Struggling China Essence loses auditors, following other departures

SINGAPORE - China potato processor China Essence Group announced on Monday that its auditors from BDO Limited and BDO LLP have quit over "long outstanding" audit fees.

The auditors' departure comes on the heels of independent director Peter Lai's resignation last month and company secretary Teo Meng Keong's resignation earlier this month.

Mainboard-listed China Essence, which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, has been on the SGX watch-list since June last year. The company posted a loss of 574.1 billion yuan (S$127 million) as at the end of March. It last turned a profit in 2011.

According to China Essence, it has been plagued by drought- and flooding-hit potato harvests as well as declining sales for its potato starch products.

These financial woes have also seen China Essence struggle to pay out the HK$200 million (S$35.3 million) owed to holders of its convertible bonds. China Essence has missed the payment dates for redemption instalments since 2012, and the interest of 28.1 million yuan (S$6.2 million) - which includes default interest - is also gathering dust.

Share prices last closed at 0.8 cents on Friday.