Tycoon Oei Hong Leong raises stake in Raffles Education; shares jump 22%

Mr Oei Hong Leong also sued Raffles Education last year over a plan to raise its stake in a Chinese property firm. ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Singapore businessman Oei Hong Leong raised his stake in Raffles Education Corp, a private school operator he has been in various disputes with since 2017.

Mr Oei, the second biggest shareholder of the education provider, spent about $1.2 million to buy nearly 6.4 million shares to boost his holdings to 14 per cent of company's voting shares, according to a Singapore Exchange filing on Saturday (May 1). He held 13.5 per cent of the company before the purchase.

Raffles Education's shares rallied as much as 31 per cent on Friday, prompting the exchange to send a query to the company regarding the trading activity. The company replied on the same day that it wasn't aware of any previously undisclosed information that might have caused the unusual trading activity. The stock closed up 3.6 cents or 22 per cent at 20 cents, its highest since April 2018.

Mr Oei has had a tumultuous relationship with Raffles Education for more than three years after a placement diluted his shareholding. He and his firm Oei Hong Leong Art Museum Ltd failed in attempts to oust the company's chairman and founder Chew Hua Seng in 2017 and 2020. Mr Chew has a total direct and deemed interest of around 32 per cent in the company.

Mr Oei also sued Raffles Education last year over a plan to raise its stake in a Chinese property firm.

The tycoon has had some successes. In 2018, he wrote a letter asking shareholders to vote on the termination of a planned rights offer. About three months later, Raffles Education canceled the plan, citing market conditions and the stock falling below the issue price.

∙ With additional information from The Straits Times

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