Singapore’s Hin Leong seeks court-appointed manager to oversee debts

Image from Hin Leong's website

Singapore’s Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd, one of Asia’s top oil traders, has applied for a court-appointed supervisor to manage the company and restructure billions of dollars of debt owed to multiple banks, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

“The company is in the process of applying for judicial management, and at the same time actively looking for strategic partners to raise cash,” said one of the sources with knowledge of the company’s plans.

Under so-called judicial management, a court appoints an independent manager to run the affairs of a financially distressed company in the place of existing management. Such moves are often seen favourably by creditors.

Hin Leong did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Calls to the Singapore High Court were not answered.

The company is also expected to withdraw an application it had made to the Singapore High Court for legal protection for six months from creditors, the two sources said.

Hin Leong owes $3.85 billion to 23 banks, according to a company presentation to lenders on April 14 contained in an affidavit in court filings. The affidavit was reviewed by Reuters but has not been made public.

In the affidavit, Hin Leong‘s founder Lim Oon Kuin, also known as O.K. Lim, said he had directed the firm not to disclose $800 million in losses over several years. The financial difficulties have come to light following the collapse in oil prices and slump in demand as the coronavirus pandemic shut down economic activity.

Hin Leong had appointed accounting firm PwC and law firm Rajah & Tann as advisers for negotiations with lenders to obtain short-term credit, but talks fell through, two sources had said previously.

A spokeswoman for Rajah & Tan declined to comment as the matter is before the court, while PwC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.