Posts

Showing posts from 2018

In Singapore, it's not margin calls brokerages worry about

Brokerage heads do not foresee a significant jump in forced selling or contra losses even if the market takes a turn for the worst, as high rollers are dwindling in number and simply more cautious than they used to be.
In fact, margin calls are the furthest concern for stockbroking firms here today, as retail participation in the Singapore market stays muted, whether share prices are falling, rising, or going nowhere at all.
Kenny Lo, Maybank Kim Eng's head of retail brokerage Singapore and regional head of products and services, told The Business Times: "Retail interest in the Singapore market has been declining and has hit multi-year lows this year. As a result, there has been a gradual decline in contra trading."
Besides, the house has risk management and credit policies in place to manage market volatility, he said.
Esmond Choo, senior executive director at UOB Kay Hian, agreed: "Contra trading generally thrives in bull market conditions. Under bear market cond…

SGX, investors should get ready now for next upturn in shipping cycle

Some market watchers were surprised when South Korea's dry bulk play Polaris Shipping indicated in September it is looking to pursue a public listing on the Singapore Exchange (SGX). One trade journal deemed Singapore as "an unconventional choice", considering Polaris Shipping may enjoy greater liquidity if it floats on its home exchange.
Yet, while shipping stocks aren't actively traded in Singapore, they aren't hot elsewhere either. Stock valuations in the broader maritime sector have generally languished amid a protracted sector-wide downturn, afflicting both the conventional shipping and offshore and marine (O&M) segments.
In Singapore, the market capitalisations of shipping and offshore counters are mostly well below S$1 billion. SGX data shows that the combined market cap of a dozen listed shipping counters worked out to just US$3.9 billion and that of 35 offshore services counters stood at only US$2.4 billion as at Oct 5.
The soft shipping equity mark…

Control of Innopac changes hand after S$8.4m placement

INNOPAC Holdings on Tuesday announced an S$8.4 million stock placement that will result in a change of control, as well as a related disposal of five subsidiaries and a S$2.5 million secured loan facility.
The investment holding company said it will place 8.4 billion new shares at 0.1 Singapore cent apiece to 11 individual investors. The new shares will represent about 65 per cent of Innopac's enlarged share capital.
The largest investors in the placement are Choo Beng Kai, managing director of Malaysian investment holding company Masmeyer Holdings, and Lim Soon Huat, executive chairman of Malaysia-listed Asia File Corp.
Mr Choo will hold a 19.4 per cent stake in Innopac after the placement, and Mr Lim will control a 15.6 per cent interes. They will together be considered the new controlling shareholders of the company.
Of the S$7.95 milion in net proceeds, Innopac will use about S$3.95 million to develop existing investments, new business investments and acquisitions; S$1.5 mill…

MAS slaps 5-year prohibition order on former CIMB banker for insider trading

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued a five-year prohibition order against a former vice-president of CIMB Bank Bhd, Alan Tay Yeow Kee, for insider trading, it said on Tuesday.
In 2011, Mr Tay arranged for another person to purchase on his behalf the shares of two listed companies, Qualitas Medical Group Ltd and Leeden Ltd. Mr Tay did this while in possession of "non-public and price sensitive" information that both companies had received takeover offers. He had obtained the inside information by virtue of his position in CIMB.
Mr Tay made a profit of around S$30,000 from the shares purchased with the privileged information.
In May 2017, Mr Tay was convicted on three charges under the Securities and Futures Act for insider trading. Three other charges were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing. He was fined S$180,000.
Under the prohibition order, Mr Tay will be prohibited from carrying out any regulated activities and from taking part in the…

MAS joining the dots on illicit fund flows with data analytics

Regulator also flags risks of financial exclusion as some ex-offenders being denied banking services
ONLY connect.
This perhaps sums up the potential behind the use of data analytics and information-sharing within the financial industry in combating financial crime, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) looking to ramp up efforts in this area.
Speaking at a financial crime seminar held by the Association of Banks in Singapore, Ho Hern Shin, MAS' assistant managing director of the banking and insurance group, said the regulator has applied data analytics to the suspicious transaction reports (STRs), of which there are more than 25,000 annually. These STRs are flagged by the financial institutions due to suspicions over illicit fund flows.
"Applying data analytics to this data set has enabled us to identify suspicious fund-flow networks, and focus our supervisory attention on networks of higher-risk accounts, entities or activities," she said.
MAS will also glean…

