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Photo of TuasSpring power plant from Hyflux's website

Hyflux saga: Maybank to take over Tuaspring power plant, PUB to take over Tuaspring water desalination plant

Debt-ridden water treatment firm Hyflux will no longer be in charge of its Tuaspring power plant starting this week as Maybank, the company’s largest secured creditor, has appointed receivers and managers from insolvency firm Ferrier Hodgson to seize control of the plant.

The Straits Times also reported that the Public Utilities Board, Singapore’s national water agency, will takeover the Tuaspring water desalination plant as well as its shared infrastructure starting this Sat (18 May), just a day after the termination of the Water Purchase Agreement with Hyflux.

In a Singapore Exchange filing on Tue (14 May), Hyflux also explained that the draft term sheet it has received from Emirati utilities group Utico is to be regarded as binding, as stated by Utico’s advisers.

“To avoid doubt, the company has not accepted or entered into the binding term sheet. (Its) advisers are in active discussions with Utico’s advisers to finalise the proposed terms of Utico’s investment,” said Hyflux.

A previous report by Reuters indicated that following its non-binding letter of intent to Hyflux at the end of last month, Emirati utilities group Utico has made a binding offer to invest S$400mil to the company.

Utico’s chief executive officer Richard Menezes was quoted by Reuters as saying last Sun (12 May) that Utico will provide Hyflux with working capital and any urgent interim funding as a part of the binding offer, and that it would negotiate the matter with Singapore’s national water agency Public Utilities Board and Hyflux’s retail investors.

“We submitted the binding term sheet last week. We are looking for the right deal that provides all stakeholders a satisfactory position in the company,” he added.

Last Fri (10 May), Hyflux received a non-binding letter of intent from international multi-strategy investment fund Oyster Bay Fund in a race to secure a new white knight investor before the end of its extended debt moratorium at the end of this month, after its termination of a S$380mil bailout deal with Indonesian conglomerate Salim-Medco Group – via its Singapore arm SM Investments last month.

The Business Times reported Hyflux as saying on Fri (10 May) that the fund has expressed its intention to buy preference and ordinary shares in HyfluxShop Holdings, Hyflux’s consumer water business and partially-owned subsidiary, from the company for up to S$26mil.

Hyflux told BT that it “envisions” almost S$500mil worth of investment from Oyster Bay Fund “subject to regulatory clearance, due diligence and the execution of a definitive agreement”.

“The letter of intent (from Oyster Bay Fund) is stated to automatically terminate if a judicial manager or liquidator is appointed over the company,” added Hyflux.