China's Bohai Steel $28.9 billion debt plan to get local support: Caixin

BEIJING (Reuters) - Bohai Steel Group, the indebted state-owned conglomerate, may receive help from a local government bailout fund to restructure its debts, the online financial magazine Caixin said at the weekend.

Bohai Steel, which was created in 2010 through the combination of four manufacturers, holds liabilities of 192 billion yuan ($28.9 billion) from 105 creditors, alongside assets of nearly 290 billion yuan, Caixin reported.

The Tianjin government plans to create a local asset manager to assist in the debt workout of Bohai Steel, alongside other troubled Tianjin enterprises, the magazine said.

Restructuring of the group represented the biggest since the global financial crisis, Standard & Poor’s analyst Christopher Lee told Reuters in March.

Bohai Steel creditors include the Tianjin branch of the Bank of Beijing Co Ltd, the magazine reported earlier, and several trust companies such as Tianjin Trust, Beifang Trust and Guomin Trust.

China has been moving to empower special purpose restructuring managers, while accelerating debt-for-equity swaps with creditors, in a bid to manage rising state sector debt.

In February, the top industrial asset manager appointed China Chengtong Holdings Group and China Reform Holdings Co. to pilot shareholding reform among loss-making government firms.

The country’s steel sector has been pressed to restructure following an extended slowdown in the nation’s real estate industry, a major consumer of basic materials.

Reporting by Matthew Miller; Editing by Nick Macfie