F J Benjamin gets another 12 months to exit SGX watch-list

The Singapore Exchange Centre in Shenton Way.
The Singapore Exchange Centre in Shenton Way.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Mainboard-listed FJ Benjamin Holdings has been granted a 12-month extension of the 36-month period for exiting the Singapore Exchange (SGX) watch-list, with the deadline now set at Dec 4, 2020, from Dec 4, 2019.

The fashion group has been on SGX's watch-list since December 2016 for sustaining pre-tax losses for more than three consecutive financial years, and having a market cap of less than $40 million.

In a regulatory filing on Thursday (June 20), FJ Benjamin said it has "made concerted efforts to increase its profitability" since being placed on the watch-list on Dec 5, 2016. This includes focusing on profit-making brands and discontinuing loss-making brands, along with cost control measures - resulting in its return to profitability, said the company. It added that it recorded a consolidated pre-tax profit of around $939,000 for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018.

The company also said its low price-to-book ratio of 0.534 and small market capitalisation was the result of pricing its shares "at a significant discount". The price-to-book ratio was derived based on the market price per share of F J Benjamin of 3.1 Singapore cents as at March 29, 2019, and its net asset value of 5.81 cents as at March 31.

"The company continues, as a matter of priority, to explore and undertake various strategic initiatives to improve the market's perception of it, with the aim of meeting or exceeding the $40 million threshold in the near future," it said.

The retailer added it would continue to employ new strategic initiatives such as the use of online sales channels and diversification of its brand portfolio in order to "rise above the challenges" from the retail outlook in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as the changes in consumer behaviour.

The group in March landed the exclusive distributorship for Baume & Mercier watches in Singapore and Malaysia for three years, responsible for daily operations, sales, support, marketing and communications. Its subsidiary, F J Benjamin Singapore, also bagged an exclusive deal to sell Faure Le Page, a French luxury bag brand, in Singapore for five years.

Shares of the company closed flat at three cents on Thursday before the announcement was made.