Abterra suspends trading after SGX turns down request to delay AGM

Mineral and resources company Abterra was suspended from trading on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) on Monday morning, after its request for an extension on time to hold its annual general meeting was rejected by the bourse operator in a letter received on July 13.
Abterra had asked in April to push back the meeting deadline by four months, to Aug 31 at the latest, after Mazars LLP sought to resign as the company's statutory auditors while citing outstanding audit matters at a 51 per cent-owned Abterra subsidiary.
But the SGX "noted that sufficient time had passed since the announcement was made and there continues to be no certainty on the timeline" for the appointment of new auditors, the finalisation of audited statements for the year to end-Dec 2017, and the convening of the annual general meeting, Abterra's board of directors has now said.
The counter will remain suspended until the SGX is satisfied that the company is complying with the requirement to hold an ann…

Magnus Energy to place 2.53b new shares to raise S$2.28m

Magnus Energy is placing out 2.53 billion new shares at 0.09 Singapore cent apiece to four parties to raise S$2.28 million in cash.
The four individuals are Lee Thiam Seng, Ong Boon Tiong Daniel, Low Chin Yen and Liu Bin. According to the company's filing to the Singapore Exchange, they are "private investors who have expressed their interest in taking up new shares in the company for investment purposes".
The issue price represents a discount of approximately 10 per cent to the volume-weighted average price of S$0.001 for trades done on June 28, the last full market day with trade preceding the date on which the subscription agreement was signed.
Magnus Energy's rationale is to strengthen its financial and working capital position. The company intends to use the net proceeds for general working capital for corporate expenditures, and as funds for a microalgae oil cultivation project.
The shares represent approximately 20.05 per cent of the total number of issued sh…

Innopac receives letter of demand on negative balances of accounts maintained by 2 subsidiaries

InnoPac Holdings on Wednesday said it received a letter of demand from Saxo Bank, which is seeking a payment of S$14.69 million on negative balances under accounts maintained by two of Innopac's subsidiaries - Heritage Investment Corporation and Wang Da Investment. The letter of demand, dated June 1, was sent on behalf of the Danish bank by Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.
In a filing with the Singapore Exchange, Innopac said that the Danish bank alleges the company is liable for the claim on the purported basis of a Memorandum of Understanding dated Dec 24, 2013 despite the said negative account balances being incurred by the subsidiaries without any guarantee by Innopac.
The company added that at present, no legal proceedings have been commenced by Saxo against Innopac, and "the group will be evaluating the basis and merits of the claim and will take appropriate action accordingly".
Pending the resolution of the claim, the board is of the view that the company is unab…

Magnus Energy confirms former MD's lawsuit

Charles Madhavan's suing over wrongful termination; company yet to address other concerns raised by him


Almost a month after Magnus Energy parted ways with its newly appointed managing director and disclosed that the executive raised concerns about past transactions, the company has yet to tell shareholders what those concerns involved.
In an announcement on Monday, Magnus said Charles Madhavan had on June 22 served the company a writ of summons in relation to his claim for wrongful termination.
Mr Madhavan had raised questions about loans made by the company; a loan from chief executive Luke Ho; and a luxury car bought for a key management personnel.
Magnus announced on May 28 the cessation of Mr Madhavan in his executive role, citing "differences with management and board".
The Catalist-listed company, whose core business is in oilfield equipment supplies and services, also said at the time that Mr Madhavan had highlighted to the company's sponsor, Stamford Corpor…

Magnus Energy's former MD sends demand letter over 'wrongful termination'

Catalist-listed Magnus Energy Group said on Thursday that it has received a letter of demand from the lawyers representing its former managing director Charles Madhavan, "notifying the company of his claim for wrongful termination".
Magnus Energy on Monday announced that it had terminated Mr Madhavan's position with the company, effective May 26, 2018. It said then that it had done so because of "differences with management and board" and "cessation pursuant to contract".
The company also said then that it would convene an extraordinary general meeting to seek its shareholders' approval to remove Mr Madhavan as a director of the company.
"Mr Madhavan has highlighted to (Magnus Energy's) sponsor some of his personal concerns regarding some of the company's past transactions. The company is in the midst of reviewing and will be responding to the sponsor's queries," its announcement then had said.
Magnus Energy's announceme…

Answers finally for investors burnt by the saga in 2013?

