November 23, 2018 / 9:10 AM / 9 months ago

Brightoil Singapore sued by creditors amid holding company's debt restructuring

* Singapore unit faces two lawsuits and a winding up order

* Entire bunker fleet in Singapore arrested

* Lawsuits include one by Qatar National Bank

By Florence Tan and Jessica Jaganathan

SINGAPORE, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Creditors of the Singapore unit of Hong Kong-listed Brightoil Petroleum Holdings have filed two lawsuits and an order to liquidate the company in the city-state’s High Court, court documents requested by Reuters showed on Friday.

This comes as Brightoil Petroleum Holdings tries to restructure its debt, which it announced to the Hong Kong Exchange this week. The listed entity also suspended trading in its shares in October last year after delaying the release of its 2017 annual financial results.

The Singapore unit of Vietnam’s top fuel importer Petrolimex filed an application for a winding up order for Brightoil Singapore, ranked as the country’s 17th largest marine fuel supplier last year, after Brightoil failed to meet deadlines to repay more than $30 million in outstanding debt, according to a court hearing on Friday.

Brightoil had a settlement agreement in July to repay the debt to Petrolimex in four installments.

Under Singaporean law, shareholders or creditors can apply to wind up a company with the goal of collecting and selling assets in order to pay outstanding debt, expenses or costs.

The case was first heard in Singapore’s High Court on Friday. Petrolimex was represented by Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP while Drew & Napier acted on behalf of Brightoil.

The hearing has been adjourned to Dec. 14 to provide the holding company of Brightoil more time to work on its debt restructuring efforts, according to the court hearing.

Separately, Brightoil’s entire fleet of ship-refueling vessels, known as bunker barges, was arrested in Singapore, according to the Singapore High Court’s website.

Singapore authorities on Wednesday arrested six bunker barges following a request filed by Rajah & Tann, the website showed.

The arrested barges matched the names of all six bunker barges Brightoil listed on its website as owned by the company.

It was not immediately clear if this was related to the Petrolimex case.

In a separate case to be heard on Nov. 28, Qatar National Bank has made a claim against Brightoil Singapore and its holding company for $21.59 million, court documents showed.

QNB paid four letters of credit on behalf of Brightoil between March and May. QNB also provided short-term advances to Brightoil which were due in June and July.

Hong Kong-based Sea Trader International is also suing Brightoil’s Singapore subsidiary for nearly $1 million for the sale of goods, court documents showed.

A Brightoil spokesman declined to comment on the cases since the company is the process of the debt restructuring. (Reporting by Florence Tan and Jessica Jaganathan; additional reporting by Roslan Khasawaneh; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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