Copper supplier rapped for breach of listing rules

It failed to promptly disclose info on arbitration claim against its unit

Copper supplier Advance SCT, chief executive Simon Eng and non-executive director Peter Choo have been reprimanded for breaches of the listing rules.

They failed to promptly disclose important information to shareholders about certain events and corporate deals, the Singapore Exchange said yesterday.

The firm failed to promptly disclose material information on an arbitration claim of 42.8 million yuan that was lodged in November 2012 against its unit, Advance SCT (Qingyuan), and Mr Eng.

It only alerted shareholders about this in July 2013, more than seven months after the notice of arbitration claim was served.

The SGX said it is of the opinion that Mr Eng and Mr Choo "did not demonstrate the qualities and standards expected of directors and management of SGX-listed companies".

It had said then that the announcement was delayed because the notice of the arbitration claim had not been properly delivered to the company.

However, the SGX noted that Mr Eng had submitted a power of attorney appointing a legal adviser to act for him and the company in November 2012.

The company had also told the SGX that it had made a provision of nine million yuan for the arbitration claim during the financial year ended Dec 2012.

Both of these actions were inconsistent with its announcement in July 2013, the SGX said.

The arbitration claim was considered material as the company was in a net liability position of $2.875 million as at June 30, 2012, and recorded a loss before taxation of $5.108 million for the half year ended June, 2012, the SGX added.

Advance SCT also failed to promptly disclose and seek shareholders' approval for the payment of about $1.6 million to CNCM Capital, in which Mr Eng and Mr Choo each hold 50 per cent interest.

"Mr Peter Choo Chee Kong should not have left it solely to Mr Weng Hua Yu alias Simon Eng to do a compliance check to ensure that all necessary regulatory obligations were met," the SGX said.

Advance SCT also failed to promptly disclose and seek shareholders' approval for the major disposal of certain assets, including the 100 per cent equity interests in Soon Sing Metal Trading and New Tsingyi (Projects), a demolition project and an industrial property.

The SGX said it is of the opinion that Mr Eng and Mr Choo "did not demonstrate the qualities and standards expected of directors and management of SGX-listed companies, as required under Listing Rules 210(5)(b) and 720."

SGX-listed companies are advised to consult the bourse operator before they appoint either man as a director or member of management.

Advance SCT appointed RSM Ethos in Aug 2013 to oversee and review existing processes and enterprise risk processes, and had Stamford Law Corporation, now known as Morgan Lewis Stamford, on retainer since the same month as its compliance adviser, the SGX said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2015, with the headline 'Copper supplier rapped for breach of listing rules'. Print Edition | Subscribe