China

China Evergrande Group’s pledge to remake itself as a leaner company with a focus on controlled growth has been met with skepticism, with analysts concerned margins will suffer and others saying investors need more clarity, Bloomberg News reported. China’s most indebted developer unveiled a three-year plan on Tuesday titled ‘Growing Sales, Controlled Scale & Reduced Leverage’. The aggressive strategy includes cutting total debt load by 50%, boosting sales and trimming its land bank. Evergrande also Tuesday reported its first fall in annual profit in four years.

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China’s industrial output contracted at the sharpest pace in 30 years in the first two months of the year as the fast spreading coronavirus and strict containment measures severely disrupted the world’s second-largest economy, data showed on Monday, Reuters reported. Urban investment and retail sales also fell sharply and for the first time on record, reinforcing views that the epidemic may have cut China’s economic growth in half in the first quarter.

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Chinese PV manufacturer Yingli Solar has broken cover after five months of silence to admit it is undergoing a debt restructuring proposal, pv magazine reported. The Baoding-based company issued a statement yesterday on the English-language investors’ section of its website which said its debt restructuring plan had been approved by its creditors and interested “governments” and “the court”. The statement went on to add the business would “cooperate with the court and administrator in accordance with the law to ensure the normal operation of the company”.

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The coronavirus epidemic is accelerating a shakeout in China’s property sector as a cash crunch forces distressed developers to throw in the towel, Bloomberg News reported. With lockdowns across the world’s most-populous nation entering their third month, smaller home builders are being pushed to the brink because they can’t get enough money from pre-sales of apartments to cover their costs. In the first two months of this year, around 105 real estate firms issued bankruptcy filing statements, after almost 500 collapses in 2019, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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British Steel’s Chinese buyer intends to continue pursuing the company’s French arm after completing the takeover of the rest of the group and saving 3,200 jobs, the Financial Times reported. The rescue deal gives Jingye control of the manufacturer’s British and Dutch sites but not its factory in Hayange, northern France, the sale of which has been delayed by concerns from the government in Paris.

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Macrolink Holding Co on Friday became China’s first developer to default on its bonds due to the coronavirus outbreak as the industry struggles with stagnant property sales, Reuters reported. Privately owned Macrolink, which has a range of businesses including property development and tourism, failed to pay investors principle and interest on 1 billion yuan ($144 million) worth of five-year bonds due March 6, the Shanghai Clearing House said in a statement on its website.

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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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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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HNA Group has asked the government of China’s province of Hainan to lead a work group dedicated to resolving its increasing liquidity risks after a slowdown in business caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported. HNA Group is not able to thoroughly deal with liquidity risks itself, the company said in a post on its official WeChat account on Saturday. HNA directly owns or holds stakes in a number of local Chinese carriers, including Hainan Airlines (600221.SS), and is among many companies pressured by the coronavirus outbreak that has forced widespread flight cancellations.

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An embattled Chinese property developer has sparked concern about a potential default on a dollar bond, after offering investors a swap for cash and new bonds for the bulk of the $300 million note, Bloomberg News reported. Yida China Holdings Ltd., a business park developer, proposed an exchange for at least 75% of the bond due April, saying its existing internal resources “may be insufficient to repay” the note, according to a company filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

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