The Singapore oil trader Hin Leong and its shipping arm Ocean Tankers both filed with the Singapore High Court on Friday seeking six months bankruptcy protection from creditors on debts of $3.85m with 23 banks, according to a report by Reuters.
The filing cited the collapse in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic, which hit oil demand and pushed up costs for the trading company.
The group’s interests also include Singapore’s third largest bunkering company - Ocean Bunkering.
Affidavit’s signed by the company’s founder Lim Oon Kuin and reviewed by Reuters showed that while Hin Leong trading reported a $78.2m profit for the year-ended October 2019 it had in fact been making losses for several years but these had not been made public.
The in the filing Lim said Hing Leong had, “suffered about $800m in futures losses over the years but these were not reflected in the financial statements. In this regard, I had given instructions to the finance department to prepare the accounts without showing the losses and told them that I would be responsible if anything went wrong.”
The company’s have been automatically legal protection from creditors for 30 days following the filing while the courts decide whether to grant a six month period of bankruptcy protection.
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