Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd.
, which in 2015 became one of the first Chinese developers to default abroad, has defaulted again after not repaying a $400 million bond that came due this week, Fitch Ratings said.
Failures to repay investors are piling up in China’s property sector, as real-estate companies buckle under the strain of falling home sales, government curbs on borrowing, and a bond-market selloff that has all but shut the market for new deals.
In recent months, several smaller companies such as
, Modern Land (China) Co. and Sinic Holdings Group Co. have defaulted, while this week the giant
missed a final bond-interest payment deadline, something Fitch also said Thursday amounted to a default.
Shenzhen-based Kaisa is one of the Chinese property sector’s biggest offshore borrowers after Evergrande, with about $10.9 billion of dollar bonds outstanding as of the end of June.
On Thursday, Fitch downgraded Kaisa’s credit rating to “restricted default,” a level assigned to borrowers who default on debt payments but haven’t yet made a bankruptcy filing or entered into other formal winding-up procedures. It assigned the same grade to Evergrande.
Kaisa didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fitch said that Kaisa had failed to repay funds due Tuesday, and there was no grace period for the payment. Fitch said that also triggered events of default on Kaisa’s other dollar bonds, which could become due immediately, if trustees or holders of more than 25% of those notes declared a default.
Last month, Kaisa had proposed exchanging the $400 million of debt for new notes due in June 2023, but failed to reach the minimum 95% threshold it had set for the deal to proceed. The company is also nearing the end of a 30-day grace period for more than $88 million of coupon payments that were due last month but that it failed to pay on time.
Kaisa’s credit ratings had already been slashed to levels that indicate high risk, although other major credit-rating companies haven’t yet downgraded it to a defaulted rating.
The developer said last month that it plans to speed up disposals to meet investor obligations, adding that it would try to sell assets in Shenzhen, Shanghai and other places.
Kaisa’s Hong Kong-listed stock has been suspended since Wednesday. A Kaisa dollar bond due in 2024 was bid at 34 cents on the dollar on Thursday, according to Tradeweb.
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