Banks should be allowed to purchase corporate bonds issued for debt restructuring: HoREA

Wednesday, Nov 15, 2023 21:32

The HoREA said that the current regulation is inconsistent with another regulation that allows companies to issue bonds for that purpose. — Photo SHB

The HCM City Real Estate Association (HoREA) has proposed the central bank amend a regulation that currently prohibits credit institutions from buying corporate bonds issued for debt restructuring.

The HoREA said that the current regulation is inconsistent with another regulation that allows companies to issue bonds for that purpose.

“It is essential that commercial banks be allowed to purchase corporate bonds for debt restructuring, particularly in light of the high volume of corporate bonds reaching maturity next year,” the HoREA said.

The move is necessary to provide relief to companies facing the pressure of significant corporate bond maturities in the near future, according to HoREA.

According to data from HoREA, total corporate bonds set to mature in 2024 will reach VNĐ329.5 trillion (US$13.5 billion), the highest in three years and up from VNĐ144.5 trillion last year and VNĐ271.4 trillion this year. 

The fourth quarter of this year will see VNĐ65.5 trillion of bonds maturing, the highest volume of matured bonds for all of 2023.

The last two months of the year will see over VNĐ41 trillion of bonds maturing. Almost 80 per cent of these maturing bonds are from the real estate sector, according to HoREA.

Experts have warned the pressure of bond repayment will continue next year as many issuers, mostly property developers, grapple with capital shortages and business difficulties. 

Financial challenges have led various enterprises to seek negotiations with bondholders to extend bond redemption dates amid a sluggish property market and reduced cash flows.

According to data from the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) by VNDirect, over 60 issuers have successfully negotiated to extend bond repayment dates for a total of VNĐ107 trillion as of October 27.

The Ministry of Finance has urged issuers to fulfill their repayment obligations and ensure timely payments. 

The Government in March issued a decree which has allowed issuers to extend debt maturities by up to two years and use other assets for bond payments, subject to bondholder approval.

As a result, over VNĐ42 trillion ($1.77 billion) worth of corporate bonds were rolled over in the second quarter of the year.

Recently, major property firm Novaland has proposed using assets from The Grand Manhattan project in downtown HCM City to settle outstanding debt from three bond packages. 

The firm also plans to use properties from luxury developments in Bình Thuận Province to settle outstanding debt as it has overdue payments for several bond packages due in February and May with a remaining value exceeding VNĐ1.58 trillion.

Local media have reported that nearly 70 companies have reported delinquencies amounting to VNĐ176.1 trillion, with the real estate sector making up the majority. 

While extending bond maturity dates presents risks and challenges, such negotiations require agreement from all parties involved, including bondholders, investors, and creditors.

Lê Hoàng Châu, chairman of HoREA, pointed out that few bondholders accepted the option of receiving other assets for bond repayments, citing overpricing and legal issues.

The corporate bond market has boomed in recent years due to increased capital demand from property developers and banks. 

However, market sentiment shifted unexpectedly in October of last year following the arrest of the Vạn Thịnh Phát Group’s chairwoman in a case related to bond market fraud. 

The real estate sector holds the largest outstanding bond value at VNĐ396.3 trillion, or 33.8 percent of total bonds, as reported by S&P Global Ratings.

Without improvement in the property sector, further defaults may loom, warned the report. 

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has ordered the State Bank of Vietnam and the Ministry of Finance, which are primarily responsible for managing bond defaults, to improve their management in order to revive the troubled market. — VNS

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