Hyflux receives proofs of claims amounting to $3.51b from 73 parties

The Hyflux Innovation Centre at 80 Bendemeer Road, on Feb 16, 2019.
The Hyflux Innovation Centre at 80 Bendemeer Road, on Feb 16, 2019.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Hyflux has received proofs of claims from 73 parties amounting to $3.51 billion, the debt-laden water treatment firm announced in a regulatory filing on Friday (March 8).

This comes after Hyflux had asked creditors and stakeholders to file proofs of claims ahead of scheme meetings to vote on its debt restructuring plan. The proofs will form a basis to vote on scheme proposals and to receive payments.

In particular, retail investors in Hyflux's perpetual securities and preference shares have filed proofs for some of the largest claim amounts. Owners of its $500 million, 6 per cent perpetual securities have filed claims worth $540.7 million; while owners of its $400 million, 8 per cent preference shares have filed claims worth some $429.3 million.

Hyflux's medium-term noteholders are also claiming a combined total of $277.7 million.

Project company Tahlyat Myah Magtaa SpA has filed a proof of claim worth $502.6 million for an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract, and an O&M (operations and maintenance) contract parent guarantee related to Hyflux's Magtaa desalination plant in Algeria.

The Singapore branch of Mizuho Bank is also claiming $183.2 million for a syndicated loan, bilateral loan and project delivery guarantee; while KfW Ipex-Bank is claiming $145.9 million for a guarantee relating to Hydrochem bilateral loans, the filing showed.

Other claimants include the trustee of ESR-Reit, RBC Investor Services Trust Singapore Ltd, which is claiming $150 million for rent guarantee related to Hyflux's Tuas Hub lease; and the trustee of Ascendas Reit, HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Singapore), which is claiming $120.9 million for rent guarantee related to the lease of the Hyflux Innovation Centre, and the Hyflux Building at Kallang Bahru.

 
 
 
 

DBS Bank is also seeking $109.2 million for a syndicated loan, and various EPC contract performance bonds, the filing showed.

In a separate filing to the Singapore bourse on Friday afternoon, Hyflux disclosed that MAA Kuthari Global LLC had filed a notice of arbitration on March 1 against its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, Hyflux EPCLLC. The legal action relates to disputes between the parties over a subcontract dated March 28, 2016, for the installation of systems for a proposed desalination facility to be developed in Qurayyat, Saudi Arabia.

On March 7, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre informed both parties that the arbitration was "deemed to have commenced" on March 5, the filing showed.

Hyflux said it is currently seeking legal advice on MAA Kuthari Global's claims, and will take all necessary steps to protect its rights.

"Due to the uncertainty of the outcome of Hyflux's ongoing reorganisation process and the unpredictability of the financial outlook for 2019, Hyflux is therefore currently unable to assess and disclose the financial impact of the arbitration proceedings on the Hyflux group for the current financial year ending Dec 31 2019," Hyflux said.

At Hyflux's make-or-break scheme meeting for creditors on April 5, it will be asking perp and pref holders - a group of 34,000 mom-and-pop investors, among them retirees - to vote for deal that offers them a 10.7 per cent recovery on their principal. Medium-term note holders have been offered a recovery rate of at least 24.5 per cent.

Before the scheme meeting, Hyflux is set to meet these retail investors in a third round of townhall meetings on March 13.

Earlier this week, Hyflux subsidiary Tuaspring Pte Ltd was slapped with a default notice from the Public Utilities Board (PUB), for failing to keep its desalination plant "reliably operational" as required under the Water Purchase Agreement. The national water agency also warned that it will take control of the plant if the company's defaults are not resolved.

PUB's notice to Tuaspring comes amid a petition by over 2,000 affected Hyflux retail investors seeking a government bailout.