IHC requests trading suspension

From left: Former International Healthway Corporation board members Dr Jong Hee Sen, Ms Lim Beng Choo, Mr Leonard Chia and Mr Ong Lay Khiam at the company's extraordinary meeting held on Monday. Aside from Dr Jong, who resigned from the board last mo
From left: Former International Healthway Corporation board members Dr Jong Hee Sen, Ms Lim Beng Choo, Mr Leonard Chia and Mr Ong Lay Khiam at the company's extraordinary meeting held in October 2016. ST PHOTO: MARISSA LEE

New board of directors say they need time to determine current state of affairs at the company

Embattled International Healthway Corporation (IHC), which is trying to move ahead after the ouster of key personnel, has asked for a voluntary trading suspension.

It had earlier obtained a trading halt for its shares on Tuesday - a status which tends to be of shorter duration than a suspension.

The latest move - before the markets opened yesterday - was made because IHC's interim transition committee and new board of directors "(required) time to determine the current state of affairs of the company", its newly-installed board said in a filing to the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

It added that it is working closely with its legal advisers in its review.

IHC shares last traded on Monday at 6.7 cents.

The board of the medical property developer also clarified that the company reported the matter involving ousted executive director Lim Beng Choo leaving the office premises with her computer and some documents to the police, and requested police assistance.

It said a formal police report will be made in due course.

Ms Lim, together with the entire former IHC board, was voted out on Monday, after clashing with shareholders at a lengthy and fiery extraordinary general meeting.

The board said it will continue to keep shareholders updated on any material developments. "In the meantime, persons who are in doubt as to the action they should take should consult their legal, financial, tax or other professional advisers."

IHC had been facing a shareholder revolt against its old guard after its shares plunged last September - when the SGX found that a few individuals trading among themselves had been behind most of IHC's total traded volume since April.

The new board comprising directors Roger Tan, Eric Sho and Jackson Tay were nominated by Mr Eric Low, who holds 7.11 per cent of IHC. Earlier this week, the new board also said a consultant has been appointed to conduct an internal audit of the company's affairs, as well as to "protect, secure and preserve the company's records and financial information".

Separately, hotel group and developer OUE, which said on Monday that it acquired a 12.54 per cent stake in IHC, declined to comment on why it made the acquisition.

If it is revealed that the total shareholding of co-founders Fan Kow Hin, Jong Hee Sen, Aathar Ah Kong Andrew and their immediate family members has fallen below 30 per cent, which is possible given OUE's purchase, IHC will be in breach of a covenant on its $100 million outstanding bonds, and could face a default situation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 28, 2017, with the headline 'IHC requests trading suspension'. Print Edition | Subscribe