Share buyback during blackout period an honest mistake: No Signboard

Seafood restaurant operator No Signboard Holdings said the share purchase inadvertently resulted in two breaches - "dealing in the shares of the company during the blackout period and the purchase of shares at a price which exceeded the share price c
Seafood restaurant operator No Signboard Holdings said the share purchase inadvertently resulted in two breaches - "dealing in the shares of the company during the blackout period and the purchase of shares at a price which exceeded the share price cap". Its shares resumed trading yesterday and closed down 14.67 per cent to 12.8 cents.PHOTO: NO SIGNBOARD

No Signboard Holdings chief executive Lim Yong Sim inadvertently instructed the company's broker to buy back shares of the seafood restaurant operator during a trading restriction period, the company said on Sunday in response to a Singapore Exchange (SGX) query.

The company said it had held its annual general meeting on the morning of Jan 31 to approve its share buyback mandate.

Mr Lim later instructed the company's broker, UOB Kay Hian, to queue to buy the shares at a price of up to 14 cents each. By 12.12pm on Jan 31, about 1.07 million shares were bought.

"This was an honest mistake on the part of Mr Lim as he did not notice that the share purchase at prices of up to 14 cents exceeded the 5 per cent cap above the average closing price of the last five days permitted under the share buyback mandate of 12.26 cents as of Jan 31, 2019," the company said.

The stock surged nearly 24 per cent to 15 cents on Jan 31, prompting the SGX query and soon after, a trading halt from the restaurant operator.

As No Signboard had not held its audit committee and board meetings to approve its results for the three months ended Dec 31, the share purchase was carried out during the blackout period, during which dealing in the company's securities was restricted.

"The share purchase has inadvertently resulted in two breaches, that is, dealing in the shares of the company during the blackout period and the purchase of shares at a price which exceeded the share price cap," the company said.

In the wake of the breaches, No Signboard's sponsor, RHT Capital, has directed No Signboard Holdings chief executive Lim Yong Sim to attend directors' training to re-familiarise himself with the listing rules and other regulatory requirements.

In the wake of the breaches, No Signboard's sponsor, RHT Capital, has directed Mr Lim to attend directors' training to re-familiarise himself with the listing rules and other regulatory requirements.

The firm has also been directed by the sponsor to immediately implement a comprehensive internal policy and procedure on the share buyback process.

Shares in No Signboard resumed trading yesterday and closed down 14.67 per cent to 12.8 cents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 05, 2019, with the headline 'Share buyback during blackout period an honest mistake: No Signboard'. Print Edition | Subscribe