Amazon India Partner’s Bonds Slump After Missed Payment
An employee packs goods into a plastic bag at a checkout counter of a Big Bazaar hypermarket, operated by Future Retail Ltd., in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Amazon India Partner’s Bonds Slump After Missed Payment

Debt-ridden Indian retailer Future Retail Ltd. slumped in credit markets after missing a dollar bond interest payment Wednesday, the latest sign of mounting strains in the nation from the pandemic.

The company’s dollar notes slid 10 cents to 51 cents on the dollar on Thursday afternoon, the biggest drop in over three months, according to Bloomberg-compiled prices. Amazon.com Inc. has an indirect stake in Future Retail and a partnership with the company.

“Due to the nation-wide lock-down imposed to restrict the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, and consequent restricted business operations of the company the liquidity position has been affected,” Future Retail said in a statement on the Singapore Exchange late Wednesday. Read more details here.

Amazon India Partner’s Bonds Slump After Missed Payment

The retailer’s debt woes add to further signs of pain in India, which is hurtling toward its first economic contraction in more than four decades. The country is also struggling with one of the world’s worst bad loan ratios. Future Retail is the first Indian company to miss an interest payment on a dollar bond since the nation imposed the world’s most expansive lockdown in the end of March.

Future Retail said it is in the process of ensuring that payment of the interest is made within a 30-day grace period. S&P Global Ratings warned on Wednesday that even if Future Retail makes its payment, its weak liquidity remains an “overarching credit risk.”

Amazon and Future Retail signed a pact in January for the brick-and mortar retailer to sell everything from groceries to cosmetics, through Amazon’s sales channels.

The missed payment “will certainly” have the potential to affect investor demand for India high-yield companies selling dollar bonds, according to Vishal Kulkarni, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc.

Investor sentiment towards the nation’s junk bond market was already weak, with SoftBank Group Corp.-backed renewable energy company postponing a dollar bond offering last week.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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