Maybank demands $509m payment from Hyflux

Other amounts also due in letter of demand; key exec quits besieged water treatment firm

It has been another day of drama at beleaguered water treatment firm Hyflux with a tersely worded demand for hundreds of millions of dollars from its biggest creditors and the resignation of a key executive.

The firm disclosed on Thursday night that its Tuaspring unit has received a letter from Maybank over payments the bank said were "immediately due and payable".

They comprise $509.1 million drawn down under term loan facilities, a US$44.5 million (S$60.6 million) cash cover for contingent liabilities, along with interest and legal costs.

An estimated $28 million is also due to Maybank from hedging agreements.

Hyflux said in its Singapore Exchange filing that it is currently unable to precisely determine the exact amount due to currency exchange fluctuations and interest rate movements.

"The demand from Maybank, like the termination of the collaboration agreement, is expected to have a material impact on the financial performance of the group," it noted.

The Maybank claims follow demands totalling US$65.03 million that were lodged by the project company for its Algerian desalination plant and disclosed by Hyflux on Tuesday.

The company also announced in a separate filing yesterday that its group executive vice-president of operations has quit. It said that Mr Chang Cheow Teck is leaving "to pursue personal interests". Mr Chang took on the role in November 2017 with a remit to assist chief executive Olivia Lum in certain areas.

The company also announced in a separate filing yesterday that its group executive vice-president of operations has quit.

It said that Mr Chang Cheow Teck is leaving "to pursue personal interests".

Mr Chang took on the role in November 2017 with a remit to assist chief executive Olivia Lum in certain areas.

He oversaw the execution of the TuasOne project and started overseeing the execution of developments in the Middle East and Algeria.

Hyflux had its debt moratorium extended by one more month to May 24 on Thursday after asking the High Court to let it prolong its search for a rescue investor.

 

Although it did not have any firm offers, it said it had signed a non-binding letter of intent with one interested party on Wednesday night over "a possible injection of $400 million to be used for equity and working capital purposes and possible urgent interim funding".

Hyflux declined to name the investor and described it only as a developer and owner of water and power utilities in the Middle East. Ms Lum said Hyflux is also in early discussions with more parties.

A group of seven unsecured banks were granted leave by the High Court on Thursday to file applications for Hyflux and its unit Hydrochem to be placed under judicial management. A hearing on the application is set for May 13.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2019, with the headline 'Maybank demands $509m payment from Hyflux'. Print Edition | Subscribe