SINGAPORE – A unit of Indian conglomerate Hinduja group is buying several assets from bankrupt Hin Leong Trading’s shipping arm Ocean Tankers for an undisclosed sum.
The assets, including a lubricant blending plant with wharf access, a storage tank farm and a terminal facility in Tuas, will continue to operate as going concerns, the firm said on Tuesday (Dec 8), noting that the deal is subject to closing conditions.
Along with Hin Leong, which was founded by oil tycoon Lim Oon Kuin, Ocean Tankers came under full judicial management in August due in part to its exposure to potential claims of US$2.67 billion allegedly stemming from its dealings with the oil trader.
Both companies had initially sought a six-month moratorium on debts of more than US$3.6 billion owed to 23 banks. Ernst & Young (EY), the judicial manager of Ocean Tankers, is suing OK Lim, his son and daughter over US$19 million allegedly transferred from the firm’s bank account to their personal accounts just days before the company filed for the debt moratorium.
EY declined on Wednesday to comment on the asset sale to the Hinduja unit, Gulf Oil International.
Gulf Oil chief executive Mike Jones said: “This facility provides a strategic opportunity for Gulf to invest further in the marine segment and grow its market share in marine lubricants and other services.”
He added that the deal will also provide a regional hub to accelerate its plans in South-east Asia’s automotive sector.
“In addition, we will continue to support and grow the existing customer base of Ocean Tankers,” Mr Jones added.
OK Lim has been hit with two counts of abetment of forgery for the purpose of cheating relating to a fake China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corporation (CAO) cargo sale.
The fake CAO cargo sale is the subject of a lawsuit brought by HSBC Holdings against the Lim family and an employee of Hin Leong to recover US$85.3 million of US$111.7 million that they allegedly obtained with bogus invoices and forged documents.