SGX looking closely at Swiber for any lapses as major offshore firm files for liquidation

A security guard walks past the auditorium of the Singapore Exchange (SGX).
A security guard walks past the auditorium of the Singapore Exchange (SGX).PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Exchange announced on Thursday (July 28) that it is looking closely at mainboard-listed Swiber Holdings for any breaches of its listing rules.

Swiber became the first major casualty in the Singapore offshore sector, which has been hit by cancelled and delayed orders after oil prices slumped.

The oilfield services firm stunned investors earlier on Thursday when it announced it had filed to wind up the company and was putting it in voluntary liquidation.

It also said top management had quit: Executive director and vice chairman Francis Wong, executive director and chief financial officer Leonard Tay and executive director Nitish Gupta all resigned to "seek new opportunities".

Said SGX chief regulatory officer Tan Boon Gin: "We have been closely monitoring the situation at Swiber and will be undertaking a thorough investigation into the developments there. The company and relevant individuals should expect us to take action if any breach of the listing rules is found."

He added: "Listed companies are obliged to make timely and complete disclosures of material information. In Swiber Holdings Limited's case, key disclosures, including the first set of announcements on 8 July 2016 were made only after queries from SGX."

On July 8, Swiber revealed that its US$710 million offshore field development project in West Africa was unable to progress due to the weakness in the oil and gas sector since the second half of 2014.

On Tuesday (July 26), Swiber disclosed the termination of a transport and installation service contract in Vietnam in responde to a query from the Singapore Exchange. It said the reason it did not made an earlier announcement on the termination, which was received on July 18, was that the contract value of US$21 million was "immaterial" based on its annual revenues.

In its Thursday's announcement, Swiber did not cite any reasons for the winding-up application, but it said it was facing letters of demand for about US$25.9 million. On July 11, the company had said it faced claims amounting to US$4.76 million arising from its ordinary course of business.

"SGX would like to remind the market that shareholders have a right to be kept well-informed at all times, particularly when companies are facing business adversities," Mr Tan said on Thusrday.

Trading in Swiber shares, which have a total market value of S$50 million, were halted on Wednesday (July 27).

Swiber owns 13 construction vessels and has more than 2,700 employees, it said on its website. In May, it reported a quarterly net loss of US$200,000.