Billionaire Chinese tycoon Wu Ruilin defaults on 100 million yuan of bonds owed to retail investors

Chairman of telecom company Cosun Group, reportedly richer than Baidu CEO Robin Li, cited ‘tight cash flow’ for the default

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 December, 2016, 7:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 December, 2016, 10:51pm

A super rich Chinese businessman has defaulted on bonds worth 100 million yuan that he raised from retail investors, citing “tight cash flow”, according to reports.

Wu Ruilin, chairman of the Guangdong based telecom company Cosun Group, has a personal fortune of 98.2 billion yuan, China Business New (CBN) reported on Wednesday, citing an audit report issued by a third party.

That makes Wu wealthier than Baidu’s founder Robin Li, who has 98 billion yuan and is ranked 8th on the Hurun Rich List 2016.

According to a notice put up by the Guangdong Equity Exchange on Tuesday, two subsidiaries of Cosun Group are each defaulting on seven batches of privately raised bonds they issued in 2014.

“The issuer had sent over a notice on December 15, claiming not to be able to make the payments on the bonds on time, due to short-term capital crunch,” the notice said.

Wu is making unlimited guarantees for the principal and interest on the bonds with all of his legitimate wealth. Meanwhile, Zheshang Property and Casualty Insurance Company is responsible for the bonding insurance that guarantees scheduled payments of interest and principal on the bond, the notice said.

Neither Wu nor the insurer had put the payments into the relevant account by 5 pm on Tuesday, according to the exchange notice.

Although the bourse did not specify the value of the bonds, CBN said they were together worth around 100 million yuan.

Calls to Cosun went unanswered on Wednesday.

Philip Sun, an analyst with central China based JZ Securities, said it made no sense for Wu to “purposely defaults on the bonds” as it would “severely affect his credit and make institutional investors panic”, which would create bigger problems for him.

“Either he was building his business on high leverage, or he is determined to count on the insurer, but it is for sure he really has a severe cash crunch,” said Sun.

Some investors have said they would sue Cosun and Wu Ruilin himself, CBN reported.