Image source: Flickr/ aquilaa1

Earlier on 13 August, debt-laden water treatment firm Hyflux announced that the unsecured working group (UWG) of bank lenders has sought to place the firm under judicial management.

It noted that the High Court has extended the deadline of the application to 12 August, from its initial deadline on 7 August.

The group – comprised of Mizuho, Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, CTBC Bank, KfW, Korea Development Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank – was granted to carve out of Hyflux’s debt moratorium by the High Court last month after it argued that Hyflux’s management is no longer reliable to lead any restructuring effort.

Following that, Hyflux has until 5pm on 30 August to accept the Middle Eastern utility firm Utico’s proposed rescue package, which the offer will remain open for acceptance whether or not Hyflux is going to be placed under judicial management order.

Utico had earlier on urged the Securities Investors Association (SIAS) to endorse its proposed S$485 million cash-and-stock rescue package, adding that its offer could “save” Hyflux from judicial management and provide the highest possible recovery for the retail investors holding Hyflux’s perpetual securities and preference shares (P&P).

However, SIAS clarified on 29 July that it does not plan to endorse any of the rescue offers given to Hyflux by potential white knights, including Utico.

Meanwhile, an affidavit has been filed in the Court on 7 August which alledging Borelli Walsh – the adviser for Hyflux’s unsecured working group (UWG) of lenders – of offering Utico a half-price deal in May to sell the business and assets for less than S$200 million.

The Business Times’ report – which was published on 8 August – highlighted that the half-price deal was made through a sale by a judicial manager.

Though the affidavit may not affect Hyflux’s pending deal with Utico, Borelli Walsh denied there was ever a side-offer being made. The managing director of the restructuring, insolvency and forensic accounting firm, Cosimo Borelli has also refused to comment on the matter.

“We are not in a position to make any comment. We would be responding to the matter in Court when the time comes, and we will be denying that allegation,” he told the Business Times in a phone call.

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