Hyflux hires Clifford Chance, Cavenagh Law as legal advisers after WongPartnership opts out

Hyflux is in a protracted struggle to get a rescue plan pinned down.
Hyflux is in a protracted struggle to get a rescue plan pinned down.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Distressed water treatment firm Hyflux has found a new legal team after WongPartnership applied to discharge itself earlier this week because of "a loss of confidence and other good cause".

On Thursday night (Jan 30), Hyflux, which is in a protracted struggle to get a rescue plan pinned down, announced in an exchange filing that it has appointed Clifford Chance and Cavenagh Law as its legal advisers.

At a High Court hearing on Wednesday morning, Judge Aedit Abdullah had given a one-week adjournment for WongPartnership and Hyflux to reconcile or for new lawyers to be brought in to represent the firm.

Hyflux said later that day that "on its part, it has lost confidence and trust in WongPartnership".

At the Wednesday hearing also, Hyflux received another extension of its debt moratorium to Feb 28. A hearing was also scheduled on Feb 20 to hear applications for any extensions beyond this date.

Middle Eastern utility provider Utico is offering a $400 million rescue package to the debt-ridden firm, but Hyflux, which owes a total of $2.8 billion to various groups of creditors, must get them to sign off on the deal. Utico, meanwhile, has threatened to walk away if it cannot win investor support for its offer.

But some investors in Hyflux have also received an offer from a mystery rival suitor, Aqua Munda, in the latest twist to the saga. Last month, the firm invited Hyflux's noteholders and unsecured creditors, who are owed some $1.8 billion, to tender offers for their debts to be purchased at a minimum discount of 85 per cent.

That invitation, which was extended, expires today.