SPH 'unable to comment' on any special dividend from sgCarMart divestment

The vote marks the end of a fierce takeover battle between Cuscaden and rival bidder Keppel Corp for SPH. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) said on Monday (March 7) that it is "unable to comment" on whether the company will declare a special dividend in relation to the divestment of sgCarMart to Toyota.

The company was responding to shareholder queries in a bourse filing ahead of a virtual Investors' Day on Tuesday relating to the proposed acquisition of SPH by consortium Cuscaden Peak.

Shareholders had asked if SPH will declare and pay a special dividend with the successful divestment of sgCarMart to Toyota. It was announced in February that the automotive marketplace was being sold to a Toyota consortium in an all-cash deal, valuing sgCarMart at $150 million.

"At this time, we are unable to comment on whether or not the company will declare a special dividend for this divestment," SPH said.

The company noted that under the Cuscaden Implementation Agreement, if any dividend, right or other distribution is declared, paid or made by SPH after the scheme joint announcement date and before the effective date of the scheme, Cuscaden has the right to reduce its cash consideration by the amount of such dividend.

This does not include the six cents dividend per share already paid in respect of financial year 2021, comprising the three cents interim dividend paid on May 21 last year, and the three cents final dividend already paid on Nov 30, or the distribution-in-specie of SPH Reit units.

Cuscaden - a consortium backed by Hotel Properties, businessman Ong Beng Seng, and two Temasek-linked entities, CLA and Mapletree - is seeking to buy SPH with an offer of $2.40 a share, comprising $1.602 cash and 0.782 of an SPH Reit unit through a distribution-in-specie by SPH.

The consortium made the unsolicited offer for SPH in October last year, in a battle against Keppel Corporation for SPH's assets. Last month, SPH said it has terminated Keppel Corp's implementation agreement in relation to the latter's takeover offer, while pressing ahead with preparations for shareholders to vote on Cuscaden's offer.

SPH also said on Monday it has not received any other unsolicited offer since it received the offer from Cuscaden last year.

Shares of SPH closed at $2.34 on Monday, before the announcement.

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