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破产与合并冲击下的中国钢铁业
China mergers shake up steel sector

2020-9-29 17:03| 发布者: 忘忧草| 查看: 260| 评论: 0

摘要: It was a long road to insolvency for Dongbei Special Steel Group, a state-owned producer in China’s northeastern industrial heartlands that first defaulted in March after Yang Hua, the company’s cha ...
China mergers shake up steel sector
It was a long road to insolvency for Dongbei Special Steel Group, a state-owned producer in China’s northeastern industrial heartlands that first defaulted in March after Yang Hua, the company’s chairman, was founded dead after a suspected suicide.

Efforts to save the company through months of negotiations between creditors and the Liaoning government, Dongbei Special’s owner, got nowhere

. On Thursday, eight defaults in, the company finally entered bankruptcy proceedings with a restructuring plan expected to be enacted next month.

Dongbei Special’s demise was the latest shock in a seismic week for Chinese steel, where the first act of a Beijing-orchestrated plan to forge a more efficient and less indebted industry is under way.

Similar to earlier attempts, Beijing hopes to use a strategy of closures, asset restructuring and mergers to create 10 groups responsible for 60-70 per cent of the country’s production by 2025.

“If they can merge with others, they merge,” says Li Hongmei, an analyst at S&P; Global Platts. “If not, they will ask the banks if they can change debt for equity. If that fails, then they will choose the last resort — that will be bankruptcy.”

The sector’s problems with overcapacity have global consequences. Last year Chinese steelmakers’ failure to cut production to match falling domestic demand led to a glut of Chinese steel flooding global markets, dragging down prices and throwing the global industry into crisis.

International steelmakers are fighting the rise of Chinese exports with a growing number of anti-dumping cases but Beijing says the continued rise in exports merely reflects Chinese steel’s competitiveness.

To increase it further, Beijing is pushing top-down consolidation. An arranged marriage between two of China’s state-owned steel groups officially started a week ago.

The absorption of Wisco by Baoshan Steel was the first step to come out of continuing discussions between Baosteel Group and Wuhan Iron & Steel Group aimed at creating a steel producer second in output only to ArcelorMittal.

Aside from clearing out “zombies” and creating super groups, Beijing is encouraging local governments to carry out debt restructuring plans to deal with indebted local steel companies, either via debt-for-equity swaps or bond issuance.

Last Sunday a restructuring plan including the issuance of corporate bonds was finalised for Bohai Steel Group, a producer owned by the Tianjin city government with debts of Rmb192bn ($29bn).

Debt-for-equity deals in steel are part of a broader attempt to deal with corporate debt, says Tomas Gutierrez of Kallanish, a research group. “There is definitely a trend and it’s definitely political, because creditors don’t agree to these things willingly or easily,” he says.

Pushing through the ambitious Chinese steel restructuring plan depends on Beijing’s ability to keep in line provincial governments who, worried about unemployment and tax income, often keep local lossmaking producers afloat using subsidies and loans.

President Xi Jinping’s rapid centralisation of power through a sweeping anti-corruption campaign has given him greater control over the provinces and their enterprises than his immediate predecessors.

The latest move in Mr Xi’s political house-clearing was the expulsion of 45 lawmakers from Liaoning, one of China’s most indebted provinces and home to Dongbei Special.

Mr Xi’s clout may improve the odds of restructuring, according to analysts, but they warn that deals announced last week may have a limited effect on steel overcapacity.

“The overall impact of recent announcements on oversupply is unlikely to be significant,” says Mr Gutierrez.

Restructuring deals tend to save profitable capacity by creating a separate entity with a lower debt burden so it can continue producing.

For Bohai, this means the formation of a subsidiary consisting of the company’s premium assets that will hold only Rmb50bn of a total debt pile of Rmb192bn.

For Dongbei Special, it is likely that Fushun Special Steel, a high-end steel pipe manufacturer, will be spun off and continue producing, analysts say.

The drive to preserve and promote high-end, coastal capacity while cutting off low-end, inland capacity is present throughout the restructuring plans, including the headline Bao-Wu merger.

“Coastal capacity is growing, and that’s the main trend of the next two years,” says Mr Gutierrez. “Baosteel has a plant in Guangdong, Wisco has one in Guangxi, and they are ramping up to just under 10m tonnes of capacity a year each by the end of 2017. What [international steel producers] really should be asking is what’s happening with the extra 50m tonnes of capacity being commissioned on the [Chinese] coast in the next two years.”

