Hyflux creditors asked to file proofs of claim by Feb 5

Debt-laden Hyflux owes $900 million in PnP principal value to some 34,000 mom-and-pop investors. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Troubled water treatment firm Hyflux on Thursday (Jan 9) called for its creditors to file proofs setting out their claims for the purpose of scheme meetings to vote on a rescue deal with Middle Eastern utility Utico.

Parties who have claims against Hyflux Ltd, Hyflux Engineering, Hyflux Membrane Manufacturing (S) and Hydrochem (S) are to file by 5pm on Feb 5.

The proofs will form a basis for the creditors - which include bank lenders and trade creditors - to vote on the scheme proposals and to receive payments.

However, holders of the company's notes, perpetual securities and preference shares (PnP) are not required to file any proof.

This is because the notes and PnP holdings are recorded in the Central Depository Pte Ltd (CDP), and Hyflux will seek the Singapore High Court's leave to file a proof on the holders' behalf based on those records.

All creditors, including the PnP investors and noteholders, will get to approve or reject Utico's proposed rescue deal at the upcoming scheme meetings. The date of the scheme meetings, to be held in March, will be announced once ordered by the court. The proposed chairman for the meetings will be either Angela Ee Meng Yen or Glenn Peter, who are both partners at Ernst & Young Solutions.

All this is taking place as in the latest twist to the Hyflux saga, a new player, Aqua Munda, entered the picture last month to invite Hyflux noteholders and unsecured creditors to offer their debts for purchase at a minimum discount of 85 per cent. The invitation from the Singapore-registered company expires on Jan 23.

Debt-laden Hyflux owes $900 million in PnP principal value to some 34,000 mom-and-pop investors. Also outstanding are the company's $100 million, 4.25 per cent notes due in 2018, the $65 million, 4.6 per cent notes due in 2019, and $100 million 4.2 per cent notes due in 2019.

In March last year, when the rescue package from Indonesian investment group Salim-Medco was still on the table, 73 parties had filed proofs of claim amounting to $3.51 billion ahead of scheme meetings scheduled for April 2019.

Back then, the retail PnP investors filed for some of the largest claim amounts. Holders of the $500 million, 6 per cent perps filed claims worth $540.7 million, while holders of the $400 million, 8 per cent preference shares filed claims of $429.3 million. The medium-term noteholders were also claiming a combined $277.7 million.

Claimants among the other creditors included project company Tahlyat Myah Magtaa SpA, the Singapore branch of Mizuho Ban, KfW Ipex-Bank, ESR-Reit, Ascendas Reit, and DBS Bank.

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