Potential buyers eye Poh Lian's top construction ratings

SEVERAL potential investors have expressed interest in buying financially beleaguered Poh Lian Construction so they can get two of its crucial operating ratings.

The ratings issued by the Building and Construction Authority allow the firm to tender for certain lucrative contracts because of its track record.

One is an A1 grading in construction which lets it bid for public projects with no upper price limit.

It also has an A2 grading for civil engineering works, so it can tender for contracts of up to $85million in that category, according to a filing to the Singapore Exchange by parent company United Fiber System on April 9.

An affidavit filed with the High Court last week indicated that interested parties want more clarity on the extent of Poh Lian's liabilities and whether its construction ratings are transferable.

Last Friday, the High Court approved Poh Lian's request for a judicial management order.

That gave judicial managers Tam Chee Chong and Andrew Grimmett 60 days to present a resolution to Poh Lian's creditors. Poh Lian's staff, including about 350 foreign workers, are also in a state of limbo.

The Straits Times understands that about a third of the workers will be transferred to other contractors to work on stalled Poh Lian projects, while the rest are likely to be repatriated.