Thursday, February 14, 2019

Why Did So Many Singaporeans Invest in Hyflux - The Positive Image Illusion

Disclaimer: I am not an investment advisor. Heck, i am not even working in the financial industry. Below are my interpretation and i am grateful if you will let me know if anything i say is wrong and i will correct it in a reasonable time. I am not an expert and don't wish to be assumed to be one. I make losses frequently.

The Genesis of the Positive Perception of Hyflux

1) Olivia nominated as member of the Corporate Governance Council of Singapore - playing an advisory role to MAS, ACRA and SGX

From MAS Website, published in 2010

2) Invited by the Consulate-General Of the Republic of Singapore for a talk as a Distinguished Business Leader- mentioned as "arguably Singapore's most celebrated female businesswoman

3) A poster child for Enterprise Singapore, which is a combination of two government agencies -  International Enterprise Singapore and Spring Singapore 

4) Poster child for the Overseas Singaporean Unit - a unit of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth 

5) A statement by the PMO office 

6) Hyflux featured in EDB ( Economic Development Board of Singapore) whose growth mirrors Singapore's water story

7) Participating in many National Day Parades

8) NEWater - A Singapore Success Story by PUB

First NEWater Plant installed by Hyflux

9) Collaboration with one of the leadings universities of Singapore - NTU

10) Believing in the Singapore Water Story

" Every other policy has to bend at the knees for our water survival. Water is a precious resource; without it you die. You can live without energy....But without water you dehydrate and die."
Quote from Lee Kuan Yew 

My Thoughts

It is a fact that many Merdeka and Pioneer Generations invested into Hyflux. These generations are the ones who saw through most of the ups and downs of Singapore development, from a swampy, forested area into the modern city we have now.  They are the ones who faced the Konfrontasi with Malaysia and Indonesia, the ones who experienced first hand the separation of Singapore from Malaysia, the ones who experienced the racial riots and the ones who lived through the period where  Singapore was threatened with water.

It is a fact that many of them can't read english and many are chinese educated. They didn't have much schooling like what the current generation is enjoying now. They grew up, believing in the Singapore story, believing in the vital importance of water to the very survival of Singapore. Without Water, there will be no Singapore. 

It is utterly inconceivable to me that some people choose to label them as "greedy" investors and they deserve it for taking that risk. Many of them didn't buy shares. They bought the preference shares and the perpetual securities which came with a step-up date which many of them thought it refered to the redemption date, like the bond. They invested not so much on intellect but more on the emotional connection they have with the Singapore Story which they grew up with, and the trust in what they saw with their eyes. They believed in Olivia Lum, the one who was protrayed as one of the Heros of the Singapore Water Story, the one who built a Singapore company that we can be so proud of, the one who appeared so many times alongside the progress of the nation.

Further reading
1) Considerations about Hyflux
2) The fate of Hyflux
3)Will Hyflux recover? The billion dollar question
4) Hyflux-Treatmeat of perpetual share holders- Ezion
5) Hyflux - loans and borrowings - Pacific Radiance
6)A happy ending for retail perpertual securities holders - Tiger Air and Hyflux
7) The Very Curious Case of Sharebuybacks- Hyflux
8)What did the founder/Chairwoman/CEO do to help hyflux throughout the years
9) Moving forwards at the Townhall meetings with Hyflux - Part 1
10) Moving forward at the Townhall meeting with Hyflux - Part 2
11)The Lucky Accredited Investors of Hyflux's Perpetual Securities - Part 3
12) The Peculiar Case of HyfluxShop - Question 12 
13)Uncovering the Real Motivations Behind the HyfluxShop 
14) High Level Staff Movement Indication of Red Flags -Hyflux
15)An industry comparison of Hyflux compared with its peers - Question 15
16)What other Water Companies did that Hyflux didn't - Question 16
17)Why a debt to equity option for retail investors is not right
18) Consolidated Questions For Hyflux Townhall Meeting on 19 and 20 July 2018 - Hyflux
19)Consolidated Questions For Hyflux Townhall Meeting on 19 and 20 July 2018 - Hyflux- continued
20)Informal Steering Committee for the Reorganisation Process - Hyflux
21) What happened to other Debt Restructuring Exercises - Ausgroup
22)What happened to other Debt Restructuring Exercises - Nam Cheong
23) My layman views of the so-called " White Knights of Hyflux"
24) The Unsecured Working Group (UWG) are against the retail investors - Hyflux
25)Where to find money to pay back retail investors? 
26)What happened at Hyflux's Second Townhall Meeting
27) Another bomb to the retail investors of Hyflux
28)The Underrated Importance of Regulatory Risk - Hyflux
29)The Overlooked Importance of Another Regulatory Risk - Hyflux

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