Hyflux is an interesting case. In FY2016, it reported a net profit attributable to owners of $4.8M but a loss per ordinary share of 7.51 cents. Its net asset value correspondingly dropped from $0.56 in Dec 2015 to $0.45 in Dec 2016. The main reason? There are a few different types of owners of the company. Besides the ordinary shareholders, there are preference shareholders and perpetual capital securities (perps) holders. The net profit attributable to owners of $4.8M has to be shared among these different types of owners. Both preference shareholders and perps holders have prior claims over ordinary shareholders. In total, they were paid $63.8M in preference dividends and distributions in FY2016. Thus, ordinary shareholders ended up with a loss of $59.0M after accounting for the preference dividends and distributions instead of the reported $4.8M. Divided over 785.3M ordinary shares, the loss per ordinary share was 7.51 cents.
In order to make money for its ordinary shareholders, it has to make a net profit attributable to owners that is more than sufficient to cover the preference dividends and distributions payable to preference shareholders and perps holders. In FY2016, this amount was $63.8M. In the last 12 months, Hyflux has begun to redeem some of its perps. In July 2016, Hyflux redeemed $175M perps bearing interest of 4.80%. In Jan 2017, it also redeemed $295M worth of perps bearing interest of 5.75%. The remaining perps left are $500M bearing interest of 6.00%. In addition, there are outstanding preference shares of $400M bearing a dividend rate of 6.00%. These preference shares are callable on 25 Apr 2018, failing which the dividend rate will step up to 8.00%. Thus, Hyflux needs to make a net profit attributable to owners of between $54.0M and $62.0M every year, before ordinary shareholders get to enjoy the profits.
Since Hyflux made less money than is sufficient to cover the preference dividends and distributions of its preference shares and perps in FY2016, the money has to be drawn from its retained earnings. Its retained earnings thus dropped from $284.2M in Dec 2015 to $210.3M in Dec 2016. In 2H2017, the figure dropped further to $146.9M after reporting a loss attributable to owners of $24.3M. Preference shareholders and ordinary shareholders have to watch this figure very carefully. If the retained earnings drop to zero, there will be no more reserves to pay dividends, including the 6% preference share dividend.
Thus, at this point in time, Hyflux is not making any money for its ordinary shareholders.
See related blog posts: