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Tianjin Commodities Trader Downgraded for Continued Debt Risk

By Wu Hongyuran and Han Wei / Apr 30, 2019 05:43 AM / Finance

Photo: IC Photo

Photo: IC Photo

The foreign debt of Tianjin government-backed commodities trader Tewoo Group Co. Ltd. was downgraded by Fitch Ratings because of liquidity concerns. The rating company put Tewoo’s bonds on negative watch about two weeks ago.

The downgrade reflects Tewoo’s continued trouble and highlights market jitters about the solvency of the city’s state-owned enterprises, which have been hit by a wave of defaults, bankruptcies and corruption scandals in recent years.

Fitch lowered the company’s long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating to B-, a junk level, and cut the Fortune 500 company’s credit rating the second time in two weeks to CCC+.

Fitch also lowered its rating of the Tianjin government’s guarantee to Tewoo by one notch to moderate.

According to Bloomberg data, Tewoo has six outstanding offshore bonds, including a $300 million note due in December. Holders of Tewoo bonds include J.P. Morgan, Blackrock and Deutsche Bank.

Tewoo is wholly owned by the Tianjin State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (Tianjin SASAC). Its main businesses are trading commodities such as metals, fuel and minerals, as well as logistics, according to the company’s website. The company accumulated 188 billion yuan in total liabilities by the end of September, accounting for 76.5% of total assets, according to figures from Chinese financial data provider Windinfo.

Related: Fitch Warning Highlights Jitters About Tianjin’s State Firms

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