Nobel Design mulls legal action over director's conduct

SINGAPORE - THE board of mainboard-listed furniture company Nobel Design Holdings has raised a red flag over the conduct of its former chief executive and chairman, who is now a non-executive director.

The firm, which is considering legal action, told the Singapore Exchange (SGX) recently there was "evidence to suggest" that Mr Bert Choong has acted against Nobel's interests and possibly breached his fiduciary duties as a company director.

The board said in its SGX filing Mr Choong failed to disclose that a furniture retailer called Studio 216, owned by his wife and son, had been set up in Kuala Lumpur in February this year.

Mr Choong had also allegedly lied in an e-mail he sent last year to Porada, which is a principal supplier of one of Nobel's subsidiaries, Marquis Furniture Gallery. He had said that he was helping Marquis set up a Kuala Lumpur showroom for Porada but that was false, Nobel's board said.

On top of that, he allegedly did not tell the board that Studio 216 was selling furniture from Porada, among other suppliers, making it a direct competitor to Nobel's business interests in Malaysia, the board said. He may have placed himself in a situation where there is a conflict of interest and contravened his obligations as a company director, it added.

It noted that although the board has given him several chances to explain his conduct, he "has not responded satisfactorily to all the company's enquiries".

It said it is taking legal advice on its next course of action.

In the meantime, Mr Choong remains a non-executive director at Nobel and continues to have access to information about business plans and activities.