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China Fishery missed loan payment earlier this month, S&P says

Mr Ng Joo Siang, CEO of industrial fishing firm China Fishery.

[HONG KONG] China Fishery Group Ltd. failed to repay a US$31 million installment due earlier this month on a US$650 million loan, according to Standard & Poor's.

"As a result, one of the lenders successfully applied for provisional liquidators, indicating that the lender is unwilling to negotiate for further extensions or waivers," S&P said in a Thursday statement.

HSBC Holdings Plc, one of the lenders to the loan, has filed an application to the High Court of Hong Kong to appoint provisional liquidators to the Singapore-listed fishing group. HSBC spokesman Adam Harper said in an e-mail that he can't comment and Katie Tsui, an investor relations officer at China Fishery, also declined.

China Fishery, with operations in Peru, has seen a decline in profits since the beginning of this year. Its cash position dwindled to US$41.3 million as at June 28 from US$170.5 million half a year earlier.

In August, China Fishery and its parent Pacific Andes International Holdings Ltd said they had received notices from the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Commercial Affairs Department stating they were being investigated for an offence under the Securities and Futures Act.

"We believe creditor banks might have found it difficult to roll over the maturing debt given a lack of transparency of the investigations and the potential impact of El Nino," JPMorgan Chase & Co analyst Daniel Fan said in a Thursday research note. "The key focus is more about whether China Fishery's rights-to- catch in Peru is being affected on the latest round of negative developments, which is more important than asset coverage."