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Ezra Holdings calls for trading halt in its shares


Beleaguered Ezra Holdings called for trading in its shares here to be suspended yesterday, a day after it filed for bankruptcy in the US.

The group's yard operating arm Triyards Holdings, the last of its three Singapore-listed units still trading last week, has also requested a trading halt.

Ezra shares last traded on March 15 at an all-time low of 1.1 cents, down 77.6 per cent this year, while Triyards shares finished at 28.5 cents last Friday, dropping 1.7 per cent from Thursday's close.

Shares of the group's other Singapore-listed entity, Emas Offshore, have been in suspension since earlier this month. The stock last traded at five cents on March 3.

Ezra announced on Sunday it had filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code to facilitate its financial restructuring.

Its debt-laden joint venture Emas Chiyoda Subsea sought the same process late last month.

"The prolonged challenging operating environment in the oil and gas industry made it difficult for Ezra to carry out fund-raising as a company listed on the SGX-ST," said Ezra.

Documents showed Ezra has declared estimated assets of between US$500,000 (S$699,000) and US$1 billion against estimated liabilities of between US$100 million and US$500m. The group also has $150m of 4.875 per cent notes due in May next year.

But Ezra's total debt numbers could be higher. The group faces over US$1 billion of short-term debt, going by its 2016 earnings report, and it has at least US$900m in total exposure to guarantees extended to charter hire liabilities and loans for Emas Chiyoda.

According to court papers, Ezra's largest unsecured creditors include DBS Bank with claims totalling US$281.4m, OCBC Bank at around US$207m and UOB with US$22.8m. In terms of secured debt, OCBC and DBS each have claims of more than US$47.2m, while UOB has US$10.2m.

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