中国东北工业核心地带的国有钢铁生产商东北特钢集团(Dongbei Special Steel Group)的破产之路十分漫长。3月份,在集团董事长杨华被发现疑似自杀身亡之后,东北特钢出现了首次违约。

债权人与该集团所有者辽宁省政府之间的磋商长达数月。试图借磋商拯救该集团的努力未收到任何效果。近日,至今已9次违约的东北特钢终于确定进入破产程序,重组计划预计会于下个月实施。

对于中国钢铁行业来说,东北特钢的破产是地震般的一周内出现的最新冲击波。在中国钢铁行业,一个由中国政府拟定的计划正迈出第一步。该计划旨在提高钢铁行业的效率、降低其债务。

与早先的尝试类似,中国政府希望到2025年前,通过关停工厂、资产重组与合并策略打造占中国钢铁产量60%到70%的10家集团。

标准普尔全球普氏(S&P; Global Platts)分析师李红梅表示:“能合并的就合并。合并不了的会去问银行能不能债转股。如果这也不行,就会选择最后手段——破产。”

中国钢铁业的产能过剩问题对全球都产生了影响。去年,中国钢铁制造商未能削减产量适应不断下滑的国内需求,导致大量中国钢铁涌入全球市场,拉低了钢铁价格,令全球钢铁业陷入危机。

国际钢铁制造商正在以日益增多的反倾销案对抗中国出口的攀升。但中国政府表示,出口的持续攀升只不过反映了中国钢铁的竞争力。

为进一步提升竞争力,中国政府正在推动自上而下的整合。一周前,中国两大国有钢铁集团之间正式启动了一场包办婚姻。

宝钢(Baoshan Steel)对武钢(WISCO)的吸收合并,是在两家集团持续磋商基础上迈出的第一步,旨在打造产量仅次于安赛乐米塔尔(ArcelorMittal)的全球第二大钢铁生产商。

除了清理“僵尸”企业及打造超级企业集团,中国政府还鼓励地方政府通过债转股或发行债券的办法实施债务重组,处理深陷债务的地方钢企。

近日,渤海钢铁集团(Bohai Steel Group)敲定了一份包括发行债券在内的重组计划。该集团由天津市政府所有,背负的债务高达1920亿元人民币(合290亿美元)。

研究集团Kallanish的托马斯?古铁雷斯(Tomas Gutierrez)表示,钢铁行业的债转股交易是处理企业债务更广泛努力的一部分。他说:“毫无疑问存在着这样的趋势,而且这种趋势无疑是政治性的,因为债权人不会愿意、也不会轻易同意这种事情。”

中国钢铁业大胆重组计划的推进,取决于中国政府能否控制各省政府依计划行事。这些省政府由于担心失业和税收问题,往往会通过补贴和贷款手段维持当地亏损钢铁生产商的经营。

中国国家主席习近平通过一轮全面反腐对权力的迅速集中,令他对各省政府及其企业的控制超过了前任。

他的政治大扫除的最新举措,是将辽宁省45名全国人大代表除名。辽宁省是东北特钢的所在地,也是中国负债情况最严重的省份之一。

分析师认为,习近平的影响力也许会加大重组的可能性。不过他们警告称,近期公布的交易对钢铁产能过剩状况的影响也许十分有限。

古铁雷斯表示:“近期公布的消息对供给过剩的总体影响不太可能有多大。”

重组交易往往会另行组建一个债务负担较轻的新实体,以确保其能够继续生产,从而保留具有盈利能力的产能。

对渤海钢铁来说,这意味着组建一家由其优质资产组成的新公司。新公司将仅承接该集团1920亿元人民币巨额债务中的500亿元人民币。

分析师表示,对于东北特钢,高端钢管制造商抚顺特钢(Fushun Special Steel)可能会被剥离,继续生产。

保留并提升高端沿海产能、削减低端内陆产能的做法,在各种重组规划中随处可见,备受关注的宝钢武钢合并案也是如此。

古铁雷斯表示:“沿海产能正在增长,这是今后两年的主要趋势。宝钢在广东拥有一家炼钢厂,武钢在广西也有一家炼钢厂,它们将在2017年年底以前将各自产能提升至略低于每年1000万吨的水平。(国际钢铁生产商)真正该问的问题是,今后两年(中国)沿海即将投产的5000万吨新增产能进展如何。”

译者/简易


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