Utico to hold town halls for Hyflux investors on Jan 20, says may walk away if rescue deal is rejected

Hyflux signed a $400 million rescue deal with United Arab Emirates utility Utico in November 2019 which needs to be approved by its creditors.
Hyflux signed a $400 million rescue deal with United Arab Emirates utility Utico in November 2019 which needs to be approved by its creditors.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Middle Eastern utility firm Utico has confirmed that the town halls for investors holding Hyflux's medium-term notes and perpetual securities and preference shares (PnP) will be held on Jan 20.

The town hall for medium-term noteholders will be held at Sheraton Towers at 12pm, and at Suntec Convention Centre for PnP holders in the evening.

Securities Investors Association Singapore (Sias) has already arranged the events and notified all registered investors, Utico said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 16).

Utico chief executive Richard Menezes said the group was the "only white knight that has tried hard to think for these investors (MTN and PnP investors) other than creditors too" and that this stand has been consistent from its entry as a white knight.

"Having said that, I would like to remind that Utico did not cause this situation. The noteholders invested in unsecured, unguaranteed securities for use in Hyflux's business," he said.

Utico is "willing to walk away" if noteholders or PnP investors vote against the deal, Mr Menezes said. He believes the town halls will help them make an informed decision.

Hyflux sought court protection for debt restructuring in May 2018 and signed a $400 million rescue deal with United Arab Emirates utility Utico in November 2019 which needs to be approved by its creditors.

In the same statement on Thursday, Utico also noted that it has "nothing to do with" potential investor Aqua Munda.

Aqua Munda is a Singapore-registered firm that entered the picture last month with an offer to buy over some of Hyflux's creditors' debts.

 
 
 
 

It invited Hyflux's medium-term noteholders and senior unsecured creditors to tender their debts for purchase at a minimum 85 per cent discount. The invitation expires at 5pm on Jan 23, 2020.

Sias has called on Aqua Munda, in the interest of transparency, to disclose its funding and the entities related to Aqua Munda and its intention with respect to restructuring process as soon as possible.

Hyflux owes $900 million in PnP principal value to about 34,000 retail investors. Also outstanding are the company's $100 million, 4.25 per cent notes due in 2018; the $65 million, 4.6 per cent notes due in 2019; and the $100 million, 4.2 per cent notes due in 2019.