The Chinese Dominoes Are About To Fall: Complete List Of Upcoming Trust Defaults

Tyler Durden's picture

As has been widely reported on these pages in the past month, after a near-reality experience almost claimed the first material Chinese shadow banking default, the Chinese government and central bank did what they do best: a mysterious "white knight" emerged out of nowhere, and bailed out the Credit Equals Gold #1 Trust. A few days later, we reported that China Development Bank lent 2 billion yuan to coal company Shanxi Liansheng, which owes almost 30b yuan to lenders including banks, trusts and asset management firms. And while we know how "difficult" it was for China to do the wrong thing and encourage moral hazard, despite repeated assurances by one after another PBOC director that this time the central bank means business, we have good news: these two narrowly averted Trust defaults are just the beginning - it is all downhill from here.

As Bank of America reports in an analysis by David Cui, the Trust defaults are about to get hot and heavy. To wit:

We believe that during April to July the market may see many trust products threatening to default, especially those related to coal mines. By our estimate, the first real default most likely could happen in May with a Sichuan lead/zinc trust product worth Rmb140mn. This is because the product is relatively small (so the government may use it as a test case), the underlying asset is not attractive (so little chance of 3rd parties taking it over) and we also have heard very little on parties involved trying to work things out. Whether this will trigger an avalanche of future trust defaults remains to be seen and this presents a key risk to the market in our opinion.

 

... it’s still possible that many of the upcoming cases in Apr-July may get worked out one way or the other. Nevertheless, as we believe that many of the underlying assets of the trust products are insolvent, it’s a matter of time that many products will ultimately default, in our view. Various bail-outs will only delay the inevitable.

From BofA's David Cui

12 potential defaults reported by the media

Table 1 summarizes the information on the 12 major potential defaults in the trust industry that have been reported by the media. Most of them are coal mine related and heavily concentrated in one area, Shanxi Province. So far it seems to us that most of them may get extended upon the due date. The only exception over the next few months appears to be a product issued by China Credit Trust for a lead and zinc miner in Sichuan, Nonggeshan. Even without any major default over the next few months, the process of debt restructuring can be messy and weigh heavily on market sentiment.

19 Feb 2014, Rmb109mn borrowed by Liansheng & arranged by Jilin Trust

  • Details: This Rmb109mn tranche is part of a six-tranche trust product worth a total of Rmb973mn arranged by Jilin Trust for Liansheng, a Shanxi coal miner. The other five tranches have matured since 2H 2013 and remain overdue.
  • Potential outcome: Repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Liansheng is undergoing a debt restructuring coordinated by the Shanxi provincial government. 1) The provincial government plans to help out involved financial institutions to ensure the region’s access to ongoing financing. According to people close to the situation, the implicit guarantee practice will most likely continue with the Liansheng’s case. 2) Trust companies may have to follow banks to help the miner out. Banks have agreed to extend their mid/long term loans by three years. Top 3 banks have total debts of Rmb10.6bn to Liansheng; top 3 trust lenders, Rmb3.7bn.

(Shanghai Securities News, 2/11; Economic Information, 2/13)

21 Feb 2014, Rmb500mn borrowed by Liansheng & arranged by Shanxi Trust

  • Potential outcome: repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Same as the Jilin Trust case.

(Caiing 1/27; China Securities Journal, 1/27; 21st Century Business Herald, 2/14)

07 Mar 2014, Rmb664mn borrowed by Liansheng & arranged by Changan Trust

  • Details: Other than the Rmb664mn product to mature on Mar 7, Changan Trust arranged another two products for Liansheng, totaling Rmb536mn which matured in Nov 2013. Both products remain overdue.
  • Potential outcome: repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Same as the other Liansheng cases.

(Caiing 1/27; China Securities Journal, 1/27; 21st Century Business Herald, 2/14)

31 Mar 2014, Rmb196mn borrowed by Magic Property & arranged by CITIC Trust

  • Details: invested in an office building in Chongqing. The Chongqing developer ran into financial problems in mid-2013. CITIC Trust tried to auction the collateral but failed to do so because the developer has sold the collateral and also mortgaged it to a few other lenders.
  • Potential outcome: The developer and the trust company may share the repayment.
  • Reasons: 1) When CITIC Trust sold the product, it did not specify the underlying investment project. 2) The local government has intervened, fearing social unrest. A local buyer of a unit in the office building committed suicide as he/she could not obtain the title to the property due to the title dispute between the trust and the developer.

(Source: Financial Planning Weekly, 3/6/2013; Guangzhou Daily, 4/6/2013, Boxun, 5/10/2013)

14 May 2014, Rmb1.5bn borrowed by Liansheng & arranged by China Jiangxi International Trust

  • Potential outcome: repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Same as the other three Liansheng cases.

(Caiing 1/27; China Securities Journal, 1/27; 21st Century Business Herald, 2/14)

30 May 2014, Rmb140mn borrowed by Nonggeshan & arranged by China Credit Trust

  • Details: invested in a lead and zinc mine in Sichuan.
  • Potential outcome: Likely to default.
  • Reasons: 1) Compared to coal mines of Zhenfu and Liansheng, the lead and zinc mine is a much less attractive asset: it is located in the mountains over 5,000 meters in altitude, inaccessible for 6 months of the year due to weather conditions, with low lead/zinc content; 2) According to an unnamed regulator, the central government is comfortable with trust defaults in the range of Rmb100-200mn.

