Hyflux clarifies 'no conclusive numbers or percentages' for small investors discussed with Utico

Hyflux made the clarifications on the eve of a pivotal High Court hearing on whether it will get further reprieve from creditors.
Hyflux made the clarifications on the eve of a pivotal High Court hearing on whether it will get further reprieve from creditors.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Debt-ridden water treatment firm Hyflux has clarified that a meeting with Utico last week "entailed no conclusive numbers or percentages" and reiterated there is still no binding agreement, following the potential investor's overtures to Hyflux's beleaguered junior creditors on Sunday (May 26).

Hyflux made these clarifications on Tuesday, the eve of a pivotal High Court hearing on Wednesday on whether it will get further reprieve from creditors.

The United Arab Emirates utility on Sunday had offered some 34,000 retail perpetual securities and preference (PNP) shareholders "part cash redemption and also a hope for full redemption with a plan and exit option". The shareholders are trying to recover around $900 million they had invested in Hyflux.

"Full details can only be revealed later, but... small investors of up to $2,000 to $3,000 could get 50 per cent cash redemption along with full redemption opportunity, while the rest of the investors could get a similar, but staggered and cascade deal," Utico chief executive Richard Menezes said.

But Hyflux, in a statement to the Singapore Exchange around noon on Tuesday, clarified that the discussion at last week's meeting was "focused on high-level views which entailed no conclusive numbers or percentages, or indeed any binding agreement, whether in respect of the PNPs or any other stakeholder groups".

The company and its advisers understand that Utico's statements are "exploratory in nature and are approaches currently contemplated by Utico".

Hyflux said it is still in talks with other potential investors including Utico.

 
 

It reiterated that it has not accepted or entered into the term sheet it received on May 6 from the advisers to Utico.

Mr Menezes said on Sunday that a town hall meeting for PNP shareholders will be planned with Securities Investors Association Singapore (Sias).

But he added that this meeting is "predicated on Hyflux signing a binding agreement, and subject to the High Court granting a moratorium to complete a desirable restructuring in time".