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Chinese banks sign debt-for-equity swap deals

Three major Chinese lenders signed debt restructuring deals with troubled Chinese firms as part of efforts to help cut corporate debt.

Bank of China Ltd. and five other Chinese banks have agreed to a debt restructuring deal with state-owned steelmaker Sinosteel, Reuters reported Dec. 9, citing a statement from the bank.

The bank said Sinosteel's debt restructuring will be divided into two parts. The first phase will be for more than 60 billion yuan of debt. One part will be kept for financial creditors while Sinosteel will then issue convertible debt, with creditors having the option to swap convertible debt into equity.

The Chinese government's debt-to-equity program is part of moves to deleverage the corporate sector. Chinese companies have US$18 trillion in debt, with most of it held by state-owned firms.

Meanwhile, China Construction Bank Corp. signed a framework debt-to-equity swap agreement with Shanxi Coking Coal Group involving two funds totaling US$3.62 billion.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. also signed a US$1.45 billion debt-for-equity swap with Shandong Gold Group.

As of Dec. 9, US$1 was equivalent to 6.90 Chinese yuan.