Brigita, a director at one of China’s largest car dealers, is running out of options. Her firm’s 100 outlets have been closed for about a month because of the coronavirus, cash reserves are dwindling and banks are reluctant to extend deadlines on billions of yuan in debt coming due over the next few months. There are also other creditors to think about, Bloomberg News reported. “If we can’t pay back the bonds, it will be very, very bad,” said Brigita, whose company has 10,000 employees and sells mid- to high-end car brands such as BMWs.
Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said said on Sunday the government would work to reduce public debt and restructure public institutions and companies to bolster the economy, Reuters reported. Haitham, in his second public speech since assuming power in January, said the government would create a national framework to tackle unemployment while addressing strained public finances. “We will direct our financial resources in the best way that will guarantee reducing debt and increasing revenues,” he said in the televised speech.
British Steel’s Chinese bidder has written to the French government in an effort to save its stalling takeover of the collapsed UK manufacturer, the Financial Times reported. With the clock ticking down on a deadline for the deal to be completed, Chinese conglomerate Jingye has sent a letter to the French finance ministry to persuade Paris of the plan’s merits, said people with knowledge of the matter. UK officials agreed a £50m rescue deal with Jingye in November. Under the agreement, Jingye would take control of the group’s plants in Britain, France and the Netherlands.
Hong Kong is being threatened by a “Tsunami-like” cataclysm, the city’s finance chief has warned, as the new coronavirus devastates businesses already hobbled by months of anti-government protests, Bloomberg News reported. The financial hub’s lack of a bankruptcy process will only exacerbate the pain. Unlike in the U.S., Australia and rival Singapore, businesses in Hong Kong don’t have recourse to any corporate rescue procedure when in difficulties.
Europe’s syndicated debt market has become so cheap for leveraged companies that it’s winning back ground lost to alternative lenders in recent years, Bloomberg News reported. Junk-rated firms have obtained ultra-low pricing in debt sales this year amid fierce demand from yield-hungry investors. This is encouraging companies that had opted for private lenders in the past to switch to the public debt market. Chemicals firm Polynt-Reichhold this week turned to the loan market to raise more than 500 million euros ($540 million), after tapping Blackstone Inc.’s credit arm GSO in 2016.
Climate change is creating substantial, unrecognised risk in the financial system as banks are failing to prepare for green regulation and carbon taxes that will have an impact on the companies they lend to, the Financial Times reported. According to a recent analysis by the consultancy Oliver Wyman, oil and gas companies — many of which are already under pressure from low fuel prices — will be two to three times more likely to default on their debt if the countries signed up to the Paris climate accord institute a $50 a tonne carbon tax.
U.S. satellite broadband provider Hughes Network Systems may have to shut its Indian operations due to unpaid levies owed to the government, which could put thousands of banking services at risk, a company letter seen by Reuters showed, Reuters reported. India’s Supreme Court late last year ordered a number of telecom companies, including Hughes and larger firms like Vodafone, to pay billions of dollars owed to the government. Hughes’ India unit provides services to defence, education and banking sectors in the country and told India’s telecoms minister in a letter dated Feb.
Hard-currency bond investors have already downgraded South Africa to junk. The premium investors demand to the country’s dollar debt rather than U.S. Treasuries climbed above the emerging-market average in October, shortly before Moody’s Investors Service cut the country’s credit outlook to negative, Bloomberg News reported. It has now been above the mean for the longest period since Bloomberg started tracking the data in 1997. Previously, South Africa’s sovereign spread crossed above the average for brief periods only during times of stress.
In mid-August, Argentina’s farmers, en masse, ran out of patience. They wanted the cash they were owed and wanted it fast, Bloomberg News reported. Days earlier, leftist politician Alberto Fernandez had scored a resounding primary victory that made clear he’d win the October presidential election, and speculation was starting to swirl that he’d impose new taxes. One after another, the farmers called their grains brokers to lock in prices on the soybean cargoes they had already turned over and collect the proceeds.
Lebanon was downgraded deeper into junk by two of the three biggest credit rating companies Friday as the nation’s bondholders braced for a potential default next month, Bloomberg News reported. S&P Global Ratings cut the country’s long-term foreign currency rating to CC, following a similar reduction by Moody’s Investors Service to Ca earlier in the day. That puts Lebanon’s rating below the likes of Argentina, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.