SINGAPORE: The Securities Investors Association Singapore (SIAS) has said it is “seriously concerned” about the “lack of finality” on Utico’s offer for home-grown water treatment firm Hyflux, with the Middle Eastern investor repeatedly introducing changes to the deal at the last minute.
A press statement issued by SIAS chief David Gerald on Wednesday (Nov 20) read: “SIAS is concerned that while Hyflux, together with the various creditor groups, have been working within the timelines as required by the court to try and work out a deal acceptable to everyone, some deal changes have been repeatedly introduced at the eleventh hour by the investor.”
The investor advocacy group added that it hopes a deal – an outcome which would benefit many stakeholders, including retail investors – would not be scuttled by “such strategies designed to achieve advantages for one party only”.
“SIAS urges all parties, including the investor to continue negotiations with a view to achieve a commercially acceptable outcome for all stakeholders involved including in particular, the holders of the perpetual securities and preference shares.”
CNA has reached out to Utico for comments.
READ: From making waves to drowning in red ink: Hyflux, Tuaspring and how a business giant came undone
The United Arab Emirates utility firm has said in July that it is willing to take an 88 per cent stake in Hyflux through S$300 million in equity injection as well as a S$100 million shareholder loan.
It also intends to offer the cash equivalent of a 4 per cent stake in the enlarged Utico group, plus additional cash to the holders of preference shares and perpetual securities.
Both parties have been in talks since and despite repeated deadlines issued by Utico, a definitive agreement has not been signed.
READ: Hyflux, Utico still in negotiations to ink a definitive restructuring agreement: Hyflux lawyer
Hyflux's lawyer told the High Court earlier this month that some of the terms in the agreement are not “commercially acceptable” to the firm and its stakeholders.
The fallen water treatment giant, whose restructuring journey has been marked by several twists and turns thus far, has court protection from its creditors until Dec 2.
A High Court hearing has been scheduled on Nov 29 to consider any further applications or extensions of the debt moratorium.