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Covid-19: Keppel to give utility rebates, pay SME suppliers more quickly

KEPPEL Corporation will provide about S$3.5 million in utility rebates to Singapore residents living in one and two-room HDB flats, and pay all its small and medium enterprise (SME) suppliers within one week of invoices being approved, the conglomerate said on Thursday.

As part of a S$4.2 million community support package to combat the coronavirus crisis, the rebates will be given by Keppel Electric, M1 and City Gas.

The rebates will be rolled out starting May 1, 2020, and are expected to benefit more than 40,000 households.

Eligibility for the rebates would be based on whether the households are existing customers of Keppel Electric, M1 and City Gas as at March 1, 2020.

With immediate effect, for a period of six months, the group has committed to paying all SME suppliers within one week of invoices being approved, regardless of the credit terms provided by suppliers.

It works with about 3,000 SMEs in Singapore, and this will help to ease their cashflow by improving payment terms, Keppel said.

Other initiatives of the support package include a pledge to donate S$300,000 to The Courage Fund and S$400,000 to support Keppel's frontline contract staff such as cleaners and security personnel.

This follows an earlier S$300,000 donation its philanthropic arm Keppel Care Foundation made to The Courage Fund.

The support package will be funded by voluntary contributions from the Keppel group's directors, senior management and staff, with Keppel matching contributions dollar-for-dollar.

The chief executive officer (CEO) and chief financial officer of Keppel, as well as CEOs of its key business units, have volunteered to give up their salary in April to support this effort.

Directors of its business units will contribute an equivalent amount of their annual fees while other members of the group's senior management will forgo half a month of their salaries.

Other Keppel employees in Singapore can contribute any amount of their choice.

The support package follows an earlier donation of over S$900,000 to support Singapore and international efforts to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.

Keppel shares fell S$0.09 or 1.7 per cent to close at S$5.10 on Wednesday.