Exclusive – Vietnam’s No Va Land in talks with Credit Suisse, others to restructure debt – source

By Phuong Nguyen and Francesco Guarascio

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnamese property giant No Va Land Investment Group Corp is in talks with creditors to restructure part of its $1 billion foreign debt, according to two people familiar with the matter, amid turmoil in one of the country’s top industries.

Those creditors include Credit Suisse, according to one of the people.

The country’s fifth-largest developer by market value has been badly hit with the real estate sector wracked by a government crackdown on corruption and stricter rules on corporate bond issuance and refinancing. That has led to a credit crunch while firms have also had to grapple with a surplus of high-end property.

So far this year, No Va Land has missed payments on three of its domestic bonds and faces further repayment obligations worth roughly 14 trillion dong ($597 million) on more than 30 bond tranches. Last month, its auditor, PwC, expressed “significant doubt” about its ability to “operate continuously”.

To reduce repayment pressure, the company is trying to negotiate deals with foreign creditors, according to the people. They declined to be identified because the information was not public.

No Va Land’s total exposure to foreign creditors was worth about $1 billion at the end of last year, comprising bonds as well as loans with short and long-term maturities, according to one of the sources.

The company has reached deals with some creditors and is considering options to restructure other parts of its foreign debt, the source said.

The second person said talks were underway with Credit Suisse and at least one other creditor.

Credit Suisse, which has arranged some of No Va Land’s bond issuance, has committed to loans worth about $55 million, according to the Vietnamese company’s financial statements. The bank has also co-arranged a syndicated loan worth about $81 million with a credit facility of $250 million.

Credit Suisse declined to comment. No Va Land, currently valued at around $1.1 billion after an 83% plunge in its shares in the last 12 months, did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Among its main foreign creditors is Warburg Pincus, which invested $250 million last June. Nova Land has agreed to convert $200 million of that into shares of its subsidiaries, according to one of the sources.

Warburg declined to comment.

Another large creditor is financial firm Seatown, controlled by Singapore’s investment giant Temasek, which has extended about $100 million in loans, according to No Va Land’s financial statements.

Seatown did not reply to a request for comment.

One of the sources said No Va Land was seeking to sell assets to service its debt, but a third source familiar with the matter said the company has struggled for months to find buyers.

No Va Land’s total debt, including domestic loans and bonds, is about $2.7 billion, equivalent to 24% of its assets.

($1 = 23,443.0000 dong)

(Reporting by Phuong Nguyen and Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Edwina Gibbs)