Hyflux suitor Utico reaffirms offer, suggests town hall for PnP holders next week

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Utico’s proposed rescue deal for Hyflux remains on the table, and the Emirati firm is suggesting a virtual town hall be held between next Wednesday and Saturday for investors of the water treatment firm’s perpetual securities and preference shares (PnP).

In a press statement on Thursday (Oct 1), the suitor said it would “once again like to reaffirm” its offer for Hyflux, as the beleaguered Singapore company and the Securities Investors Association (Singapore) or Sias were still “non-committal”.

“We remain available for engagement with PnP holders for a virtual town hall between Oct 7 and Oct 10 to ensure they are convinced and approve of our offer,” the Middle Eastern utility added.

Last month, Utico again extended the deadline for Hyflux to accept the rescue package, this time to Oct 15, from Aug 30 previously.

It said on Thursday that the offers from other potential Hyflux investors – Aqua Munda and Pison Investments – appeared to have expired.

The deadline for senior unsecured creditors to offer their debts to Pison was Aug 17, and Pison then had until Sept 25 to accept these offers, The Business Times reported in July. The long-stop date on the deal is Dec 31. Last month, Pison said it had received 158 tender application forms from noteholders and other eligible creditors, but that its efforts to engage with the unsecured working group of seven banks had failed.

Meanwhile, Aqua Munda came into the picture with its debt offer last December, and this February it extended the long-stop date to July 17. It then said in June that it was prepared to make an offer to the PnP holders.

On Wednesday, Utico managing director Richard Menezes also sent a letter to Hyflux, asking the water treatment company to confirm that both Aqua Munda’s and Pison’s offers had expired and were not renewed.

In the letter, which was forwarded to the press, Mr Menezes said Utico’s earlier request for Hyflux to solicit a response from the PnP holders, through Sias, “to understand their amenability for a cash offer (albeit at a reduced level)”, had been based on public announcements to other potential white knights.

“We seek your feedback on the foregoing and do not subscribe to the view that this may lead to misunderstanding or confusion,” he wrote.

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