Asia

Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the IMF, unveiled a $50bn package of emergency financing for countries stricken by the coronavirus, saying the multilateral lender wanted to ensure “that people are not going to die just because of lack of money,” the Financial Times reported. The IMF’s move came as it warned that the rapidly expanding outbreak would force it to cut its global economic growth forecast to below the 2.9 per cent rate recorded last year, although it was unclear by how much.

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An Indian irrigation company has been cut to default by S&P Global Ratings after it failed to pay interest on its green dollar bond, in a further sign that stress among local firms is spilling over into the nation’s offshore debt market, Bloomberg News reported. Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. missed an interest payment due last month on the $200 million of notes maturing in 2022, issued by its unit Jain International Trading BV. S&P said that it cut its rating on the company and the notes to D after the 30-day grace period for meeting the obligation ended March 3.

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India’s top builder is marketing a complex debt offering that it needs to complete successfully to avoid a default, Bloomberg News reported. The new bond from Lodha Developers International Ltd. will be key for it to refinance its existing $324 million note maturing March 13. The company also needs to meet conditions involving setting aside cash before it can tap the proceeds of the bond. “We feel very good about the level of interest and commitments we have so far,” said Abhishek Lodha, chief executive officer of Macrotech Developers Ltd., which is the flagship company of the Lodha group.

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An asset manager backed by Asia’s richest banker has finally invested in a stressed Indian asset, in a positive sign for the broader push to clean up the nation’s massive pile of bad debt, Bloomberg News reported. Kotak Special Situations Fund invested 5 billion rupees ($69 million) in beleaguered Jindal Stainless Ltd., India’s largest stainless steel producer, according to a statement. The fund is backed by billionaire banker Uday Kotak.

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British Steel’s Chinese rescuer is to wrap up a takeover of the failed manufacturer next week, saving more than 3,000 jobs with a deal that secures the future of a key UK industrial asset, the Financial Times reported. Jingye Group said it had agreed to complete its purchase of the country’s second-largest steelmaker from the official receiver, who has kept the insolvent business running with taxpayer funding, on March 9.

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India’s troubled shadow banks face their biggest test yet in the months ahead: a record bill to settle in the local debt market, Bloomberg News reported. The lenders will need to repay 1.1 trillion rupees ($15.1 billion) of local-currency bonds in the three months starting April 1, the most ever for a quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That will prove challenging for the lower-rated ones among them, given they’ve been largely shut out of the domestic funding market.

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Plans by two distressed Chinese companies to ease their imminent debt crisis are betraying a subtle shift in Beijing’s delicate balancing act between combating financial risk and preserving stability as the coronavirus outbreak continues, Bloomberg News reported. The proposed bond swap by a waste management firm and a privately negotiated repayment deal secured by a coal producer suggest policymakers are growing wary of the destabilizing impact that surging bond failures could have on an ailing private sector.

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Commodity trader Trafigura has reached an agreement to buy and then sell on a stake in Puma Energy from a retired Angolan general, aiding the efforts of the debt-laden fuel supplier to attract more lenders and investors, the Financial Times reported. Under a complex deal announced on Monday, Cochan Holdings, an investment vehicle controlled by Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento — widely known as “General Dino” — will reduce its stake in Puma from 15 per cent to less than 5 per cent.

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A Japanese cruise operator filed for bankruptcy on Monday after its restaurant ship Luminous Kobe 2, which offered buffets and night views of the western port city of Kobe, was hit by cancellations amid concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported. Luminous Cruise said it had already been struggling with rising fuel costs and setbacks from recent typhoons before the coronavirus outbreak on the Diamond Princess, an unrelated cruise ship now docked at Yokohama. “Since February 1, we have had many cancellations which appear connected to the coronavirus.

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Indian shadow bank Altico Capital India Ltd. is inching toward the final stage of a debt restructuring that’s been keenly watched as the country grapples with a crisis in the industry, Bloomberg News reported. Rival hedge fund bidders Cerberus Capital and SSG Capital raised their bids for Altico late last week, people familiar with the matter said. The raised bids mean that creditors of the shadow lender could recover at least 71% of their outstanding debt of 38.7 billion rupees ($538 million), a marked improvement from earlier bids.

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