Photo of TuasSpring power plant from Hyflux's website

Singapore’s national water agency Public Utilities Board (PUB) has rejected Emirati utilities group Utico’s request to delay the statutory body’s takeover of beleaguered water treatment firm Hyflux’s Tuaspring desalination plant due tomorrow (18 May).

PUB told The Straits Times that it will stand by “all the announcements that have already been made about PUB taking over the Tuaspring Desalination Plant”.

“The Water Purchase Agreement will be terminated on May 17, and PUB will take over the plant on May 18.”

Utico chief executive Richard Menezes said in a press release on Thu (16 May) that the a delay in PUB’s takeover of the plant “will allow for Utico and Hyflux to enter into a transaction that would provide for remedial and rectification action of the plant to PUB’s satisfaction and goodwill”.

“This will build confidence and the reputation of Hyflux, which is a company that these investors believed in,” he added.

“We are prepared to work with Hyflux to ensure it performs without compromising any security aspects and ensure that this asset provides a return as well, with PUB support,” said Mr Menezes.

Additionally, he stated that Utico has plans to hold discussions with Hyflux’s retail perpetual and preference shareholders, who stand to lose a total of S$900 million worth of investments into the water treatment firm, and are now seeking recourse over their unsuccessful investments.

Utico is one of Hyflux’s three known potential white knight investors at this time, as the firm has also received non-binding letters of intent from international multi-strategy investment fund Oyster Bay Fund and an unnamed global water desalination company.

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