SGX pulls up Swiber Holdings over $710 mln project linked to bond defaults
A view of Swiber's shipyard in Singapore July 10, 2013. Picture taken July 10, 2013. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The Singapore Exchange SGX has served notice to oil and gas company Swiber Holdings to explain disclosure breaches relating to a US$710 million project it initiated in December 2014.

SGX said Swiber leadership did not give enough information to shareholders and bondholders about project's impact. It said the $710 million value was an estimate, while shareholders were not told the final contract value would depend on the completion of an engineering design study, which never materialised in a sliding market.

By the time the Swiber announced the deferment of the west Africa project, and filed for liquidation, the company was already struggling to meet several bond deadlines.

Swiber became the largest casualty of the slump in oil prices in Singapore as it filed for liquidation in July citing hundreds of millions in debt and a decline in orders.

The liquidation filing came after a nearly 90 percent plunge in share prices from mid-2014 levels that reduced the oil and gas firm's market value to just S$50 million. The trading in Swiber's stock has been suspended since then.

However, Swiber reversed the application for winding up and requested for placing itself under judicial management.

Swiber had five bonds with a combined value of S$551 million that mature in 2016, 2017 and 2018 when it filed for liquidation, Reuters reported. The troubled company's total debt was a little over $1 billion as of March 31. The company's order book had thinned to $1.2 billion, down from $1.8 billion a year ago.

The SGX had then said Swiber would be investigated for any possible breaches of regulatory rules that led to the meltdown.

In the latest development, the regulators have said Swiber failed to "to provide a balanced and fair announcement" for the $710 million project.

"SGX is of the view that the announcement failed to provide investors, including shareholders and bondholders, with sufficient information to enable them to have a proper understanding of the impact of a major project award on the group," the exchange said.