Hyflux suitor gets 158 tenders from creditors

But Pison Investments fails to make headway with unsecured working group of 7 banks

Potential Hyflux investor Pison Investments said on Tuesday it has hitherto received 158 tender application forms from note holders and other eligible creditors, but efforts to engage with the unsecured working group (UWG) of seven banks have fallen through.

The banks are Mizuho, KfW, Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered Bank, CTBC Bank and Korea Development Bank.

Last month, the group filed its application for a judicial management order, after the court gave the go-ahead for it to be carved out of Hyflux's debt moratorium.

This was because the UWG felt it could no longer trust Hyflux's management to lead any restructuring effort.

Given the lack of progress in moving matters forward through the UWG's advisers, Pison took the initiative to reach out to the members of the UWG directly, via invitation adviser Corporate FinEdge, with its proposal to buy out their debt.

Pison, the investment vehicle of Indonesian magnate Johnny Widjaja, had in early July made a formal cash offer for the debts of Hyflux's bank lenders, note holders and other senior unsecured creditors via a "reverse Dutch auction".

It said in a letter on Tuesday to Hyflux's executive chairman and group chief executive Olivia Lum that more than 40 note holders attended a town hall meeting via Zoom on Aug 31 for Corporate FinEdge to walk them through the key terms of the invitation memorandum. Their questions were answered by Mr Widjaja.

Pison assessed the note holders appeared "genuinely interested" in the offer.

It added that it was "very encouraged" that a "significant portion" of eligible creditors had taken part in the tender, including established financial institutions and corporations such as major banks and multinational corporations.

Although the Sept 4 deadline has passed, it continues to receive submissions of tender application forms and will consider them.

Pison, however, has yet to receive any tender applications from the members of the UWG. It reached out to each member in July.

 
 
 

"There are tender application forms Pison has received from eligible creditors with a quantum of eligible debt larger than some members of the UWG."

These eligible creditors must have found the terms of the invitation memorandum acceptable, it said.

Pison also said more than 150 other eligible creditors who have submitted tender applications must have found the terms acceptable too.

Pison has to decide which of the submitted tenders to accept by 5pm on Sept 25.

It said that once it has completed the purchase of a "significant portion" of the eligible debt, it will turn its attention to the holders of the perpetual capital securities and preference shares (P&P holders).

"We are intent on and keen to progress the invitation memorandum to completion, actively engage with the UWG members and deal with the P&P holders through the Securities Investors Association (Singapore) and its advisers over the course of the next few weeks," it added.

Pison is to make payment for the accepted bids on the settlement date of Oct 23. The long-stop date on the deal is Dec 31.

Hyflux said it will make announcements when there are further material developments on the matter.

THE BUSINESS TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2020, with the headline 'Hyflux suitor gets 158 tenders from creditors'. Print Edition | Subscribe