Asia

Rolls-Royce is in talks with sovereign wealth funds, including Singapore’s GIC, as part of a plan to raise around £2.5bn from investors next month, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter, the Financial Times reported. The UK aero-engine group is working with bankers at Goldman Sachs on the planned equity raise as it looks to become the latest company to tap stock market investors to repair a balance sheet badly damaged by the pandemic. The group is aiming to launch the equity raise in the first weeks of October, two of these people said.

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India’s Supreme Court rejected a petition by State Bank of India, the nation’s largest lender, to allow a personal bankruptcy case against tycoon Anil Ambani to resume, Bloomberg News reported. A three-judge panel headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao ruled that the bankruptcy case against the former billionaire will remain suspended and directed the Delhi High Court to decide on Ambani’s challenge to provisions of India’s insolvency law. The case is among the first high-profile ones after rules were set for personal bankruptcy last year.

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The Asia-Pacific region risks a damaging financial crisis from a surge of non-performing loans caused by rising insolvencies, a senior official from the World Bank Group’s private sector arm said on Thursday, Reuters reported. In an interview with Reuters, Alfonso Garcia Mora, Vice President for Asia and the Pacific of the International Finance Corp (IFC), said bankruptcies were expected to rise by 30% because of the economic crisis caused by the new coronavirus pandemic.

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The World Bank has piled pressure on commercial lenders to defer debt repayments owed by emerging economies as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic threatens to plunge them into a “lost decade,” the Financial Times reported. The body’s president David Malpass said he was “frustrated” that some countries could cut back spending on health and education to meet debt repayments, creating a long-term drag on their economic prospects.

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The chairman of cash-strapped HNA Group has been barred from taking flights and high-speed trains and going on vacations due to the Chinese conglomerate’s failure to pay a court-ordered $5,300 in a lawsuit, a court document showed, Reuters reported. The once high-flying company, which owns Hainan Airlines, is in the midst of a restructuring led by the Hainan government to resolve its liquidity risks stemming from years of aggressive acquisitions abroad. The group and its affiliates have delayed payments on a few bond products this year.

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An Indian court has issued a second arrest warrant for a marine refuelling tanker owned by troubled UAE oil trader GP Global after it failed to make payments to its ship manager, court documents showed, Reuters reported. On Sept. 10, the High Court of the western Indian state of Gujrat granted the vessel manager’s, Singapore-based Celestial Ship Management Pte Ltd, a request to arrest the GP B3 bunker tanker for unpaid dues, according to the court documents seen by Reuters.

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The supervisor of Singaporean shipping group Xihe Holdings Pte Ltd has put seven oil tankers controlled by the company up for sale as part of efforts to recoup funds owed to creditors, three sources said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Xihe Holdings is part of the Lim family business empire, which also includes oil trader Hin Leong Trading and fleet manager Ocean Tankers (Pte) Ltd, both of which were placed under court-appointed supervisors earlier this year. The sale includes three crude oil supertankers and is expected to get fully underway in the coming days, the sources said.

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The Central Bankruptcy Court decided yesterday that the airline can proceed with its plan to rehabilitate its debt, Thailand Business News reported. The plan is expected to be drawn up by early next year for approval by the court and Thai Airways’ creditors. It needs the endorsement of holders of at least 50% of the airline’s debt. The company, which had total liabilities of 332.2 billion baht at the end of June, faces one of the biggest challenges in its 60-year history as the Central Bankruptcy Court in Bangkok will investigate further in the airline’s accounts.

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Airport ground services and air-cargo handler Swissport International AG has reached a deal on a balance-sheet restructuring that will preserve its business under pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported. The debt-for-equity swap will lighten the debt side of Swissport’s balance sheet as it contends with  the impact of reduced air travel on its revenues. Ownership of the Zurich-based company will pass from China’s HNA Group Co. Ltd. to a group of mostly U.K-. and U.S.-based investment funds once the restructuring is complete.

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Debt-laden Turkish companies are seeking more time to repay bank loans after the coronavirus pandemic upended plans to sell assets, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the matter, Reuters reported. Even before the virus hit Turkey in March, firms were seeking lower rates from banks after an aggressive monetary easing campaign and since then, large and small companies are looking for further revisions to nearly all of the restructurings agreed in the past two years, according to one of the sources.

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