July 20, 2017 / 4:14 AM / a month ago

Shipbuilder Nam Cheong says it is halting debt repayments

SINGAPORE, July 20 (Reuters) - Nam Cheong Ltd, which makes offshore support vessels, said it has temporarily stopped repayment of all borrowings and begun discussions with lenders to restructure its bank facilities.

Low oil prices, weak charter rates and delays to projects have hit the performance of Nam Cheong and other Singapore-listed companies in the offshore and marine sector, with many of them struggling to repay their debts.

Nam Cheong has previously said it was reviewing its options to restructure its businesses, operations and balance sheet to ride out the challenging market environment.

"While the restructuring is ongoing, the company has decided to temporarily cease repayment on all of the company's borrowings," it said on Thursday.

The Malaysia-headquartered firm said it had total bank loans and notes outstanding of 1.84 billion Malaysian ringgit ($429 million) outstanding. It is also proposing to restructure the bonds, which comprise three issuances totalling S$365 million ($267 million).

Nam Cheong said it will not pay the coupon on one of the notes due on July 23.

It has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services to advise it on restructuring options. The company reiterated an April statement that it will be faced with a "going concern issue" if its restructuring was not favourably completed in a timely manner. ($1 = 4.2880 ringgit) ($1 = 1.3686 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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