Singapore

Beleaguered water treatment firm Hyflux has come under judicial management (JM) after a High Court ruling yesterday, following a marathon debt restructuring effort that has yet to put money on the table for creditors, The Straits Times reported. Mr Hamish Alexander Christie and Mr Patrick Bance of Borrelli Walsh, the restructuring firm advising the unsecured working group (UWG) of 19 banks that hold more than $931 million of Hyflux debt - were appointed the judicial managers and took over the firm's operations yesterday.

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Recent debt restructuring cases underscore Singapore's position as a regional insolvency hub, with the latest being a note holders' go-ahead last week for a Jakarta-based conglomerate's scheme to restructure US$231 million (S$311 million) of secured notes due next year, The Straits Times reported. The note holders, who are a class of creditors of PT MNC Investama holding at least 75 per cent value of the claims, voted last Thursday (Nov 5) in favour of the "pre-packaged" scheme of arrangement.

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Two debt restructuring schemes have been introduced to help distressed small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore, providing support to those facing challenges amid the Covid-19 crisis, The Straits Times reported. The Sole Proprietors and Partnerships Scheme and the Extended Support Scheme - Customised allow SMEs to restructure their credit facilities and debts owed to multiple creditors.

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The court-appointed manager for Ocean Tankers Pte Ltd has applied to the Singapore court to return most of the ships the company manages to the shipowners, as cash is running low and Ocean Tankers will not be able to maintain the fleet, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, Reuters reported. If successful, the move will allow Ocean Tankers, the chartering arm of embattled oil trader Hin Leong Pte Ltd, to resume its cash-generating business such as its oil lubricants business, for which a sales process is underway, the sources said.

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Singapore’s efforts to promote itself as a global restructuring hub have been hit by a court’s decision to grant a distressed water company an unprecedented string of extensions as it battles to avoid liquidation, the Financial Times reported. A court in the city-state said on Friday that the next hearing in the case of Hyflux would take place on November 16 following a decision on Wednesday to grant the water management group a 12th adjournment. The Singaporean company has become saddled with S$2.7bn ($2bn) in unsecured debt after years of soaring growth came to a halt.

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Businesses across Singapore have been left scrambling to process payments for everything from hotel stays to telephone bills after the city-state’s regulator shut down the payment services of fraudulent German group Wirecard, the Financial Times reported. Cafés, restaurants, hotels and mobile network providers were left with no payment processing systems after the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the de facto central bank, late last month ordered Wirecard to cease payment services in the city-state. Some banks in Singapore had advised their clients to consider switching payment proce

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Micro and small companies that require support to restructure their debts or wind up their businesses may soon be able to do so in a quicker and lower-cost manner, The Straits Times reoprted. A Simplified Insolvency Programme, which would provide such support to companies, is part of the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution (Amendment) Bill that was introduced in Parliament on Monday (Oct 5). Singapore's current insolvency laws generally provide processes for companies with substantial assets, which may not be well-suited for distressed smaller companies.

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Singapore said on Monday it would extend relief programmes on mortgages and loans for individuals and small firms into next year because of the prolonged impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported. The programmes, which include deferrals on mortgage payments and lower interest rates on loans, were introduced in April and were set to expire on Dec. 31. “Many individuals and businesses will continue to experience cashflow pressures into early 2021,” the Monetary Authority of Singapore and associations representing the city-state’s financial industry said in a statement.

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Singapore’s central bank on Wednesday directed embattled German payments firm Wirecard to cease providing services in the city state and return all customers’ funds, Reuters reported. Wirecard, which primarily processes payments for merchants and helps companies to issue pre-paid cards in Singapore, filed for insolvency in June after a 1.9 billion euro (1.8 billion pounds) hole was discovered in its books. Singapore police are among a number of global authorities investigating Germany’s biggest post-war corporate fraud.

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