China's Evergrande to redeem $2 bln of convertible bonds early

HONG KONG, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Indebted Chinese property developer Evergrande Group said on Monday it would redeem early HK$16.1 billion ($2.1 billion) of convertible bonds maturing in 2023, in a move one analyst said was a sign investors had sought early repayment.

Investors have been concerned about cashflow at Evergrande, whose interest-bearing indebtedness is about $110 billion, as the developer scrambles to raise funds and cut debt in the face of tighter regulations in the sector.

The company said in a filing it had arranged internal funds to redeem the convertible bonds that carry a 4.25% coupon, plus related accrued interest.

Its arrangement of funds for early repayment “within a short period of time has fully demonstrated the cash strength and sound financial management ability of the company”, Evergrande said.

The Shenzhen-based developer vowed early this month to cut its interest-bearing debt by another 20%, or 150 billion yuan, in the new year.

A total of HK$16.2 billion of the convertible bonds, issued in 2018, is outstanding. Investors who wanted early repayment had to submit a notice last week ahead of the so-called “puttable” date of Feb. 14.

The coupon of the bonds is the lowest among all Evergrande’s bonds, which mostly range from high single digits to double digits.

“Possibly the holders of this convertible bond demanded Evergrande to repay the money, otherwise with its high conversion price and low coupon, it doesn’t make sense for the company to choose this bond to redeem early,” said UOB Kay Hian director Steven Leung.

Evergrande declined to comment on the reason for the early redemption.

The 4.25% convertible bonds have an adjusted conversion price of HK$34.37 per share, which compared with Monday’s closing share price of HK$14.92. ($1 = 7.7531 Hong Kong dollars) ($1 = 6.4944 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Clare Jim. Editing by Mark Potter)