Hyflux fields at least 7 non-binding offers with cash running out

Once a corporate highflyer, Hyflux is Singapore's most high-profile debt-restructuring case.
Once a corporate highflyer, Hyflux is Singapore's most high-profile debt-restructuring case.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Hyflux, which was put under judicial management in November last year, will be fielding several possible bids in the months ahead as it tries to avoid running out of money.

The water treatment company currently has at least seven non-binding offers from potential investors, according to two people familiar with the matter. It needs to move fast: The firm had $18.4 million of cash as of Jan 31, enough to survive for five months from that date, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

The suitors have shown interest in Hyflux as a whole or for some of its assets, but the bids have varying degrees of complexity and many need additional clarification, the people said.

Mr Patrick Bance, a Singapore-based director at Hyflux's judicial manager Borrelli Walsh, declined to comment.

Once a corporate high-flier, Hyflux is Singapore's most high-profile debt-restructuring case that has dragged on since a court-supervised process began in May 2018. Rapidly declining liquidity is adding to the woes: its cash and equivalents halved for two straight years through 2020.

Borrelli Walsh is not yet able to determine whether the company will be restructured in entirety or its assets will be sold piecemeal, according to the people.

The judicial manager seeks binding offers from suitors by March 31 and targets finalising the term sheets with shortlisted investors by April 15, the people said.

Among the group's main operating entities, Hydrochem held the most cash, while Hyflux Engineering and Hyflux Membrane Manufacturing had at least $2.8 million as of Jan 31, according to the people.

In January this year, Hyflux said 17 potential investors were conducting due diligence for submitting non-binding offers and the judicial manager would invite shortlisted suitors to participate in the second stage of the bidding process on or about Feb 15.