6 August 2020
Despite its best efforts, it seems Adani has so far failed to refinance Abbot Point Coal Terminal’s (AAPT) debt, with the company having to repay a total of $270 million for maturing loans and bonds due in 2020. Dipping into its own pocket to pay back the debt principal is something AAPT has usually avoided, and the lack of successful refinancing points to the coal port facing difficulties in attracting creditors. AAPT is the coal port through which the coal from Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine would be exported, and it is therefore a critical link in the chain that makes up the destructive Carmichael project.
Adding to Adani’s debt problems, three major creditors, Samsung Securities, Hanwha Securities and Yuanta Securities Investment Trust, have announced they will not provide any further funding for AAPT,. These announcements all happened after the companies started to feel pressure from the #StopAdani campaign.
Adani repays $270 million due in 2020
Adani had two major tranches of debt due in 2020, a $100 million bond issue maturing in May and a $170 million loan provided by CommBank and Westpac, due in November.
A bond issue to refinance this debt, planned for March 2020, was postponed, with no new date set, triggering a ratings downgrade. The Financial Review then reported that the $100 million in bonds due in May 2020 was paid back by AAPT via funding from an Adani company based in Singapore.
Now, it seems the remaining $170 million has also been repaid by Adani. S&P recently reported (paywalled) that on 7 July AAPT received another $170 million from a Singaporean Adani company. This news, combined with a statement provided by the Commonwealth Bank to the House Standing Committee on Economics that “there is no CBA loan…to AAPT. We have not been asked to extend capital to this project at this time”, indicates that the $170 million AAPT received from Singapore has been used to pay the $170 million worth of debt owed to CommBank and Westpac, and that these banks did not participate in refinancing that debt.
AAPT now has US$140 million due in September 2021 and US$500 million due in Dec 2022. It has appointed four banks, Stifel, CLSA, Haitong and Emirates NBD Capital to organise a refinancing [UPDATE: Since publishing this article CLSA has committed to no further involvement with Abbot Point coal port of the Carmichael proejct]. Every dollar of Adani’s own money that it uses to repay its debts, is a dollar that it can’t spend on building its climate-wrecking coal mine, and so we call on these banks to end their work for Abbot Point, which ends up supporting the disastrous Carmichael coal project.
Banks and bondholders are walking away
It’s not just Adani’s self-funded debt repayments that point to AAPT’s declining appeal. Just weeks after Market Forces called on the banks and financial institutions funding Adani Abbot Point Terminal (AAPT) to refuse to refinance its debt, the list of companies ruling out funds for Adani has grown rapidly.
On July 17, Samsung Securities, which was part of a $208 million loan to AAPT in 2019, folded under public pressure, ruling out any future finance for AAPT and any Adani coal projects. Hanwha Securities, Samsung’s partner in this loan, followed suit two weeks later.
On top of that, AAPT’s second-biggest bondholder, Yuanta Securities Investment Trust told Market Forces it has sold its $27m worth of bonds, and won’t be purchasing any more. Additionally, it seems another of AAPT’s major bondholders, Nomura Asset Management Taiwan, has dumped around $12m worth of bonds on the secondary market, with AAPT not featuring as a holding in its latest prospectus released in July 2020. These bond sales followed the snub from Investec, a bank that helped to arrange a $500 million bond issue for AAPT in 2017, ruling out helping with any future capital raising.
Other bondholders that have recently sold their stake in AAPT and committed to never purchasing any more bonds include Guardian Life Insurance, Sequoia Infrastructure Fund, and Swiss asset managers Valex Capital AG and J. Safra Sarasin AG. Nomura’s major AAPT bond sale, if confirmed, marks 77 companies walking away from Adani’s controversial coal project.
Adani’s bankers still on the case
However, CLSA, Stifel, Haitong and Emirates NBD banks are still trying to arrange further debt raising ensure Adani avoids directly repaying the US$640 million worth of debt due over the next two years. The focus of these banks, after their failure in 2020, is on refinancing the US$140 million worth of bonds maturing in September 2021.
One of the largest investment groups in Asia, CLSA, assures customers and shareholders that “our work takes into account the physical and financial impact of climate-related events.” The company also created a Clean Resources Asia Growth Fund to “duly monitor and address the risk of investing in fossil fuel dependent businesses, or industries that are exposed to climate change policies or regulatory development”. CLSA’s willingness to arrange finance for Adani’s Abbot Point directly undermines all its efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Stifel has surprisingly little to say about addressing climate change threats. The 125-year old U.S.-based firm (with a large presence in Europe) is relatively unique among financial managers by not acknowledging climate change in its investment insights. This neglect means Stifel is falling behind its peers in Europe and the United States, dozens of which are now restricting lending and other services to thermal coal. Stifel’s refusal to adequately address the climate crisis means it risks not meeting the expectations of shareholders and the public. To demonstrate that it does take climate risk seriously, one of its first steps must be ending its work for AAPT.
CLSA and Stifel should know better than to work to raise funds for a coal port linked to a massive new thermal coal development.
Every dollar of Adani’s own money that it uses to repay its debts, is a dollar that it can’t spend on building its climate-wrecking coal mine.
Take action. Fill out the form on this page to call on Adani’s bankers to stop supporting a destructive project like Carmichael via their work for Abbot Point coal port.
For a full rundown of Abbot Point’s debt and creditors, see our Abbot Point page.
Take action. Contact Stifel, one of the banks helping Adani raise finance for Abbot Point
Short video explaining why we need to contact Abbot Point’s creditors. NOTE: Westpac, CommBank, Samsung and Hanwha are no longer at risk of providing further funds to Abbot Point.