Retail investor offers counter proposal

Madam Loo Leong Hun was 55 years old when she was given a list of corporate bonds in June 2012 by a DBS relationship manager to invest in as she had savings in her POSB account.

"Hyflux preference shares was on the list, and it was strongly recommended as it was a strategic and national asset. The money was to facilitate expansion and build desalination plants. I thought I had invested in a good company... which was our nation's pride," Madam Loo, now 62, told the High Court yesterday.

One of some 34,000 registered holders of Hyflux perpetual securities and preference shares, Madam Loo was allowed yesterday by Justice Aedit Abdullah to voice her concerns, which he said are "shared by many of you".

But Justice Aedit added that he "may not be able to meet all of Madam Loo's concerns (yesterday) afternoon" as court proceedings were geared towards whether a scheme meeting should be called.

On the proposed plan, Madam Loo said that many individual investors, including herself, will be "ruthlessly eliminated from the balance sheet with very little money or equity returned to them".

Madam Loo proposed "a minimum or waived coupon" payment on her securities but for her initial investment or principal to be kept on Hyflux's books, The Straits Times understands.

She cited the case of another elderly investor who had invested in 2,500 preference shares. "She is 86, lives alone in a one-room flat and... has mobility problems. She used Hyflux dividends to pay off some of her daily expenses. Now, she has no more earning power,"she said.

 

Asking for her proposal to be accepted, she said it is "a glimmer of hope" to recover her savings.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2019, with the headline 'Retail investor offers counter proposal'. Print Edition | Subscribe