Founder Mary Chia to step down as daughter and son-in-law buy out Mary Chia Holdings

Suki Sushi, will pay $11 million for Madam Chia's 60.98 per cent stake in Catalist-listed Mary Chia Holdings. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/MCUHPROMO

SINGAPORE - The daughter and son-in-law of beautician Madam Mary Chia are buying out her eponymous company.

Their company, Suki Sushi, will pay $11 million for Madam Chia's 60.98 per cent stake in Catalist-listed Mary Chia Holdings, or 11.1 cents a share in cash. They are also making a mandatory general offer for the company's shares.

Suki Sushi and related parties now own 80.97 per cent of Mary Chia Holdings.

In addition, Madam Chia has resigned from her position as the executive chairman of the lifestyle and wellness company and from all executive positions within the group with immediate effect. She will also step down as a director of the company after the close of the offer.

Suki Sushi operates Japanese restaurants in Singapore under various brands including Momiji, Nihon Mura Kaiten and Sakura. It also offers food catering services and sells frozen and dry food products.

Madam Chia's daughter, Ms Ho Yow Ping, holds a 21.7 per cent stake in the company while her husband Mr Lee Boon Leng has a 73.75 per cent stake. Ms Ho is also the chief executive of Mary Chia Holdings.

In an exchange filing on Thursday (Aug 24), Mary Chia Holdings said it "has been operating within a challenging environment", incurring net losses of $5.7 million in the latest financial year ended Mar 31.

The company was in a negative working capital position of approximately $10.3 million as at Mar 31.

Following the acquisition, it will "undertake a strategic and operational review of the group's business with a view to strengthening the group's financial position and identifying areas in which potential may be optimised".

The company intends to make use of Mr Lee's "industry network, experience, expertise and resources" to look for new opportunities and diversify its business. He has more than 15 years of experience in the retail and consumer and the hotel industries.

The offeror intends to keep the company listed on the Catalist board, the exchange filing said.

The takeover offer comes after Mary Chia Holdings suffered a string of setbacks this year.

Last month, its wholly owned subsidiary was ordered to pay damages and costs to a Japanese partner over a joint venture gone sour.

Mary Chia Holdings said it had been ordered to pay Slim Beauty House about $315,400 in damages for the breach of joint venture agreement, as well as around $269,000 as costs.

In February, Ms Ho was fined $2,600 for employing three foreign women without approval.

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