The results of the vote came after Country Garden on August 31 got the green light from 56.08 per cent of participating creditors to extend an onshore bond worth 3.9 billion yuan – the largest of its repayments due in 2023 – by three years, after previously twice delaying the vote.
Additionally, Country Garden Real Estate, a unit of the developer, said on Tuesday that it has laid out repayment methods for the interest of a yuan note due next Tuesday to ensure bondholders receive their money in time, a filing to the Shanghai Clearing House shows.
Last week, the developer avoided default in the offshore bond market at the very last minute, repaying two dollar-denominated coupon payments it had missed in August within its grace period.
However, Country Garden still has interest repayments worth a combined US$55.38 million on two US bonds due this month.
The Foshan-based property developer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The company, which was once China’s biggest property developer by sales, saw its contracted sales in August fall 60 per cent from a year ago to 14 billion yuan, according data compiled by Chinese real estate consultancy CRIC.
It had 101.7 billion yuan of outstanding bonds as of the end of June, according to its interim results released on August 30. In total, it has 108.7 billion yuan of debts due by June next year.
Though the authorities last week rolled out preferential home purchase policies in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, any default by Country Garden will pile pressure on China’s sluggish economic growth, given the scale of its projects and the risks of contagion to the Chinese banking system.
“China’s property sector is in the deepest downturn in decades,” Wang Tao, an economist with UBS, said in a recent research note. “It is likely that more developers will face debt payment difficulties, defaulting or restructuring their debt. Some developers are likely to downsize significantly or exit from the market, and consolidation should continue for some time to settle for much smaller property construction demand.”
“This perhaps indicates a lack of consensus and coordination within the government on the right scale of support to the property sector,” she added.
The shares of Country Garden gained 3.9 per cent to HK$1.07 on Tuesday, having retreated 60 per cent so far this year.