SGX marshals support for Ezra bondholders

Stung by debacle of previous bond failings Singapore Exchange takes action to help investors.

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) has moved swiftly to provide help to holders of Ezra Holdings’s outstanding SGD 150m ($107m) bonds.

It has asked the company to convene a meeting with note-holders and Ezra is said to have agreed, SGX said in a statement.

Ezra said it would be in contact with the trustee for the noteholders to arrange for the informal meeting to be held as soon as reasonably practicable.

The company said it has also reached out to, and intends to work with, the Securities Investors Association Singapore (SIAS).

SGX said it had also collated the details of 373 investors holding notes custodised with Singapore’s Central Depository (CDP), details of which would be passed to the bond trustee HSBC Institional Trust Services.

SGX said investors whose notes are not held directly via their own CDP accounts, but through nominee accounts should contact the nominee directly.

The outstanding 4.875% Ezra bonds are due for redemption in April 2018, but face a SGD 3.6m coupon payable next month.

Bankers said the SGX’s uncharacteristic support for bondholders comes after several restructurings in the offshore sector exposed a lack of protection and support for individual retail bondholders.

“I think SGX’s active involvement is because it is the first big local company to file for Chapter 11 in the US instead of judicial management in Singapore,” Reuters said quoting an unnamed Singapore-based debt syndicate banker.

“If it was a JM process, it would have been done through the Singapore courts, then SGX would probably be hands-off.”