SBI reports alleged breaches involving associate company

Oil and gas solutions provider SBI Offshore lodged a report with the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) yesterday over possible breaches of securities laws in transactions involving an associate firm.

The alleged breaches involve the purchase and sale of a 35 per cent stake in Jiangyin Neptune Marine Appliance (NPT), a China-incorporated company that manufactures lifeboats. SBI said the full extent of the possible breaches of securities laws or other offences has yet to be determined.

This comes after the release last Saturday of a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, dated Sept 6, which SBI had commissioned to review its transactions involving NPT.

PwC has recommended that the offshore firm's board seek legal advice to review its findings. These include conflicting agreements, in terms of the sums involved and the dates, on the acquisition of the 35 per cent stake in NPT in 2009 and its sale in August last year.

The board has also set up a special committee, comprising four new independent non-executive directors appointed on Wednesday, to lead SBI's probe into the PwC findings on the NPT transactions.

Mr David Gerald, president and chief executive of the Securities Investors Association of Singapore, said it has "serious concerns about the developments in this company".

"We are calling on the board to do the right thing. Corporate governance in this company seems to have taken a bashing and, in view of the PwC report, shareholders must be disappointed and worried as to investments in this company.

"We want the board to put it right and to determine why it happened and who is responsible. We are pleased the matter has been referred to the CAD."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2016, with the headline 'SBI reports alleged breaches involving associate company'. Print Edition | Subscribe