Datapulse appoints ICP unit to manage Singapore hotel; audit committee vetting agreements

SINGAPORE - Mainboard-listed disc producer Datapulse Technology has engaged Travelodge Hotels Asia (TLA) as the hotel operator of Bay Hotel Singapore, after having appointed TLA last month to manage Holiday Inn Express Euljiro in Seoul.

Datapulse said in April that it was acquiring a 15 per cent stake in the Seoul hotel for 8.6 billion won ($10.2 million), before announcing early in July that it will also buy a 5 per cent stake in Bay Hotel in Singapore for about $12.1 million.

In a filing on Tuesday morning (Aug 6), Datapulse said that Pamela Prop, in which Datapulse has a 5 per cent effective interest, had entered into conditional hospitality-related agreements on Monday for TLA to manage Bay Hotel. These agreements are conditional upon the successful completion of the Bay Hotel investment.

Singapore-headquartered TLA is wholly owned by Catalist-listed ICP Group. Datapulse chairman and director Aw Cheok Huat is also ICP's chairman and controlling shareholder.

TLA provides hotel management services to certain hotels owned by investment holding company Plenitude. Plenitude is the parent of Bizcentre Capital, which owns the remaining 85 per cent of the Seoul hotel.

On Tuesday, Datapulse declared that Mr Aw currently has an interest in the Bay Hotel investment, by virtue of the entry into the conditional agreements, in view of his shareholding and directorship in ICP.

Previously, Mr Aw had no interest in the Bay Hotel investment when Datapulse entered into the definitive agreements to buy the 5 per cent stake in the hotel.

Mr Aw holds an indirect 10 per cent stake in Datapulse, and an effective interest of 5 per cent in Pamela Prop.

Datapulse's disclosure comes after SGX issued it a notice of compliance on July 19 relating to the Singapore and Seoul hotel investments, as well as the awarding of hotel management agreements to firms linked to Mr Aw.

The SGX notice required Datapulse's audit committee to, among other things, review the terms of its hospitality-related agreements with ICP and its subsidiaries. The audit committee also needs to be satisfied that such agreements are on normal commercial terms and are not prejudicial to the interests of its minority shareholders.

On Tuesday, the company said its audit committee is currently reviewing the terms of the conditional agreements and other hospitality-related agreements relating to the Seoul and Singapore hotel investments.

The audit committee will update Datapulse shareholders on its views when it concludes its review.

In a separate filing on Tuesday morning, ICP also disclosed that Koh Tien Gui, independent non-executive director of ICP, is a partner at law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. The law firm gave legal advice on the drafting of the conditional agreements, with the partner in charge being Manoj Purush.

ICP said that the conditional agreements with Pamela Prop are expected to have a material positive impact on the group's earnings per share and net tangible assets per share for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.

Datapulse advised shareholders to exercise caution in dealing in the company's shares. It also cautioned that there is no certainty or assurance that the Bay Hotel investment will be completed.

On Monday, shares of Datapulse ended flat at $0.24, while ICP shares also closed unchanged at 0.7 cent.