Leading property developers may see an improvement in their ability to raise credit financing despite Hong Kong's continuing tight credit environment. Analysts said concerns over debt-servicing difficulties by many mainland-backed companies would reinforce banks' flight to quality customers. US-based Salomon Smith Barney said big developers with strong balance sheets were usually able to borrow amid a credit crunch. According to the investment firm, more than HK$13 billion was raised in the debt market by leading property firms in January - almost the same amount raised in the past seven months. Henderson Land Development achieved the latest corporate loan financing with a HK$1 billion fixed-rate notes issue early this month. Lead managed by HSBC Markets, the fixed-rate issue was split into two tranches of HK$500 million each with maturities of one year and two years respectively. The one-year notes carry a coupon of 7.6 per cent a year, equivalent to 142 basis points over one-year Exchange Fund notes. The two-year notes carry a coupon of 8 per cent a year, equivalent to 167 basis points over two-year Exchange Fund notes. Other leading property companies which launched fixed-rate notes recently include Cheung Kong (Holdings), Sun Hung Kai Properties and Hutchison Whampoa. Dresdner Kleinwort Benson analyst Terry Ip agreed leading developers would secure corporate loans in Hong Kong even though borrowing costs were not cheap. He said, however, property firms with strong financial strength were limited. Ricky Wong, director of Wharf (Holdings)' marketing agent Harriman Realty, said the credit environment in Hong Kong remained tight as so many companies arranged financing outside the SAR. Wharf (Holdings) is to raise about US$575 million by securitizing the rental income on three million square feet of commercial space in Harbour City. The issue will be keenly watched by the market and could set a fund-raising example for other blue chips. Mr Wong said the company could consider doing similar exercises, if the response of this fund-raising was encouraging. Sun Hung Kai Properties has established a euro medium-term note programme enabling it to raise up to US$500 million. The programme, arranged by US investment bank Morgan Stanley, is the first of its kind by a listed Hong Kong company.