A private investor who sank $15 million into the doomed Singdollar bond issue of Malaysia's Perisai Petroleum Teknologi has taken the unusual step of filing an application in the Kuala Lumpur High Court for the insolvent oil and gas firm to be wound up.
The filing is the latest bid by investors in Singapore to recover some monies after Perisai defaulted on a $125 million bond with an Oct 3 maturity.
On Sept 11, more than 50 bond holders got together to file a notice of acceleration with the bond trustee, DB International Trust, demanding immediate payment from Perisai, citing bad faith.
Perisai managing director Zainol Izzet had said in August his company would set aside at least US$20 million (S$27.8 million) for bondholders in its debt reorganisation, but later made a proposal that was not as agreed.
Perisai was officially notified only on Oct 17 that its bonds were due and payable, after the trustee took weeks to deliberate on execution.
Mr Ravi Murarka, who on Monday petitioned for Perisai to be wound up by the court in Kuala Lumpur, told The Straits Times yesterday: "Deutsche Bank trustee has put the economic interests of the note holders at risk instead of facilitating them. The end result is we lost time and they lost face, but the issuer won."
As unsecured lenders, bond holders have a low chance of recovery from liquidating Perisai. But the winding-up order could prompt banks to put some heat on Perisai, which may otherwise have avoided initiating liquidation and taking huge write-offs for the bad loans.
Lee & Lee senior partner Adrian Chan, who is not involved in the case, said: "In Malaysia, as with Singapore, there are clawback possibi- lities that have a time expiry, so the earlier the winding up order is given, the longer back the liquidator can look to see if there's a chance to claw back past payments made."
Meanwhile, Perisai seems to have gone quiet. It must regularise its financial position within 12 months or delist.
Mr Murarka said: "Bond holders are searching with flashlights and hard hats for the issuer. There has been zero communication from Perisai to bondholders directly or through KPMG since Oct 3."
Another bond holder said: "It's as if nothing has happened."
An e-mail from The Straits Times to Datuk Izzet went unanswered. KPMG partner Martin Wong - appointed by Perisai as financial adviser - did not respond to an e-mail from ST asking if KPMG had resigned from the role.
Perisai shares traded at an all- time low of 5.5 sen before the company disclosed yesterday evening it had been served with the winding up order. It said it has sought preliminary legal advice and intends to challenge and oppose the petition.