Sun Cable sale process to start by end-Jan, say administrators

Sun Cable entered voluntary administration on Jan 11 amid disputes among its main investors. PHOTO: SUNCABLE.ENERGY

SINGAPORE – The voluntary administrators of Sun Cable, the company planning a renewable energy power link between Australia and Singapore, held its first meeting of creditors on Friday, just over a week after the firm entered into administration.

In a statement, FTI Consulting said the process to commence the sale of Sun Cable would start before the end of January and could take three months. The meeting sought funds to allow the company to continue in business while its future is being decided.

Sun Cable entered voluntary administration on Jan 11 amid disputes among its main investors, Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest and Sun Cable chairman Mike Cannon-Brookes, over the viability of sending solar power via a 4,200km cable from Australia’s Northern Territory to Singapore.

The project has been in the planning stages for several years and, if completed, would have been the world’s largest solar power and storage project and longest undersea power link.

In a Bloomberg interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, Mr Forrest said he had lost faith in the management and chairman.

He also questioned the technical viability of the project.

He suggested during the interview in Davos that shipping green hydrogen to Singapore might be the more sensible solution, considering the investments announced so far for the development of the low-carbon hydrogen economy in the Republic.

Mr Cannon-Brookes has said he fully supports the management team and the vision of Sun Cable’s Australia-Asia PowerLink to Singapore.

Media reports have said both billionaires are likely to make competing bids for the company.

Mr John Park, leader of corporate finance and restructuring in Australia for FTI Consulting, said there was a strong level of interest in Sun Cable, “demonstrated by the amount of media coverage and commentary made by stakeholders”.

He added: “As administrators, we have looked to preserve the value of Sun Cable and keep all options for the future of the project on the table. We will seek to crystallise the interest expressed in the future of Sun Cable into a firm offer for the benefit of creditors and other stakeholders via the sale process.

“Ultimately, the successful bidder will have the opportunity to take the business forward in line with their vision.”

In 2022, Sun Cable raised A$210 million (S$192 million) from Mr Forrest and Mr Cannon-Brookes for the Australia-Asia PowerLink project, but not all of that funding has been made available as some milestones had not been met.

Sun Cable continues to maintain the full employment of its staff, FTI Consulting told ST on Wednesday.

“No employee in Australia is being laid off at this time, everyone is continuing to be employed and paid,” a spokesman said, adding that no employee at Sun Cable’s subsidiary in Singapore will be laid off at this time.

ST understands there are 12 employees in its Singapore office.

In a statement last week, Sun Cable said it has a portfolio of a further 11GW of proposed projects, which is equivalent to more than three times that of the Australia-Asia PowerLink to Singapore.

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