Hyflux founder must be ready to accept offers below book value

While Hyflux is in decline, it has yet to find a white knight. This is despite the company being in discussion with four parties on a possible sale of its Tuaspring plant (Hyflux has till Oct 15 to find Tuaspring buyer; July 7).

Hyflux founder Olivia Lum has insisted on getting no less than book value for the loss-making plant. This has meant that no offers have been accepted so far.

Ms Lum must realise that the company has debts of $518.4 million to pay its largest secured lender Maybank and, to survive, she has to accept any offer that can add value to the company and help in its management, so as to start the payment to Maybank.

To allow the company to dissolve is definitely not an option and carrying on with the status quo will worsen the situation. The deadline imposed by Maybank is drawing closer.

In order to save the situation, Ms Lum must swallow her entrepreneurial pride, even if she has to give up her controlling shares.

Credit must be given to the four companies that saw fit to come to the aid of the ailing Tuaspring, and Ms Lum must appreciate this gesture by seriously working out the mechanics and the numbers to save the plant.

Anthony Goh Tee Kow