Fung Choi trading halt morphs into suspension

SINGAPORE - An extended trading halt for mainboard-listed Fung Choi Media has morphed into a longer-lasting suspension, as the firm continues a dispute with one of its lenders over whether it had in fact defaulted on a payment.

The printing and packaging firm, an associate of Fraser & Neave (F&N), asked the Singapore Exchange (SGX) on Monday for a voluntary suspension of trading in its shares while it asks its lawyers for advice.

Its Hong Kong-based unit Fung Choi Printing has been placed under receivership by the lender, BCA Best Business Service. BCA holds US$30 million worth of Fung Choi's yuan-denominated bonds due in 2016.

It alleged around May this year that Fung Choi had failed to make an interest payment, which BCA said constituted a default under the bond agreement terms.

Fung Choi, however, told the SGX last week that it "did not agree that an event of default had occurred" and had "entered into discussions" with BCA.

The two reached a settlement and amended the bond terms accordingly in July this year. However, BCA and Fung Choi later disagreed again, this time over certain payments to be made as part of the settlement. That led to BCA appointing receivers to Fung Choi Printing in early September.

Fung Choi told the SGX on Monday that it was in the midst of "taking legal advice on the effect of the appointment of receivers".

"The company is in the midst of assessing the most appropriate remedies and avenues available in enforcing and defending its rights," it added.