Investors caught by the 2013 penny stock crash may finally get the answers they have been waiting for.
With trial dates expected to be announced shortly, Singapore's High Court could soon hear arguments about "wash trading", forced selling and who held the control over almost 200 trading accounts as it gets set to try the three individuals implicated in the saga.
The historic trial - prosecutors have described the investigations as Singapore's largest securities fraud probe - will take place on a scale rarely seen in market-related cases.
The defendants are looking at more than 370 charges altogether: Malaysian businessman John Soh Chee Wen faces 189 charges, former Ipco International chief executive Quah Su-Ling faces 178 and former interim Ipco CEO Goh Hin Calm faces six. Those charges relate to allegations that they manipulated the stocks of Blumont Group, Asiasons Capital (now called Attilan Group) and LionGold Corp (collectively known as BAL). Those counters climbe…

New MAS rules on short-selling, short-position reports to kick in on Oct 1

Investors with short positions above a certain threshold will soon have to report them to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and not just the bourse operator.
The move, announced on Monday, will affect investors with a short position of at least 0.2 per cent of total issued shares or units or at least S$2 million - whichever is lower - who are trading in securities listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX).
The MAS said the move - which takes effect on Oct 1, 2018 - "will improve transparency on short-selling activities in the securities market and enable investors to make more informed trading decisions".
Short-selling refers to selling securities - such as shares, units or structured warrants - that a trader does not actually own at the time of the sale.
The selling may be "covered", with the seller having borrowed the securities or made arrangements to deliver them.
It may also be "uncovered" or "naked", which is when the seller neither…

Possible new controlling shareholder at Innopac

The planned $5 million stock placement planned by Innopac Holdings could result in compliance professional Jack Lim becoming a new controlling shareholder of the investment holding company.
Mr Lim, described as a private investor who works at an international bank, will take 2.5 billion of the five billion placement shares at the offer price of 0.1 cent a share. That will leave him as the largest single shareholder with a 26.42 per cent stake of Innopac's enlarged share capital.
Innopac shares closed at 0.2 cent on May 25. Trading had been halted from Monday to the end of Wednesday.
Innopac did not disclose who the other placees were but said they were independently procured by the placement agent and did not hold any shares in the company as at May 30.
They are also not directors or substantial shareholders of the firm and are not related to each other in any way, other than being co-investors in the company.
Innopac will use $2.25 million of the $5 million proceeds to support n…

Midas could be insolvent soon amid fraud allegations

Midas Holdings, once a billion-dollar company with a promising future in China's booming rail sector, may join the list of insolvent companies as it falls victim to alleged fraud and misdeeds overseas, leaving minority shareholders in Singapore to pay the price and cry out in desperation for accountability.
Listed on Feb 23, 2004 on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK) on Oct 6, 2010 in a secondary listing, Midas was once favoured as a leading manufacturer of aluminium alloy extrusion products for China's rail transportation sector. At one point, JP Morgan had an almost-8 per cent stake in the company. It is unclear if it still owns Midas shares.
But things took a quick turn for the company, now struggling with law suits filed in China over unauthorised loans by its former chairman Chen Wei Ping, and guarantees involving its Chinese subsidiaries.
Mr Chen, now under probe by China's Economic Crime Investigation Unit for fraud, resigned…

