China Vanke’s Hong Kong shares open 1% lower after Moody’s starts ratings review

By Thomson Reuters Mar 11, 2024 | 8:43 PM

By Clare Jim and Scott Murdoch

SYDNEY (Reuters) -China Vanke’s shares are have opened down 1% in Hong Kong on Tuesday after Moody’s said the property company’s rating would now be considered for junk status.

Its Shenzhen-listed shares opened down 0.6%.

Moody’s said on Monday it withdrew Vanke’s ‘Baa3’ rating which is the lowest of Moody’s investment grade ratings.

It also said all of Vanke’s ratings would be on “review for downgrade”.

In a statement to Reuters, Vanke said the “company’s current operation and refinancing are normal and financing channels are stable”. It also said the impact of a ratings downgrade on its financing activities was “controllable”.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.2%. The Hang Seng Mainland Property Index and China’s CSI300 Index were both down 0.1% in early trade Tuesday.

The Moody’s action came after Reuters earlier reported Monday that China had asked banks to enhance financing support for state-backed Vanke and called on creditors to consider allowing private debt maturities to be extended.

Vanke’s share price and bonds had faced major selling pressure last week after reports it was facing financial stress and had sought debt maturity extensions from some investors.

The company told Reuters on Friday it had deposited funds required to repay $630 million U.S. dollar notes that were due on Monday.

Vanke is government-backed with 33.4% owned by Shenzhen Metro, a company held by Shenzhen’s state asset regulator.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Sydney, Clare Jim and Donny Kwok in Hong Kong and Jason Xue in Shanghai; Editing by Christopher Cushing)