Utico meets SIAS and PUB on Hyflux deal

Utico meets SIAS and PUB on Hyflux deal
Richard Menezes MD Utico interview and cover shoot at The Address Montegomery 200519 Richard Menezes _UME
Published: 27 May 2019 - 5:51 a.m.
By: Baset Asaba

Hyflux white knight investor Utico met with Securities and Investors Association Singapore (SIAS) CEO Mr. David Gerald, following the United Arab Emirates-based company’s offer to hold a town hall for PNP investors, and reiterated its commitment to work for a win-win resolution as an ethical investor.

The meeting which took place last week was attended by Utico’s advisors, White & Case, Emirates NBD Capital (ENBDC) as well as Hyflux advisor, Nicky Tan, Mr. Manoj of Wong & Partners, representatives of Drew & Napier., PWC, and several others.

During the meeting, Mr. Richard Menezes, MD of Utico conveyed that Utico wants a deal that builds goodwill with all stakeholders. This is a requirement of the company’s shareholders and part of Utico’s ethos, he said, further stating that Utico had not caused this situation for PNP and other creditors, and the company was merely working towards investing in Hyflux as a going concern and not as a bankrupt organization.

This can be possible only by retaining the goodwill of all stakeholders, he said.

During the meeting, Utico offered part cash redemption and also a hope for full redemption with a plan and exit option.

“Full details can only be revealed later, but as part of the overall deal, small investors of up to S$2,000 to 3,000 could get 50% cash redemption along with full redemption opportunity while the rest of the investors could get a similar but staggered and cascade deal,” Mr. Richard said.

He said in all cases all investors will have an opportunity to get their money back as a plan if they support the deal, adding that this was offered to PNP and not to senior creditors who are taking a haircut, since they took an active business risk with ringside view, whereas PNP investors took a passive blind faith risk.

He pointed out that neither coupon nor principal was guaranteed in the offer prospectus and while trading at SGX, and morally there remains some responsibility from Hyflux for the PNP predicament.

He stated that if Utico gets PNP support for the deal, it could consider listing in Singapore as well and put some skin into the game too in that market. Utico brings a lot of goodwill and GCC market potential as a key player in the largest water market in the world today.

Utico also met with Public Utilities Board Singapore (PUB) CEO, Mr. N.J. Hee and his team and briefed them about Utico’s intention to acquire Hyflux and to help rebuild Hyflux as a key contributor to Singapore economy in the water sector.

Both discussed topics of mutual interest including future co-operation by Utico in investing into a Singapore company. Mr. Hee stated that all investors are welcome in Singapore. Singapore does not discriminate but looks plainly at the value proposition offered by any company, Mr. Hee further stated.

He also noted that Hyflux has delivered good projects for Singapore and if its business side issues could be resolved, it could bounce back as key player once again.

Mr. Richard during the meeting with Hyflux Board of Directors, management and advisors, stated that a town hall will be planned with SIAS and their agents arranging it. He also stated that this was predicated to Hyflux signing a binding agreement and subject to the court granting a moratorium to complete a desirable restructuring in time.

The court hearing is scheduled for a hearing on 29th May.

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