Asia

A Dangerous Debt Ruling in India

India’s insolvency tribunal has made a dangerous decision. Unless its judgment is quashed, credit costs for India Inc. will surge, shares of state-run banks will swoon and foreign investors will flee. The case concerns the country’s most high-profile bankruptcy, Essar Steel India Ltd, a Bloomberg View reported. Insolvency judges recently ruled that creditors whose claims are backed by collateral won’t get preferential treatment in the $6 billion sale of the company’s plant to ArcelorMittal. Secured creditors will stand in line with unsecured creditors.

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Suzlon Energy Ltd., which became India’s biggest convertible-note defaulter in 2012, said it missed payments on dollar-denominated convertibles due Tuesday. The stressed wind-turbine maker faced a July 16 deadline to repay $172 million outstanding on such securities that were issued as part of a debt restructuring, Bloomberg News reported. While that revamp helped the company’s shares surge in 2014-2015, they’ve since slumped after India’s shift to auctions for building wind projects increased competition and diluted Suzlon’s market share.

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China’s efforts to shore up sagging economic growth are leading to a resurgence in indebtedness, underlining the challenge President Xi Jinping’s government faces in curbing financial risk, Bloomberg News reported. The nation’s total stock of corporate, household and government debt now exceeds 303% of gross domestic product and makes up about 15% of all global debt, according to a report published by the Institute of International Finance. That’s up from just under 297% in the first quarter of 2018.

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JSW Steel Ltd., India’s most valuable steel producer, said it is likely to go ahead with a 197 billion rupees ($2.9 billion) offer to buy out a stressed steel mill even as a string of accounting frauds were uncovered at the target company, Bloomberg News reported. While JSW is “so far” not backing out of its offer to buy Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd., the company is anxious about the alleged frauds and its impact on the sale process, it’s lawyer Arun Kathpalia said Monday during a hearing at the National Company Law Tribunal. Earlier this month Allahabad Bank Ltd.

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Film and entertainment group Eros International Plc on Monday swung to a loss in the fourth quarter due to an impairment charge and a rise in costs, sending its U.S-listed shares down more than 6% in premarket trade, Reuters reported. The company, which owns a vast library of Bollywood movies and music, has been struggling after a rating agency categorised its Indian subsidiary’s debt at “default” levels due to delays in payments.

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Investors in Indian corporate debt are watching whether a stressed wind-turbine maker will repay its dollar-denominated convertible bonds due Tuesday, and help avoid further widening of strains in the nation’s credit market, Bloomberg News reported. Suzlon Energy Ltd., which became India’s biggest convertible note defaulter when it missed payments in 2012, must repay $172 million outstanding on such securities that were issued as part of a debt restructuring.

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Dewan Housing Finance Ltd. plunged after the Indian shadow lender posted a quarterly loss and flagged doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern amid a funding crunch in the country’s credit market, Bloomberg News reported. The stock slumped 29% to 48.5 rupees in Mumbai to the lowest close since October 2013, after briefly crashing 33% in intraday trading. The embattled lender seen its market value erode 81% this year, compared with the 11% gain in the S&P BSE Finance Index.

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Shares in one of India’s biggest home loan and property finance companies, Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL), are expected to fall sharply on Monday after the lender reported dismal results and warned about its grim financial situation, Reuters reported. DHFL reported a net loss of 22.23 billion rupees ($324.3 million) for the quarter ended March 31, in a regulatory filing late on Saturday. It also said it had defaulted on the interest payments due on two non-convertible debentures. “The share price would be impacted significantly.

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Investors have poured more than $10bn into junk bond funds since early June, highlighting the intensity of their hunt for yield amid a big rally in the bond market. Net inflows into the asset class registered $2.3bn in the week to Wednesday, according to EPFR data, the Financial Times reported. That brought the boost over the past five weeks to $10.6bn, the largest increase over any such period since 2017.

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