Datapulse aims to grow controversial hair care business

Datapulse Technology will expand its recently acquired hair-care product manufacturer into the distribution business, chief executive Wilson Teng said yesterday.

The announcement comes amid a testing time for the firm.

A bloc of minority investors is challenging the board and management over the company's business diversification plans and recent board appointments.

The shareholders are particularly upset over last December's $3.43 million acquisition of Wayco Manufacturing.

The Malaysian firm produces six core brands of hair-care products that are distributed in Singapore and Malaysia. Datapulse is primarily a disk drive maker.

A strategic review by Ernst & Young that was disclosed in March found that Wayco was not a sustainable business, although it had "the potential to improve its business viability by transforming its business into a value chain play by developing its distribution capability and its suite of brand assets and products".

Mr Teng, who was appointed in March this year, said yesterday that if the board survives a shareholder vote this month, it will carry out a review of Wayco's product portfolio, adopt direct distribution in key markets and "draw up a roadmap for some form of e-commerce related sales".

Datapulse shareholders will decide next Friday whether to keep Mr Teng and the other directors.

Dissident shareholders led by former finance director Ng Bie Tjin, who is also the daughter of the company's co-founder, are proposing to replace the board with their own nominees and review the company's acquisition of Wayco.

That deal has come under criticism over concerns about its value and the way in which it was carried out.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2018, with the headline 'Datapulse aims to grow controversial hair care business'. Print Edition | Subscribe