Whatever Sino-Forest Corp. does to preserve value for its bondholders, it better do it fast or it's likely creditors will do it for the company.
The company is burning through cash at a much-faster than predicted rate, reducing the value of the company for bondholders each day. Between June 30 and Nov. 4, Sino-Forest's cash holdings dropped from $900-million to $571-million, indicating that the company is using about $82-million a month.
That's significantly faster than the burn rate that analysts had forecast. Nomura Securities had estimated back in August that Sino-Forest was using $100-million of cash a quarter.
The upshot for bondholders, who are now in a stronger position to try to force a liquidation after the company said it would default, is that waiting costs money. The value of the company's forest holdings is up for dispute, but cash is cash. And every day it dwindles. Assuming spending at the recent rate, Sino-Forest is likely down to about $470-million in cash.
The company is looking at strategic options like a sale or asset dispositions to try to preserve value now that it's going to default on its debt. Sino-Forest will have to show progress soon, or it may lose control of the process.
Sino-Forest bonds due in October 2017 were offered Monday at 25 cents on the dollar, according to Bloomberg.
This item has been corrected to show the burn rate at about $82-million a month, rather than the $66-million originally stated.