Photo of Ho Ching from Temasek Holdings

The Prime Minister’s wife done it again, potentially losing undisclosed millions of CPF money with one of it’s holdings Hyflux in a massive S$3 billion debt.

The PAP-linked crony company, whose CEO Olivia Lum is a personal friend of Ho Ching, has won for a court protection order from the Singapore High Court to delay it’s bankruptcy by a further 6 months. Hyflux has been seeing negative cash flow since 2009, and in recent years aggressively selling private equity bonds that led to it’s demise today. With a debt at 32 times it’s earnings before tax, Hyflux is now scrambling to pull out from projects in the Middle East – naturally, with losses for early termination.

Approving Hyflux’s 6-month reprieve is the Singapore High Court, which based it’s protection order on Hyflux’s defence claiming that it is negotiating funding of S$200 million from seven unknown financiers. Hyflux CEO Olivia Lum made her statement in court yesterday (Jun 21):

“If successfully secured, the S$200 million will be used to see through ongoing projects, such as the TuasOne waste-to-energy plant and an independent water project in Qurayyat, a small fishing village in Saudi Arabia. The sum will also help the group secure new projects for the future. I am confident that the completion of these projects will open up more business opportunities for Hyflux in the future.”

In 2003, Temasek Holdings held a 4.76% shares in Hyflux and then downsized its holdings to 0.89% in 2005. The amount of holdings by Temasek Holdings is undisclosed.

Temasek Holdings have in recent years taken headlines for massive losses in overseas investments unreported in the local state media. In the ComfortDelgro-Uber deal, Temasek Holdings’ subsidiary DBS was a key casualty in the S$642 million loss. A subsidiary in China declared bankruptcy, losing S$61 million in April.

Last month, Ho Ching announced that she is issuing bonds to borrow money from the public, triggering fears in the undisclosed losses in CPF funds. The company is said to have S$266 billion in 2015, but there is no publicly-available information over the amount it is managing. The Singapore government defended the secrecy claiming that the information would be manipulated by currency traders, when other sovereign wealth fund companies are openly subjected to public scrutiny.

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