of eight local notes it sought to stretch out repayments on, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday.

A debt crisis in China’s property sector, which accounts for roughly a quarter of the economy, has sent jitters across global markets and prompted Beijing to roll out a series of measures in a bid to stabilise the sector and bolster housing demand.

Sunac said late on Monday that creditors holding 98.3% of the total value of the bonds who took part in the vote had approved its restructuring plan proposed earlier this year.

The developer will seek approval of the plan by a Hong Kong court at a hearing scheduled for Oct. 5.

In March, Sunac reached an agreement with a group of offshore creditors to restructure $9 billion of its debt, under which a part of its debt would be exchanged into convertible bonds backed by its Hong Kong-listed shares along with new notes with maturities of between two and nine years.

Shares of Sunac, which is among a string of Chinese developers that have defaulted on their offshore debt payment obligations, were up more than 3% at 0155 GMT.

Even as Beijing implements measures to prop up the beleaguered sector, house prices have continued to contract, with latest data showing new home prices fell at their fastest pace in 10 months in August, while falls in real estate investment and sales deepened.

Major developers in the process of restructuring their debt include China Evergrande Group, whose liquidity crunch last year was a turning point in the country’s real estate crisis, and Country Garden.

Evergrande shares, which tumbled on Monday after police detained some staff at its wealth management unit, reversed early gains and were down 5%, while Country Garden’s stock slipped 1%.

(Reporting by Donny Kwok; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Lincoln Feast)