Investors in embattled Chinese property giant Country Garden are breathing a collective sigh of relief Monday, after it reportedly won approval from local creditors to delay repayments on a maturing bond, averting the threat of a default — at least for a few days.
It was the first debt extension the firm has secured since its liquidity crisis became public last month and offers a temporary reprieve for China’s real estate industry, which has been gripped by fears that Country Garden’s debt woes would spill over to its peers and ripple through the economy.
The company hasn’t replied to a request for comment from CNN.
But the company is not off the hook. It failed to pay the interest owed on two dollar bonds last month and a 30-day grace period on those missing payments expires this week. A failure to pay those creditors could still lead to a default.
On Monday, Country Garden’s stock soared 15% in Hong Kong following multiple reports that bondholders had agreed a plan for the company to extend payment for a 3.9 billion yuan ($540 million) bond sold to investors in China that matured Saturday. It has recorded the biggest daily gain in nine months, but remains 62% down so far this year.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSI) Index advanced 2.5% and had its best day in more than a month, led by a surge in the property sector. Shares also received a boost from a new batch of stimulus measures announced last Thursday to boost the property market. Hong Kong stocks were closed last Friday because of a typhoon.
According to the agreement with creditors, which was reported by multiple state-owned media outlets on Saturday, Country Garden will now be able to stretch its payment of the outstanding principal of $540 million into 2026. But interest on the bond must be paid as originally scheduled.
The bond was issued in September 2016, with an issue amount of 5.83 billion yuan ($800 million) and a coupon rate of 5.65%, according an offering document seen by CNN.
More than 56% of the bondholders affected, including major state-owned banks and private equity funds, voted in favor of the agreement, according to state-owned Southern Media Group.