Huawei seeks $1bn from small group of lenders

Move is first major funding test since US curbs on suppliers

A Huawei store in Shenzhen, China. Photograph: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

A Huawei store in Shenzhen, China. Photograph: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

 

Huawei is seeking about $1 billion (€900 million) from a small group of lenders, its first major funding test after getting hit with US curbs that threaten to cut off access to critical suppliers.

The world’s largest provider of networking gear is seeking an offshore loan in either US or Hong Kong dollars, sources said.

The company is targeting maturities of five and seven years, the sources said. Huawei, one of China’s biggest national champions, has become a central player in the country’s conflicts with the US over trade and key technologies.

The Trump administration jolted global investors last week by adding the Shenzhen-based company to a blacklist that could potentially hobble its access to parts and software from American suppliers.

Huawei’s dollar-denominated bonds tumbled to three-month lows on the news and one of Asia’s top-performing debt managers offloaded his holdings. The company’s talks with lenders are still at an early stage and there’s no guarantee a deal will happen.

If it does, the loan’s pricing – as well as the identities of the participating banks – could provide further clues on the market’s perception of Huawei’s financial strength.

The company had 37 billion yuan (€4.76 billion) of unsecured bank loans as of December, of which 2.8 billion yuan were due in one year or less, according to its 2018 annual report.

It had cash and cash equivalents of about 2.6 times total borrowing. Huawei’s latest fundraising attempt comes about four months after it obtained a 14 billion yuan loan from five Chinese banks.

In September, the company raised $1.5 billion offshore from a group of 10 mostly international banks.

On Thursday, Donald Trump described Huawei as “very dangerous” while at the same time saying the company could be part of a trade pact with China. The breadth and duration of the US curbs are still uncertain, Fitch Ratings said in a report on Friday. – Bloomberg