Dissident Datapulse shareholders set June target to declare 20 cents per share payout

Shareholder Ng Bie Tjin said that her nominees plan to return 32 Singapore cents per share to shareholders, comprising a 20-cent-per-share dividend and a 12-cent-per-share capital reduction exercise.
Shareholder Ng Bie Tjin said that her nominees plan to return 32 Singapore cents per share to shareholders, comprising a 20-cent-per-share dividend and a 12-cent-per-share capital reduction exercise.ST PHOTO: YEN MENG JIIN

SINGAPORE - Dissident shareholders of Datapulse Technology said on Friday (April 13) that they can declare an interim dividend of 20 Singapore cents per share before June 14, 2018, if they gain control of the board, but acknowledged the challenge of paying more through a capital reduction exercise.

The shareholders, who are seeking to replace the disk drive maker's current board with their own nominees, offered that timeline in response to comments by the current directors charging that it may have been misleading of the dissidents to promise more payouts than they might be able to deliver.

The rebelling shareholders are led by Ng Bie Tjin, who, together with her family business, holds a 16 per cent share of Datapulse and has taken issue with the way the current board has tried to carry out a diversification plan. She had told the Business Times that her nominees plan to return 32 Singapore cents per share to shareholders, comprising a 20-cent-per-share dividend and a 12-cent-per-share capital reduction exercise.

But Datapulse's current board, which is intent on preserving cash to build up a newly acquired hair products manufacturer, noted that carrying out a capital reduction would be difficult to achieve without the support of Datapulse controlling shareholder Ng Siew Hong. She sits in the camp of the existing board, and her 29 per cent stake is enough to block a capital reduction exercise, which requires support from at least 75 per cent of voting shares.

On Friday, the challengers put forth their timeline, saying that declaring an interim dividend of 20 Singapore cents per share can be done as soon as the third-quarter results are released.

They acknowledged that Ms Ng Siew Hong's stake presented a challenge to any capital reduction, but said they are still intent on reviewing how to deal with Datapulse's cash assets. They urged Datapulse's minority shareholders to band together."It is only by voting together, in our own interests, that we minority shareholders will be able to address the 29 per cent majority held by the current controlling shareholder," they said.

Datapulse shareholders will meet on April 20 to decide which side gets to control the company's future.