The clock is ticking for Country Garden Holdings Co. to avert its first-ever public dollar bond default, as the distressed Chinese developer faces the imminent end to a deadline for interest payment.
(Bloomberg) — The clock is ticking for Country Garden Holdings Co. to avert its first-ever public dollar bond default, as the distressed Chinese developer faces the imminent end to a deadline for interest payment.
The builder, which has become a symbol of China’s broader property debt crisis, missed the original deadline for the $15.4 million coupon on the note last month. The bond carries a so-called 30-day grace period that ends Oct. 17-18, before a default can be called.
It will be the first major test for China’s former top developer after it warned last week that it won’t be able to meet all of its future offshore payment obligations, offering the strongest indication yet that it’s set for a debt blowup and restructuring. Its payment struggles in recent months, along with peer China Evergrande Group’s deepening woes, are adding to signs that authorities’ rescue efforts are far from enough to stop the nation’s property crisis from intensifying.
Country Garden has until now managed to dodge its first major public bond payment failure and succeeded in rescheduling local debt in recent months. It said in a stock exchange filing last week that it has not made a due payment totaling HK$470 million ($60 million) “under certain of its indebtedness”, without specifying.
An eventual default wouldn’t come as a surprise, given the developer’s dollar bonds are trading at deeply distressed levels around 4-6 cents on the dollar, indicating investors’ low expectations for debt recovery.
With $187 billion of total liabilities as of June 30, Country Garden is one of the world’s most indebted builders and will face another test on Oct. 27, when the grace period for a $40 million coupon on another dollar bond ends.
Potential delinquencies or a messy restructuring by Country Garden threaten to send China’s housing sector into deeper turmoil, as it has several times the number of projects run by Evergrande, whose default two years ago sent shock waves across Chinese markets.
Below are upcoming deadlines for Country Garden’s dollar bonds, including original payment due dates and grace periods:
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