SHANGHAI (AFP) – Creditors of the firm responsible for China’s first domestic bond default have approved a restructuring plan in hopes of getting their money back, in an effective bail-out seven months after the landmark event.
Shanghai-based Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co in March defaulted on interest payments of 89.8 million yuan ($14.7 million) for a five-year corporate bond issued in 2012.
Under the restructuring scheme, a consortium led by a unit of Hong Kong-headquartered energy group Golden Concord will provide 1.46 billion yuan to repay Chaori’s debts in return for shares, according to regulatory filings.
Government-backed China Great Wall Asset Management Corp. and investment company Shanghai Jiuyang will also provide an 880 million yuan financial “guarantee” to allow holders of Chaori’s bonds to be compensated, they showed.
Creditors told AFP that a majority approved the restructuring plan at a meeting on Thursday. “So hard to get the money that should be ours,” one said.
At the time Chaori failed to make payment, analysts said modern China’s first ever onshore corporate bond default could benefit the market in the long term by raising awareness of risk and making investors more selective.
But the bail-out shows the dangers of moral hazard in China, where the government fears the social impact of allowing companies to collapse.
Only creditors with claims of up to 200,000 yuan will be fully compensated, filings showed, with debts above the threshold being paid at 20 per cent.
Shanghai television showed some creditors clapping at the meeting after the result was announced.
Chaori’s bond was delisted while its shares were suspended, both from the Shenzhen stock exchange, in May after the company recorded three consecutive years of losses.
Jiangsu Golden Concord – the mainland investment platform of Golden Concord – will become controlling shareholder of Chaori, taking charge of its operations and pledging to bring the company back to profit this year and relist in 2015.