Judicial management sought against Epicentre

Former Apple reseller Epicentre's store at Ion Orchard in 2013.
Former Apple reseller Epicentre's store at Ion Orchard in 2013.PHOTO: ST FILE

Former Apple reseller Epicentre Holdings on Tuesday said a creditor has filed an application in the Singapore High Court to place the company under judicial management.

Its lawyers, Oon & Bazul, on Monday received a letter stating that creditor Goh Chee Hong had filed an application in the High Court for the company to be placed under judicial management.

The Catalist-listed company has since instructed Oon & Bazul to accept service of the application and related documents on its behalf, effective on Tuesday.

"The company is... reviewing the application and taking legal advice on its proposed course of action in the application," Epicentre added in a regulatory filing hours before midnight on Tuesday.

Mr Goh had earlier filed a statutory demand dated May 21 claiming a sum of $3 million arising from a loan that he provided to the company.

He was also one of three creditors who filed statutory demands on Epicentre on May 21 and 27. Another was ELush T3, which runs Apple reseller iStudio, that also filed a statutory demand on May 21 claiming a sum of about $420,000 arising from outstanding trade debts.

Meanwhile, the statutory demand dated May 27 was based on debts amounting to about $1.56 million owed by the group to Mr Kenneth Lim Tiong Hian, of which $1.3 million was assigned to third creditor Jonathan Lim, executive director of Japan IPL Holdings, a subsidiary of Epicentre.

Mr Kenneth Lim, executive chairman and acting chief executive officer of Epicentre Holdings, has been uncontactable since May 24, according to the company.

On June 11, Epicentre Holdings received a statutory demand from three of its former independent directors, namely, Mr Giang Sovann, Mr Lim Jin Wei and Mr Azman Hisham Ja'afar, for a sum of $50,001 for outstanding directors' fees.

Epicentre had earlier said it had intended to use the proceeds from a proposed placement of up to 79.7 million new shares to clear most of its existing liabilities, including the money owed to Mr Goh and ELush. The placement has since fallen through as Mr Kenneth Lim has been uncontactable.

On Tuesday, AA Group Holdings got dragged into the Epicentre debacle, announcing that it received two statutory demands and one letter of demand from an alleged creditor over financing agreements allegedly signed on its behalf by Mr Kenneth Lim.

The company said Mr Kenneth Lim "is not and has never been a director, officer or employee of the company or any of its subsidiaries" and did not authorise him to enter into the agreements on its behalf. It also said it had never entered into such agreements with alleged creditor Gema Blasco Martinez.

AA Group said it has made a police report and is currently seeking legal advice on the matter.

It added that it will be responding to Ms Martinez's lawyers, and will provide further updates on this matter to shareholders in due course.

Epicentre Holdings separately announced on Tuesday night that it has appointed Drew Ethan Madacsi as its independent director.

According to the filing, Mr Madacsi is currently non-executive chairman of Singapore-listed construction company MMP Resources.

He is also a director of MMP Resources Japan K.K. and African Coal Resources Limited and a senior strategic consultant of Allington Advisory Pte Ltd.

Trading in Epicentre's shares has been suspended since May 30.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2019, with the headline 'Judicial management sought against Epicentre'. Subscribe