Business / Companies

Shanshui Cement Group heads for default

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-12 10:51

China is headed for its latest corporate default amid slowing economic growth, as a cement maker said it will fail to pay bond investors and will file for liquidation.

Cement maker China Shanshui Cement Group Ltd "will be unable to obtain sufficient financing on or before" the Thursday maturity date on its 2 billion yuan ($314 million) of a 5.3 percent securities, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company, which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, has decided to file a winding up petition and application for appointment of provisional liquidators with the courts there, it said. That "will also constitute an event of default" on its $500 million 7.5 percent dollar bonds due 2020, according to the filing.

Investors have been scarred by defaults from Chinese firms this year in industries including property and commodities, as President Xi Jinping shifts toward greater reliance on services to drive growth amid the weakest economic expansion in a quarter century.

Shanshui would be at least the sixth company to renege on obligations in the nation's onshore bond market this year, after Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co became the first in 2014.

"For offshore creditors, recovering value from Shanshui's dollar bonds will be a long process given that onshore creditors will be all over the company first in the case of liquidation," said Zhi Wei Feng, credit analyst at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore.

The company's 2020 dollar debentures slid 20 cents to a record low 62 cents as of Wednesday afternoon in Hong Kong. An ad hoc committee of noteholders has been formed to engage with Shanshui about the 2020 securities, according to a statement from law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. The firm has been named to represent the committee.

Henry Li, Shanshui's chief financial officer, said when reached by phone that the company is still fundamentally sound and it hopes to talk to creditors to restructure the debt.

Shanshui has been mired in a shareholder fight for control since April amid President Xi's call to cull weaker firms in industries grappling with overcapacity. Its largest-shareholder Tianrui International Holding Co has been trying to change Shanshui's board. Meanwhile its two other shareholders-China National Building Material Co Ltd and Taiwan's Asia Cement Corp-have announced they are considering the terms of a possible offer.

Shanshui said last week that it may miss payment on the onshore notes and that doing so would trigger a default on the 2020 dollar securities. While the company has been seeking financing since June, all the financial institutions it contacted "have expressed concern in relation to the uncertainty of the management," it said in the statement last week.

"Shanshui's default is mainly because of the fight among shareholders," said Sun Binbin, a bond analyst at China Merchants Securities Co Ltd in Shanghai.

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