Lotustpsll contributed this article to NextInsight. He worked 32 years with a global banking group before retiring a few years ago.
My previous article “Privatisation a just measure to settle legal dispute” was published in April 2016.
Nearly a year has passed and it is opportune for me to provide a short update on this highly unusual case involving a Singapore-listed company.
Next month, the Court of Appeal in Bermuda will hear an appeal by Kingboard Laminates and Kingboard Chemical (KC), the ultimate holding company of Kingboard Copper Foil. (Note: Kingboard has announced that the hearing dates are March 6 and 7).
|♦ How it started
|Kingboard Copper Foil entered into a license agreement with Harvest Resource Management after the Petitioner (Annuity & Re Life Ltd) had vetoed the proposed general mandate for interested person transactions at the AGM of the Company on 29 April 2011.
The Supreme Court of Bermuda found that, as the majority shareholders failed to promptly initiate negotiations with the minority shareholders with a view to resolving the impasse and take into account the interests of shareholders as a whole following the blocking of the IPT Mandate, the license agreement was a commercially prejudicial means of enabling the Company to circumvent the Petitioner’s legitimate exercise of its right to veto the IPT Mandate.
Listed in Hong Kong, Kingboard Laminates is the majority shareholder (65.95%) of Kingboard Copper Foil which is listed in Singapore.
Kingboard Laminates and KC are appealing against the findings of the Supreme Court of Bermuda on “the Harvest License Transaction”. (See court judgement here)
EY was appointed by Kingboard Copper Foil’s audit committee (after discussions between the Company and the SGX-ST) to conduct an Independent Review.
An EY report, released in October, has affirmed that the findings of the Bermuda Court are consistent with its own findings.
I have consulted a long-time friend, a Senior Corporate Lawyer practising in Malaysia. In his opinion, after reviewing the EY report, it will be an uphill task for the appellant to challenge the Supreme Court’s “findings of facts and decisions of law”.
My friend expects the EY report to be tabled in court to refute KC’s appeal.The EY report is damaging for KC, and has raised other matters as well concerning corporate governance and transfer pricing issues. The lapses in corporate governance are serious.
Best case scenario – Rejection of KC’s appeal by the Appeals Court and the Supreme Court decisions are upheld. This may mean a buyout of all minority shareholders.
Kingboard Copper Foil has net cash of SGD 0.35 and current assets of another SGD 0.35, and no debt.
The reasons why it's so undervalued (share price about 29 cents) are the absence of dividends for many years and the uncertain outcome of this litigation.
The defendants are mainly KC and Kingboard Laminates. Kingboard Copper Foil is only a third party, and will not bear any litigation costs or liability.
This is a long-drawn saga stretching over 6 years already. Let’s hope justice is finally served.
Please do your own due diligence. Am vested.