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Hyflux hopes to attain binding bids for Tuaspring by mid-October

MAYBANK, Hyflux's largest secured lender, has agreed to give the water project developer until Oct 15 to find a buyer for the Tuaspring integrated water and power plant and ink a binding purchase agreement.

Hyflux also has to get Maybank and the Public Utilities Board to approve the divestment by Dec 11. It must then obtain shareholders' approval for the sale by Feb 4, 2019.

As long as Hyflux meets these deadlines, Maybank will refrain from commencing enforcement proceedings against Tuaspring or its assets, Hyflux said in a filing to the Singapore Exchange on Friday.

Maybank also intends to be more actively involved in the Tuaspring plant divestment process. The bank will appoint valuers to conduct a valuation of the Tuaspring plant, it said.

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Tuaspring, the holding company, will also appoint a monitoring accountant and special accountant to monitor its cash flow and to review the divestment process. It will share its reports with Maybank. 

A Singapore court had been scheduled to hear Tuaspring's application for a debt moratorium on Friday, but this was cancelled and the application withdrawn in consideration of the forbearance on Maybank's part, Hyflux said.

Tuaspring, a Hyflux subsidiary, has a total bank debt of S$518.4 million owed to Maybank under a project financing loan, secured by the Tuaspring integrated water and power project.

To fix its cash crunch, Hyflux has been trying to divest Tuaspring since February 2017. However, Hyflux founder Olivia Lum's insistence on getting no less than book value for Tuaspring has meant that so far, no offers have been accepted.

Tuaspring has a book value of S$1.3 billion. It remains to be seen how the divergence between book value and market value will be resolved.