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Exclusive-China developers propose offshore debt maturity extension, restructuring to regulators - sources

·2-min read
Men work at the construction site of a highrise building in Beijing

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Some Chinese property developers have voiced their intention to the regulators to extend their offshore bond maturities or undertake a debt restructuring, two sources with knowledge of the matter said, as a growing number of defaults hits the sector.

The developers proposed the ideas at a meeting jointly held by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the State Administration for Foreign Exchange (SAFE) on Tuesday, said the sources.

It was not immediately clear which developers raised those proposals, and what decision the regulators would settle on.

The regulators, however, told developers facing large offshore debt maturity to evaluate their repayment risks and report difficulties, the sources said, declining to be named due to sensitivity of the matter.

The development underlines the frenetic behind-the-scenes efforts by the debt-laden developers and Chinese regulators to contain the fallout centred around embattled China Evergrande Group, as worries over the liquidity crisis in the property sector mount.

"Developers were asked to report in great details about all their offshore bond repayment plans; they need to voice out if there are particular payments (for which) they're seeing some difficulties in repayment," one of the sources said.

NDRC said in a statement late on Tuesday that the regulators have asked the unnamed companies in the meeting to optimise their foreign debt structures and proactively prepare for repayment of both principal and interest on their foreign bonds.

They told the foreign debt issuers to use funds for approved purposes and "jointly maintain their own reputations and the overall order of the market".

Details of the meeting, including proposals from the developers who attended the meeting, have not been disclosed.

The meeting with the regulators took place in Beijing on Tuesday against the backdrop of developers Fantasia Holdings Group, Sinic Holdings and Modern Land defaulting on their maturing dollar bonds this month.

The liquidity crisis in China's $5 trillion property sector has been, in part, fuelled by Evergrande, which is teetering on the brink of collapse with more than $300 billion in debt and is struggling to meet payment obligations.

SAFE and NDRC did not respond to Reuters request for comment.

A total of eight developers including Kaisa Group, Shimao and Sino-Ocean Group attended the meeting on Tuesday, financial media outlet Caixin reported on Wednesday.

China Vanke, Central China Real Estate and Oceanwide Holdings were also among the attendees, the two sources, who have direct knowledge of the discussions, told Reuters.

Vanke declined to comment. Kaisa confirmed its participation in the meeting, without further elaboration. Central China, Oceanwide, Shimao and Sino-Ocean Group did not respond to request for comment.

(Reporting by Jing Xu in Beijing and Clare Jim in Hong Kong; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee & Shri Navaratnam)

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