UE E&C shares to be suspended from Thursday

SINGAPORE - Trading in shares of mainboard-listed UE E&C will be suspended from Thursday morning, the company said in a Singapore Exchange filing on Tuesday.

The suspension will happen after a buyout offer of $1.25 per share from private equity fund Southern Capital Group closes, on Wednesday afternoon.

UE E&C, an engineering and construction firm, told the SGX on Tuesday morning that its free float - the percentage of its shares held in public hands - had fallen below 10 per cent.

That is the threshold below which the bourse may suspend and eventually delist the stock.

The free float fell below 10 per cent after Southern managed to amass at least 81.15 per cent of UE E&C.

That amount, plus another 9.2 per cent held by investment vehicle Singapore Tong Teik - a company linked to rubber veteran Oei Hong Bie - brought the free float down to around 9.65 per cent. Singapore Tong Teik's stake is not considered part of the free float since it holds more than 5 per cent.

Southern Capital's offer values the company at $337.5 million. It agreed in October last year to pay $1.25 per share for United Engineers' 68.2 per cent stake in UE E&C, which worked out to about $230.2 million.

An independent financial advisor said that Southern's offer for UE E&C was fair and reasonable.

UE E&C shares closed flat at $1.25 on Tuesday.