Ezion loses steam after early gains on return to trading

Failing to hold early gains after trading resumes for its counter, offshore and marine (O&M) group Ezion Holdings slipped to negative territory and closed marginally down at 19.4 Singapore cents, down 0.3 cent from its last traded price of 19.7 cents.
The stock ranked the highest traded by volume on Tuesday, with over 251 million shares changing hands. It surged to an intra-day high of 25.5 Singapore cents, but mostly hovered at around 20 Singapore cents in afternoon trading.
Market practitioners pointed to selling pressure coming from the substantial equity dilution that Ezion potentially faces after emerging from a months-long debt-refinancing exercise. Its debt revamp tabled equity swaps and issuance of warrants, including for holders of S$575 million of notes and perpetuals.
Such selling pressure could have outweighed "buy" calls from punters betting on upside from the closure of its refinancing exercise.
Some of Ezion's noteholders have reportedly acted on the …

China police probed former Midas boss over subsidiary's loans: Midas board

Unbeknown to the company, the former executive chairman of troubled railway parts maker Midas Holdings had been under investigation by China's Economic Crime Investigation Unit before his resignation, Midas said on Tuesday.
In an exchange filing, the Midas board said it had learnt that two banks in China's Jilin province had advised Midas subsidiary Jilin Midas Light Alloy (JMLA) that the police had paid visits to their branches to investigate Chen Wei Ping.
The police were from the Economic Crime Investigation Unit and Mr Chen is suspected for fraud relating to certain loans, the board said.
JMLA's two banks - China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China in Jilin - also made requests to JMLA to provide them with explanations within five days from March 30.
In a letter dated March 30, the banks had sought information on JMLA's repayment plans for past due loans, Mr Chen's involvement in certain loans, and the financial and operational conditions of M…

Midas board finds 334m yuan cash shortfall in China unit's account; police report filed

The board of directors of railway parts maker Midas Holdings has filed a police report against Midas subsidiary Jilin Midas Light Alloy (JMLA) in China after checks on its cash balances threw up alarming discrepancies.
The board said on Monday that based on statements obtained over the counter at the Changchun branch of China Merchants Bank, JMLA had just 11,485.40 yuan (S$2,400) in its cash balance at the end of December.
This is a shortfall of more than 334 million yuan from the sum that it had originally reported.
Earlier, Midas's auditors had received a "bank confirmation" that JMLA had unaudited cash balances of 334.4 million yuan at its primary accounts at the end of December.
The discrepancies in JMLA's accounts uncovered by the board date as far back as Dec 31, 2016, when the shortfall between the statements obtained and the earlier "bank confirmation" amounted to more than 352 million yuan.
"In view of the discrepancies, the board had made a …

ISR Capital may need up to US$15m more to carry out work in mining project

ISR Capital on Sunday said that a mining business in which it is trying to acquire a 60 per cent stake may require a further US$10 million to US$15 million of cash to carry out a new phase of work.
Among other things, this next phase includes pilot production, feasibility and engineering studies, as well as environmental impact assessments.
ISR also revealed, in response to queries by the Singapore Exchange (SGX), that the mining business, Tantalum Holding Mauritius (THM), has yet to receive a renewal of its mining licence in Madagascar even though its application was sent in December 2016.
In a filing to the Singapore bourse, ISR Capital, an investment holding company that provides private equity investment and investment advisory, stated that its S$6 million loan to THM has not been fully disbursed. As at end March this year, approximately S$660,000 of its loan to THM has not been utilised, ISR said.
Additionally, the maturity date of its loan to Tantalus Rare Earths AG (TRE AG) ha…

SGX RegCo's tools to keep the investing game clean

When a company is listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), it is obliged to comply with the listing rules.
Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) has various regulatory tools to enforce them. A wide range of disciplinary sanctions are also available to deal with relevant persons who have breached the rules. "Relevant persons" comprise the issuer, its directors, executive officers and issue managers, and where a company is listed on Catalist, its sponsors and registered professionals.
Participants granted access to SGX markets are similarly expected to comply with the trading rules.
Unusual trading activities by any participant won't be left unaddressed when detected. Upon detecting material concerns in an issuer, SGX RegCo may use its regulatory tools to:
·Alert the market so that investors and shareholders can make informed decisions; ·Contain the situation by highlighting or managing immediate risks to shareholders' interests; and ·Ensure accountability of all rele…

