SINGAPORE -- Debt-ridden Singaporean water company Hyflux said late Thursday that it will seek another extension to its debt moratorium, amid growing doubts over a rescue deal with possible white knight Utico FZC.
In an update to the Singapore Exchange, Hyflux said it had filed applications to the Singapore High Court for a two-month extension of its debt moratorium, with the applications to be heard on Sept. 30, when the current debt moratorium is due to expire.
Hyflux said further announcements would be made "as and when there are any further material developments on this matter".
The Singapore High Court has already granted Hyflux five extensions since last year on the company's $2 billion debt.
The last one stipulated that Hyflux had to agree with existing retail and institutional investors on a new debt restructuring plan to be laid out by September 30, after a deal with United Arab Emirates-based utility provider Utico had been finalized.
Utico said in August that it had signed a deal worth S$400 million ($290 million) to acquire 88% of the embattled Singaporean firm. The deal, if realized, would pave the way for the once high-flying Singapore company to restructure its business.
A Utico spokesperson previously told Nikkei Asian Review that Hyflux founder Olivia Lum would remain as chief executive, and that, including perpetual securities and preference (PNP) share payouts, the deal was worth around S$535 million.
Hyflux later issued a statement saying that the deal with Utico was not set in stone, with both sides were in "highly advanced discussions" and would "continue to engage with each other" with a view to resolving outstanding issues and finalizing an agreement.
Founded in 1989, Hyflux's water treatment and desalination technologies are considered essential if Singapore is to achieve water self-sufficiency. The company has also expanded outside the city-state, including in the Middle East. But it has relied heavily on borrowing and made big losses after a foray into power generation in 2016.
Last October, Hyflux reached a rescue deal with a consortium led by Indonesian conglomerate Salim Group, but the arrangement collapsed in April. Hyflux then started negotiations with potential alternative sponsors, including Utico.