Singapore—A lawyer for Hyflux told the High Court on Thursday, April 11, that it is still too premature to discuss a new rescue plan for the beleaguered water treatment company, even though the moratorium for the firm’s debt will be up by the end of the month.
The company is yet to decide whether it needs an extension on the moratorium protecting Hyflux from its creditors, according to Manoj Sandrasegara of WongPartnership, a lawyer for the water treatment firm.
He also said that “all options are on the table,” and that Hyflux will hold talks with all senior unsecured groups.
He said this at a case management conference at the High Court yesterday, wherein the company’s numerous creditors ironed out details after the latest development in the Hyflux saga unfolded last week when a white knight deal with Indonesian consortium SM Investments fell through.
“If we do intend to apply for the moratorium to be extended, we will need about 10 days to two weeks to talk to the creditors about our next steps,” Mr Manoj said.
He also said that the PUB has not issued a termination notice for its water purchase agreement for the Tuaspring plant yet. Singapore’s water agency has told Hyflux that it has until April 30 to address its defaults, after which it would step in and take over for zero dollars.
High Court Justice Aedit Abdullah inquired about Hyflux’s other plans, other than possible liquidation. He mentioned that he had received a letter from one of Hyflux’s retail investors, a woman named Violet Seow, who wrote that the extension for the moratorium should not be lengthy.
Justice Aedit said, “She has expressed that she has no confidence in the restructuring attempt and says that the company should basically not be allowed to extend the moratorium for too long.”
Mr Manoj answered that Hyflux would answer these questions. He added later that he cannot speculate regarding another restructuring plan because it is still “too premature”.
The Justice said that since the deal with SM Investments has now fallen through, Hyflux’s application for court protection in order for the restructuring to take place has now swerved from its original intention.
He also said that he needs to be convinced that an extension to the moratorium is necessary.
“I have expressed on various occasions that I have to be persuaded that there is something tangible before I can extend the moratorium. It has been taking a while and I appreciate that this is a complex restructuring.”
He said that Hyflux should present another plan to convince the court that an extension is indeed warranted. “I expect that if the company wants more time, that something will be put together.”
The Straits Times reports that the legal representatives of the firm’s creditors who were present at yesterday’s case management conference asked no questions about the restructuring plan, even if certain summonses and application, now moot due to the aborted rescue plan from SM Investments, had been withdrawn.
Hyflux was to have its creditors vote on a rescue plan by last week, which was cancelled after the aborted SM Investments deal. The original deadline for the company to reorganise its debts was December 18, 2018, and the company had already received one extension of 4 and a half months.
However, after last week’s announcement about SM Investments, the company told its stakeholders that it would “continue to relentlessly pursue all other viable strategic opportunities”.
Hyflux’s case management conference will continue on April 25. /TISG
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