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Two energy firms feel credit heat

Business | Bloomberg and Jeannie Tang Feb 12, 2019
Two large Chinese borrowers - one that has already defaulted and one under pressure - missed payment deadlines, underscoring the risks in a credit market witnessing the most company failures on record.

China Minsheng Investment Group, a private investment group with interests in renewable energy and real estate, has not returned capital to some holders of a yuan bond it pledged to repay on February 1.

And Wintime Energy, which defaulted last year, has not honored part of a debt repayment plan.

The developments are significant as both were big borrowers, and their problems accessing financing suggest government efforts to smooth over cracks in the bond market are not benefiting all firms.

If China Minsheng ends up defaulting it may rank alongside Wintime Energy as one of China's biggest failures, with 232 billion yuan (HK$268 billion) of debt at June 30.

"Chinese corporations' expansion in the past few years has often been fueled by debt issuance, usually short-term borrowings, but their investment cycles are typically longer term," said Shen Chen, a partner at Shanghai Maoliang Investment Management. "Recent failures show companies are still struggling to roll over debt."

Wintime, with debt of 63.2 billion yuan at September 30, was the second largest bond defaulter in China last year after CEFC Shanghai International Group.

Also, China Singyes Solar Technologies (0750), also failed to repay bond interest due last Friday.

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