When China Fortune Land Development missed a payment on a $530m US dollar bond in February, the property developer did not rush to tell its investors.
“They never even said ‘we defaulted’,” recalled one of the company’s offshore investors, who only found out via a third-party trustee. The investor added that advisers to China Fortune, whose bondholders include BlackRock and HSBC, said they would have to wait for onshore debt obligations to be taken care of first.
China Fortune, which builds industrial parks and owes a further $4bn, is one of a series of big companies in the country that are coming under repayment pressure as Beijing tightens credit conditions. With more than $100bn of dollar debt borrowed by Chinese companies on international markets coming due this year, global investors are on edge.
Last year, Chinese companies defaulted on a record $7.3bn of offshore dollar debt and $22.7bn worth of renminbi-denominated…