The Evergrande Group appeared to avoid default with a last-minute bond coupon payment, a source said today (22nd Oct), buying it another week to deal with a debt crisis looming over the world’s second-biggest economy.
According to Reuters, China’s second-largest property developer sent $83.5 million to a Citibank trustee account on Thursday, permitting it to pay interest on a U.S. dollar bond due by 23rd October.
Reuters go on to state that this “spelt relief to investors and regulators worried about fallout around global markets and added to Chinese officials’ reassurances that creditors will be protected. Still, the world’s most indebted property firm – with more than $300 billion in liabilities – will need to make payments on a string of other bonds, with the next major deadline to avoid default on 29th October and little known about its capacity to pay.”
Evergrande’s worries have been spiralling out of control for months and its dwindling resources set against its vast liabilities have wiped out 80% of its value.
The 1996 developer, founded in Guangzhou, epitomised a freewheeling era of borrowing and building. But that business model has since been foiled by many new rules designed to curb developers’ debt frenzy and encourage affordable housing.
The news about the remittance on Friday implies Evergrande will pay the next offshore coupon, said analyst Travis Lundy at Quiddity Advisors in Hong Kong.
“There’s no point in paying this one if you fully plan on not paying the next one six days later, but given the company’s self-reported cash flow difficulties, it is not clear how long they can keep that up,” Lundy said.
It was not clear how the ill-fated Evergrande was able to raise the funds to pay the bondholders or whether any had already received the money. Evergrande must now find $47.5 million by 29th October and has nearly $338 million in offshore coupon payments coming up across the next two months.
Failing to make next week’s payment, or any other final deadlines on the horizon, would mean defaults would be triggered on all $19 billion of its bonds in international capital markets.
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