Natural Cool stock is very hot

Next Thursday's EGM has been called to vote on revoking a shareholders' mandate given to Natural Cool's directors in April to allot and issue new stock.
Next Thursday's EGM has been called to vote on revoking a shareholders' mandate given to Natural Cool's directors in April to allot and issue new stock.PHOTO: NATURAL COOL HOLDINGS

Surge in share price, high trading volume prompt SGX query

Natural Cool shares shot up almost 60 per cent yesterday - drawing a query from the Singapore Exchange, given the lack of any obvious cause.

The stock hit as high as 50 cents before closing at 20 cents - a level not seen since 2013.

The increase of 7.3 cents is 57.48 per cent over Tuesday's close, with a whopping 59.5 million shares changing hands.

It represents an unusual spike in volume for the otherwise thinly traded air-conditioning specialist.

Natural Cool was the fourth most active counter on the bourse yesterday.

With no fresh news as a catalyst, it is not clear what drove up the price and turnover.

But one possibility is that buying by substantial shareholders ahead of an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to be held next Thursday may have caused an upswing in the illiquid market, prompting punters to jump in.

Natural Cool responded to the SGX query by noting that "there is a possibility that the unusual trading activity of the shares may be related to the upcoming second EGM".

Executive chairman Joseph Ang told The Straits Times: "This is the only reason I can give."

He added that the Companies Act requires a substantial shareholder who has bought or sold a tranche of shares to notify the company within 48 hours of the transaction.

Until then, he would not know who was behind the buying.

The heavy trading comes ahead of an EGM to be held next Thursday - the second in two weeks.

Requisitionists Ong Mun Wah and Edi Ng have called a vote to revoke the shareholders' mandate given to Natural Cool's directors in April to allot and issue new stock.

In their requisition letter, Mr Ong and Ms Ng expressed their unhappiness with the board's decision to place 27 million shares - or 10.78 per cent of the company - in the hands of incoming chief corporate officer Ng Quek Peng.

They said it made them doubt whether the share issue mandate was being used for the benefit of Natural Cool and its shareholders.

The placement was made amid a boardroom tussle and may have undid an attempt by another substantial shareholder to unseat chairman Ang at an EGM on Monday.

Mr Ang just narrowly hung on to his position, with 45.7 per cent of votes cast against him and 54.3 per in his favour.

The winning margin - of about 18.5 million shares - was smaller than the number of new shares which Natural Cool had placed out to Mr Ng.

Though the share price did not react significantly to the EGM results on Monday, the shares jumped 60.76 per cent to 12.7 cents on Tuesday with 7.2 million shares traded.

Meanwhile, Mr Ng's 27 million shares are subject to a moratorium on trading of 12 weeks from Oct 20, which is the date of the subscription agreement.

The moratorium could be lifted even later.

It depends on how long it takes for the High Court to decide whether to invalidate the share placement to Mr Ng, based on claims brought by founder and chief executive Tsng Joo Peng and another shareholder.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2016, with the headline 'Natural Cool stock is very hot'. Print Edition | Subscribe