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Hyflux on investor losses: “Not our fault, banksters at work”

In Accounting, Banks, Financial competency on 27/02/2019 at 5:08 am

OK, OK, Hyflux never said this. But going by what it has said publicly (See below), one can reasonable infer that this is the message it’s trying to imply: the motor-cycle riding Ms Lum, other investors, employees etc are suffering because Hyflux’s banksters were scared of losing their money, making a run at Hyflux, trying to squeeze money from Hyflux’s hard assets.

Let me explain.

According to Hyflux everything was fine financially in March when it’s auditors chanted everything was halal, not haram.

When KPMG issued an unqualified opinion on the full year results for the Hyflux Group in March 2018, there were no events or conditions that individually or collectively, cast significant doubt on the going concern assumption as at the balance sheet date of 31 December 2017, or at the audit report date of 22 March 2018.


Must be joking, right?

Auditors are supposed to assess continual use of going concern assumptions over the next 12 months as per the Singapore Auditing Standards SSA 570. With the (bankruptcy) protection filing date being two months after KPMG’s sign-off date, what are the material variances which have not been contemplated resulting in this failed assessment?

BT quoting an investor who lost $ in Hyflux

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Then according to Hyflux, everything went wrong when in May, there was a run on Hyflux by its banksters. Because of its bad (and unexpected?) Q12018 results announced on 9 May: “certain financiers expressed concerns over their ability to continue with existing credit exposures to the group.”* They tot halal Hyflux had transmuted into haram Hyflux.

Reminds me of the joke which Hyflux should have quoted:

A Banker Lends You His Umbrella When It’s Sunny and Wants It Back When It Rains

(Often attributed to Mark Twain)

But to be fair to its banks, did Hyflux tell its banks post December 2017 results, that everything was oh so fine financially, so that the 1Q 2018 results came as a big surprise to its lenders?

To be continued.

But I’ll leave you with what a top banking lawyer** once told other lawyers about bankers

Just remember this: if bankers were as smart as you, you would starve to death

(Henry Harfield addressing a meeting of lawyers in 1974)

Remember MayBank (the non-recourse lender) according to Hyflux really believed that Tuaspring was worth more than $1bn.

When Hyflux was first awarded the Tuaspring project in 2011, based on the financial model which modeled the cashflow projections from the project, the power plant was expected to generate profits from day one. This financial model was audited by an external financial model auditor and furnished to the offtaker. In 2013 when Tuaspring was able to secure a non-recourse project financing loan, the lender commissioned an independent market study of the project which arrived at similar conclusions supporting the book value of approximately SGD1.4 billion.

Related post: Hyflux fiasco shows why “book value” is BS

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*This is what Hyflux said:

The operating losses of Tuaspring drove Hyflux to record its first full year of loss in 2017. When losses were also reported in its first quarter 2018 results released on 9 May 2018, certain financiers expressed concerns over their ability to continue with existing credit exposures to the group. This, coupled with the uncertainty of Tuaspring divestment or entry of a strategic investor, raised a significant spectre of an upcoming liquidity crunch. Accordingly, subsequent to discussions with its legal and financial advisors, the Hyflux Board was advised to proactively take steps to make an application for a moratorium order, which is where events stand today. At that point in time, the company was in full compliance with its financial covenants and was not in default of any financing facility.

https://www.hyflux.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Hyflux-responses-to-SIAS-letter.pdf

**From NYT’s obituary

Mr. Harfield spent his entire career at the New York law firm of Shearman & Sterling, where he helped develop the legal and regulatory framework for the international banking business after World War II. He represented the firm’s lead bank client, Citibank.

Many of the issues he worked on were esoteric, but important. He developed the legal basis for negotiable certificates of deposits, creating a legal way for commercial banks to pay interest on deposits. Citibank introduced certificates of deposit as a product in 1961.

 

 

 

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  1. Maybank worked for the Toon? Lol!

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