SINGAPORE: Hyflux has obtained another timeline extension for an agreement it has with secured lender Maybank involving its Tuaspring Integrated Water and Power Plant, the debt-laden water treatment firm said on Monday (Feb 4) in a filing to the Singapore Exchange.
Marking the fifth postponement of deadline, Hyflux now has up to and including Feb 28, 2019 to conclude a binding agreement with a successful bidder or investor for the asset.
The previous deadline agreed by both parties was Jan 31.
Terms of the agreement shall continue to apply in the meantime, including Maybank’s right to terminate the collaboration agreement if the new deadline is breached, the filing added.
It was initially looking to divest the billion-dollar desalination and power plant at book value to help repay creditors.
However, since receiving a S$530 million lifeline from two Indonesian investors, Hyflux said it is no longer actively pursuing a voluntary sale of Tuaspring.
According to its website, the company said it is now working with SM Investments – a consortium made up of Indonesian conglomerate Salim Group and energy giant Medco Group – to engage Maybank on this matter.
Hyflux, seen as one of Singapore’s most successful business stories but which has since fallen from grace, has said it will announce a definitive restructuring plan by the middle of this month.
Amid growing worries from its aggrieved mom-and-pop investors about massive losses, it told Channel NewsAsia last month it remains committed to putting up a “fair” rescue plan.
READ: Hyflux says it remains committed to ‘fair’ restructuring plan as worries among retail investors grow
However, its announcement last Friday calling for creditors to file their proof of claims has served up some confusion and angst among minority shareholders.
The proofs have to be submitted by 5pm on Feb 15.
Any party who is required to and does not file a proof of claim by then will not be able to vote at the scheme meetings and may not be entitled to any payments, Hyflux said in the SGX filing.
Since then, a Telegram group of more than 800 retail investors have been buzzing with questions on how and who is required to submit proofs.
Some investors are also angry about the timing of the announcement and asked why they weren’t informed earlier.
Ms Violet Seow, in an email sent to Channel NewsAsia over the weekend, said: “For such an important activity, why did Hyflux not mention this during the town hall held on Jan 18 so that investors can look out for it and have the opportunity to clarify during the town hall?”
“They choose to announce on Feb 1 – the last weekend before Chinese New Year when everyone is very busy or away from work," said Ms Seow who owns Hyflux’s preference shares and perpetual securities.
"The deadline of Feb 15 spans two weekends and two public holiday plus a half day time off on Chinese New Year eve, effectively giving us and the banks only 8.5 working days to clarify and take action."
She added: “The time given is very short."
Hyflux's next case management conference will be heard by the court on Feb 11.