UTILITIES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Hyflux in talks with potential white knight over $400m investment

The unnamed Middle Eastern entity is an owner of water and power utilities.

Hyflux has unveiled that it is engaging with potential overseas investors including a developer and owner of power utilities from the Middle East which expressed intent over a possible $400m injection into the embattled water firm after its earlier deal with SM Investments (SMI) fell through.

The party, which Hyflux says has a "reputable track record," has also issued a non-binding letter of intent. The possible injection will be used for equity and working capital purposes and possible urgent interim funding, Hyflux said in a statement.  

Also read: Hyflux troubles trickle down as nearly $4b corporate bonds mature by end-2019

A group of unsecured banks comprising Mizuho Bank, Ltd., KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH, Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited, BNP Paribas, CTBC Bank Co., Ltd., The Korea Development Bank and the Korea Development Bank, Singapore Branch have applied to Court for Hyflux and Hydrochem (S) Pte Ltd, to be placed under judicial management and/or interim judicial management as part of the Companies Act.

The move comes after a restructuring agreement between Hyflux and would-be white knight SMI was scrapped in early April, which ended with Hyflux suing SMI and claiming a $38.9m deposit placed into escrow. SMI earlier pledged to invest $530m in exchange for a 60% stake in Hyflux in October 2018 but trouble began brewing in the partnership after SMI said that it could abandon the deal after the Public Utilities Board (PUB) issued a default notice for Tuaspring desalination plant. 

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