Singapore

The catastrophic slump of Singapore’s much-vaunted water and power company, Hyflux Ltd., has stunned 34,000 retail investors who were lured by the promise of a 6 percent annual return forever from a company that seemed to have a gold seal of government approval, Bloomberg News reported. At the heart of the debacle is Tuaspring, a desalination and power plant that cost S$1.1 billion ($809 million) and was heralded as one of the “national taps” for an island that had long depended on importing water and harvesting rainwater for survival.

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Singapore’s troubled water treatment company Hyflux Ltd., formerly celebrated as a hallmark of entrepreneurship in better times, is set for a humbling week, Bloomberg News reported. Creditors are due to file proof by Friday of the obligations that Hyflux owes them, putting the company’s S$2.7 billion ($2 billion) unsecured debt load under an even brighter spotlight. The firm this month unveiled a proposal to impose 75 to 90 percent haircuts on unsecured creditors, following a tumble triggered by an ill-timed expansion into energy in recent years.

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Talk about shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. The looming insolvency of once-mighty commodities trader Noble Group Ltd. is an overdue reckoning for a company that has long sailed close to the wind, a Bloomberg View reported. More than that, though, it’s a black mark against the city-state where it’s been listed since 1997: Singapore. Noble has spent the past year squirming through an attempted restructuring to keep it from bankruptcy, hampered by its money-losing operating business and years of squandered trust.

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Singaporean regulators investigating Noble Group Ltd. have focused their questions so far on the company’s use of mark-to-market accounting, according to people familiar with the matter. The struggling commodity trader was thrown into fresh crisis last week after Singapore announced a three-agency probe into Noble’s accounts just days before a marathon $3.5 billion debt restructuring was due to complete, Bloomberg News reported. On Sunday, Noble said it would delay the deadline for that deal to Dec.

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Noble Group Ltd. extended the deadline for its marathon restructuring until Dec. 11 to address regulators’ concerns, a week after Singaporean authorities began an investigation into the embattled commodity trader’s finances, Bloomberg News reported. The company on Sunday moved the deadline for the $3.5 billion debt restructuring back by two weeks. Noble said that Singapore’s Securities Industry Council extended a key waiver to allow the deadline to be pushed back.

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Singapore authorities are investigating Noble Group Ltd for suspected false and misleading statements, just days before the Singapore-listed company was to complete its $3.5 billion debt restructuring deal to prevent its collapse, Reuters reported. Noble, once Asia’s top commodity trader, has seen its market value all but wiped out from $6 billion in February 2015 after its accounting was questioned by Iceberg Research.

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Hyflux Ltd., the embattled Singapore water-treatment and power company, is in advanced talks with at least two potential investors about taking a strategic equity stake in the group as part of a restructuring plan, Bloomberg News reported. The discussions with these investors are taking place concurrently with efforts to sell its desalination plant known as Tuaspring, its legal adviser WongPartnership LLP said in an update during a case management hearing in court Monday. Hyflux has an Oct. 15 deadline to sell the plant, which is Southeast Asia’s biggest.
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Singapore is giving liquidators of insolvent companies a new tool to retrieve funds for bondholders and other creditors, Bloomberg News reported. Court-appointed managers will now be able to seek funding from investors unrelated to the case to pay the cost of pursuing claims, in exchange for part of the proceeds. That change came under the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act, which was passed by lawmakers on Oct. 1.
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Singapore-listed Noble Group Ltd faces a make-or-break shareholders’ meeting on Monday as investors vote on a $3.5 billion debt restructuring plan that its creditors and board say is vital to prevent insolvency, Reuters reported. The company, once a global commodity trader with ambitions to rival Glencore or Vitol, has shrunk to an Asian-centric business focused on coal and freight trading after it slashed hundreds of jobs and sold prized assets to cut debt.
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A homegrown Singaporean company that owns one of the financial center’s three seawater desalination plants is struggling to stay afloat, a Bloomberg View reported. Whether Hyflux Ltd. sinks or swims will matter to creditors and shareholders. The strategic stakes, though, are far higher. Now that Singapore’s old foe Mahathir Mohamad is back as Malaysia’s prime minister, and once again threatening to renegotiate a 1962 agreement to supply raw water to the city-state, making sure the Hyflux plant is owned until 2038 by a friendly buyer could become an issue of national security.
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