SGX hits Innopac with notice of compliance, seeks review of processes

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) on Friday called on investment holding firm Innopac Holdings to appoint a professional firm to review the group's investment processes and to recommend improvements in controls.
This comes as earlier this year in January, the company was deemed a cash company by SGX, meaning that it should be suspended under listing rules. The company disagreed, saying that it has other investments in properties, joint ventures and available-for-sale investments.
In its notice of compliance, SGX also called on Innopac to undertake an interim audit on its financial results for the full-year ended Dec 31, 2017, and have it completed by May 31, 2018.
"The exchange requires clarity on the following: (i) the company's state of affairs i.e. whether the company is able to operate as a going concern; (ii) whether the company has any active business operations failing which, the company would be designated as a cash company under the listing rules."
The company r…

Ipco board claims former execs did not allocate placement proceeds as planned

The board of Ipco International said on Wednesday that most of the S$1.58 million raised from a share placement last year has been diverted to working capital instead of a real estate project as originally planned.
The intended use of the placement proceeds was 50 per cent for the purchase of equipment and development of land in Seattle through Capri Investments, the group's real estate development subsidiary, and 50 per cent for working capital.
In fact, close to S$1.34 million was used for working capital purposes, including payroll. Only S$187,000 has gone towards Capri Investments and a remaining S$61,000 was unspent as at March 30.
In early January, former executives of the company diverted the proceeds to working capital, Ipco's board said. It did not name these former executives.
Because the actual use of proceeds is not in accordance with the intended use as earlier stated, the board said it has reported the alleged non-compliance to the Singapore Exchange's (SGX)…

Annica Holdings extends redemption date for convertible bonds until March next year

Catalist-listed Annica Holdings on Wednesday said it has entered into an agreement with Premier Equity Fund Sub Fund F and fund manager Value Capital Asset Management to extend the redemption date for its convertible bonds until March 31, 2019.
In a filing to the Singapore Exchange, Annica said the parties have agreed in writing to extend the redemption "in order to improve the short-term cash flow of the company".
Accordingly, unless previously redeemed, converted or purchased and cancelled, the firm will redeem the bonds at 100 per cent of the principal amount on end-March next year.
The conversion period for the bonds will not be extended and shall remain as Dec 24, 2018 as the maturity date stands at Dec 30, 2018, Annica said.
The counter last traded at 0.1 Singapore cent on April 2, unchanged from the previous day's close.
Annica is an investment holding company with subsidiaries operating mainly in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam as provider o…

InvestingNote, a social network for investors by investors

We may have heard of investing forums, but what about a social network of investing ideas?
A combination of social media features and information about investing, InvestingNote aims to let users keep their own e-journals for their investments.
The startup, which brings retail investors, stock brokers, remisiers, financial bloggers and traders together to educate people on how to invest in stock markets, has also partnered CIMB Securities, PhillipCapital and RHB Securities.
InvestingNote, whose services are all free, serves two kinds of users: professionals and retail investors.
Professionals are individuals who have knowledge about investments and share it with retail investors, who seek the opinions of the professionals on stocks they should buy or sell.
A unique feature of InvestingNote is the combination of social media tools that resemble Facebook's status update feature, Instagram's "follow" function and eBay's seller ratings.
Retail investors can use the s…

YuuZoo raided by police in SFA probe

Mainboard-listed YuuZoo Corporation's premises have been raided, and former management staff interviewed by the police, the company disclosed late on Thursday night.
The seizure of documents and computer equipment, which The Business Times understands took place on Monday, came on the heels of a notice from the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD). Chairman and former chief executive Thomas Zilliacus, a Finn, has surrendered his passport upon instructions from the police.
Singapore Exchange Regulation, or SGX Regco, had said - also on Monday - that it had referred findings from an independent reviewer's draft report to the authorities over possible Securities and Futures Act (SFA) breaches by YuuZoo.
Ernst & Young Advisory was engaged last October to carry out an independent review of the online media company. It was to cover a range of issues, including former employees' allegations of wrongdoing, as well as queries by the bourse operator over certain financial items …