ONE of Indonesia’s major real-estate companies is adding to broader concerns that more Asian property developers will struggle to repay debt.
A firm that runs an industrial complex east of Jakarta about the size of Manhattan is seeking approval from investors by Dec 7 to exchange most of its US$300mil (RM1.37bil) 2023 bond for longer-maturity debt.
S&P Global Ratings views PT Kawasan Industri Jababeka’s offer as “distressed” and has warned holders won’t be adequately compensated, while Fitch Ratings says the swap is being conducted to avoid default.
The bid by the company, which owns golf and country clubs as well as a power plant, underscores how rising rates are exposing the fragility of some Asia property issuers.
Jababeka’s dollar bond has extended declines in recent weeks, and along with debt of peers PT Lippo Karawaci and PT Agung Podomoro, is trading at distressed levels.
“Lower-rated Indonesian developers with sizable near-term US dollar debt maturities could face refinancing risks,” Edward Chan, a director at S&P, says in a report this week.
“In particular, developers with less recurring income will experience a liquidity squeeze.”
The cracks in Indonesia follow record defaults in China, measures in South Korea to prop up the market and stricter corporate bond regulations in Vietnam.,
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Jababeka provides real estate for companies like Toyota Motor Corp and Mattel Inc to set up and operate factories in Indonesia, tapping the country’s population of over 270 million to gain access to affordable and skilled labour.
It sold the 6.5% junk-rated bonds in 2016 to raise money for general corporate purposes. Jababeka had ambitious plans to build industrial cities and tourist resorts across the country, but some of those projects were derailed by the pandemic and a 2018 tsunami.
The company is now seeking to extend the tenor of that debt, which matures in October, to 2027.
The price of the bonds have almost halved since the start of this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Fitch last week cut Jababeka’s rating further into speculative-grade territory, to C from CC.
The proposed exchange comes amid increasing signs of funding concerns among Indonesian builders.
Like nearly everywhere, rising interest rates in the world’s fourth-most populous nation are hurting demand for property and pushing up debt servicing costs, and those difficulties are being compounded by a strong dollar.
Jababeka, which was founded in 1989 and listed on the Jakarta stock exchange in 1994, counts Unilever Plc and Samsung Electronics Co among its customers. It’s based in the Kota Jababeka complex, a 22-square-mile development located on a stretch of Indonesia’s main national highway about 35km east of the capital Jakarta.
The company sought to buy back the 2023 notes in mid-2019, but ultimately says it didn’t have sufficient funds, which led to a change of management and a lawsuit from shareholders.,