Datapulse EGM on April 20; key issue may not go to vote

Embattled Datapulse Technology will hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in April, more than two months after its co-founder's family first launched a bid to oust the directors.

The April 20 meeting will consider its proposed business diversification and the proposed change of board, the firm said last night.

But if there is a change in the board line-up, the resolution on the diversification will not go to a shareholder vote.

Mainboard-listed Datapulse has been caught in a tussle between a recently appointed board member and shareholder Ng Bie Tjin, the daughter of company co-founder Ng Khim Guan.

Soon after new directors joined in December last year, the disk-drive maker bought Malaysian personal-care product manufacturer Wayco Manufacturing. It later emerged that the vendor, businessman Ang Kong Meng, had ties to board members and to a new controlling shareholder of Datapulse.

Ms Ng, who was Datapulse's finance director from 1994 to 2014, wants to halt the diversification and to replace board members with four fresh directors, including herself.

If only one director is replaced, the diversification vote can proceed but any more board changes and it will be on hold for reconsideration.

One of those recently appointed directors, Mr Kee Swee Ann, stepped down as chief executive on Feb 2, citing health concerns.

The finalised date of the EGM comes after a protracted back-and-forth between Ms Ng and Datapulse over whether she and family investment vehicle Uniseraya Holdings had the standing to file a requisition notice on Dec 26.

She eventually turned in a fresh requisition notice on Feb 20. Datapulse has said the meeting will be held in accordance with the required two-month window from that latter date.

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) has already put Datapulse on notice over the Wayco acquisition. It has directed the company to hold a dialogue with shareholders in collaboration with the Securities Investors Association (Singapore).

The session was originally to be held on April 17 but has now been moved forward to March 26.

The SGX has also instructed Datapulse to give it advance notice of any possible acquisitions involving the vendor, Mr Ang, and has called for an independent review of the company's internal controls and corporate governance practices.

The Datapulse board said in a statement on Tuesday that it "welcomes the instruction by the SGX, and remains committed to the highest levels of disclosure while seeking to preserve and enhance shareholder value".

"Datapulse's shareholder value has been eroded recently due to the weak operating performance of its media storage business. The current board is making all efforts to achieve corporate recovery and enhance shareholder value while maintaining good governance," it said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2018, with the headline 'Datapulse EGM on April 20; key issue may not go to vote'. Subscribe