(Source: 21st Century Business Herald, 31/7/2012; Caiing, 1/27)

25 Jul 2014, Rmb1.3bn borrowed by Xinbeifang & arranged by China Credit Trust

  • Details: Xinbeifang is another Shanxi coal miner.
  • Potential outcome: repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Xinbeifang is negotiating with an SOE to sell some of its coal mine assets.

(Source: China Securities Journal, 1/15)

27 Jul 2014, Rmb319mn borrowed by Hongsheng & arranged by Huarong Trust

  • Details: Hongsheng is a Shanxi coal miner. Huarong sold another trust product for it which will mature in 4 September 2014, worth Rmb63mn.
  • Potential outcome: repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Hongsheng may have assets to secure more financing. It issued these two trust products to replace another trust product that matured in Q3 2012. The owner also issued other trust products using his personal property assets as collateral and raised Rmb1.2bn.

(21st Century Business Herald, 20/12/2013)

7 Sept 2014: Rmb400mn borrowed by Zengdai & arranged by CCB Trust

  • Details: 1) The proceeds of the product were invested in financial markets. 2) Its 1st tranche, worth Rmb400mn, matured in Mar 2013 with a 38% loss vs. an expected return of 20-30%. Investors agreed to extend the maturity of the product to Sept 2014. 3) Its 2nd tranche, worth Rmb359mn, matured in June 2013 with a 31% loss vs. an expected return of 20-30%. Investors agreed to extend the maturity of the 2nd tranche to Dec 2014.
  • Potential outcome: The trust company and the investment company may share the losses.
  • Reasons: 1) The investment company refused to repay investors in full at the original due date so the trust company may have to chip in; 2) By Jan 2014, the 1st tranche reported a narrower loss of 24%, and the 2nd tranche, also a narrower loss of 13%; 3) Zengdai may pay on behalf of its investment company for reputation’s sake.

(Source: Securities Daily, 9/7/2013; CCB Trust)

20 Nov 2014, Rmb600mn borrowed by Liansheng & arranged by China Jiangxi Int'l Trust

  • Potential outcome: repayment may be extended.
  • Reason: Same as the other Liansheng cases.

(Caiing 1/27; China Securities Journal, 1/27; 21st Century Business Herald, 2/14)

23 Dec2014: Rmb1.1bn borrowed by Xiaoyi Dewei & arranged by China Resources Trust

  • Details: Xiaoyi Dewei is a Shanxi coal miner. The trust product originally matured in Dec 2013 but repayment was extended to Dec 2014.
  • Potential outcome: Likely to default.
  • Reason: Both the miner and the trust company refused to repay investors in full at the original due date. There has been no reporting on asset sales by Xiaoyi Dewei.

(Source: Financial Planning Weekly, 11 Nov 2013)

15 Jan 2015, Rmb1.2bn borrowed by Hongsheng’s owner & arranged by Minmetals Trust

  • Details: the collateral is the Shanxi coal miner’s personal property assets.
  • Potential outcome: May be replaced by a new trust product.
  • Reason: Same as the July 2014 Rmb319mn trust product issued by Huarong Trust.

(21st Century Business Herald, 20/12/2013)

2Q/3Q 2014 – the next peak maturing period for collective trusts

We consider the trust market the most vulnerable part of the major financing channels for companies, i.e. loan, corporate bond and trust. The quality of the borrowers in the trust market tends to among the lowest. Within the trust market, collective trust products, i.e. those sold to more than one investor, tend to be risker than single trust products, i.e. those sold to a single investor. This is because investors in single trust products tend to be more substantial in resources, thus most likely more sophisticated in their risk control.

The Wind database lists close to 12,000 collective trust products, worth Rmb1.34tr, which cover roughly half of the collective trust market (Rmb2.72tr as of the end of 2013). It has reasonably good quality data series on the issuing dates and amounts raised. However, data on maturing dates are sporadic. We estimate that the average duration of the trust products is around 2 years. Based on this assumption and the issuing dates, we have mapped out a rough maturing profile of the collective trust market. As we can see from Chart 1, 2Q and 3Q this year will be the next peak maturing period for this market.

Coal mine trusts maturity schedule

We went through the offering documents of the top 200 collective trust products by size (the smallest being Rmb400mn), worth some Rmb145bn in total. They represent roughly 10% of the trust products in the Wind database and 5% of the overall collective trust market. We identified the industries of the issuers, the regions where their businesses are located and the maturity dates of the products. Table 2 summarizes the results.

We believe that coal mine trusts are the most likely to default over the coming months because 1) coal price has dropped sharply in recent quarters; 2) most of the issuers are private enterprises; and 3) they tend to be from provinces whose governments rely heavily on resources related income, e.g., Shanxi and Inner Mongolia. On the other hand, the property market has been reasonably buoyant in recent times while LGFVs generally have access to re-financing until the implicit guarantee is removed (a whole different topic worthy another report later). Based on the maturing schedule of the top 200 collective trust products, we expect more noise about coal mine trust defaults around Apr, June and July (Chart 2).

Table 3 lists the coal mine trust products that are in our study.

For the trust market, we only have data on approximately half of the collective trust market, which in turn, accounts for about a quarter of the overall trust market. So essentially, we only covered about 1/8 of the total trust market with our analysis. Single trusts are less risky than collective trusts. Nevertheless, if the solvency issue is a systemic problem as we expect, many single trusts will ultimately default by our assessment.

Our analysis has largely zoomed in on coal mine trusts because they represent the clear and present danger given how depressed the coal market has been. However, property related trusts may come under increasing pressure as we sense that the property market may be turning south in small cities. As a result, some of those related products may threaten to default reasonably soon. Then we have the big unknown – LGFV trusts. Whether and when they may default is largely a political decision in our opinion.