Midas faces liquidation after failing to find rescuer

Insolvent Midas Holdings is facing liquidation after it failed to lock in a rescue deal from Hong Kong-listed CRRC Corp.

This comes as the Singapore Police Force's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), Monetary Authority of Singapore and Singapore Exchange Regulation said yesterday that their investigations into Midas will continue irrespective of the application to wind up the firm.

The aluminium train components supplier told Singapore Exchange yesterday that it reported an unaudited net liability position of $47.1 million as of the end of last year.

It said that on Sept 26, 2018, court documents indicated that Hong Kong-listed CRRC Corp had been awarded the 12.44 per cent stake that belonged to former executive chairman Chen Wei Ping. If transferred, those shares would make CRRC the single largest investor.

However, "efforts to initiate a discussion with CRRC with a view to rescuing the company were not successful", Midas said.

"In the meantime, many government agencies are pressing Midas to file tax returns, (and) hold (its annual general meeting)," it added.

"In the absence of a rescue and funds dwindling, Midas will be unable to maintain its listing status" in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The company also faces a statutory demand from executive director Xu Wei Dong for unpaid salary.

PROBLEMS

In the absence of a rescue and funds dwindling, Midas will be unable to maintain its listing status (in Singapore and Hong Kong).

MIDAS HOLDINGS, on its plight.

Midas said it "does not have funds to contest this and other legal actions that other creditors may decide to take", so it will be liquidated if ordered to by the court.

Its shares have been suspended since February last year when it discovered financial irregularities. In March last year, its independent directors lodged a report with the CAD.

Midas-guaranteed loans total 1.9 billion yuan (S$383.4 million), with the company disputing 779 million yuan of these.

These guarantees are enforceable on Midas if the related loans remained unpaid after payouts from the sale of pledged assets. As the payouts and asset sales will not occur soon, the final amount due from Midas is unknown - an uncertainty that makes a rescue difficult.

Not included in the guaranteed loans were disputed guarantees provided to individuals based on previously undisclosed loans provided mainly by Mr Chen without authorisation from the board of directors.

A number of Midas subsidiaries are under judicial managers who are attempting to sell off assets to reduce debt or find willing buyers.

This is not proving successful. For example, judicial manager Qiming said it will sell all of the assets of Jilin Midas Aluminium Industries for 1.8 billion yuan, about 13 per cent of the amount owed to 321 creditors. Qiming also declared that Jilin Midas Investment, a 51 per cent subsidiary of the unit, has no assets and is "worth zero".

And the judicial manager of Jilin Midas Light Alloy has proposed to liquidate assets after it could not find interested buyers. Liquidation proceeds are not expected to exceed the amount owed to creditors.

There are also problems in a Midas associate company, CRRC Nanjing Puzhen Rail Transport.

Midas' 32.5 per cent share in this entity was pledged to note holders of a medium-term note programme.

The notes have a principal value of US$60 million (S$81.2 million) and their related coupons are due.

Midas said the pledge was not properly approved by its board and it is contesting it in Hong Kong.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2019, with the headline 'Midas faces liquidation after failing to find rescuer'. Print Edition | Subscribe