Sabana Reit independent directors quit after minority unit holders plan to withhold endorsement

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Two appointed independent non-executive directors of Sabana Shari'ah Compliant Industrial Reit (Sabana Reit) have resigned following the refusal of "certain unit holders" to endorse their appointments, the Reit's manager announced in regulatory filings on Wednesday night (March 24).

The announcements did not name the unit holders, but noted that they hold about 12 per cent of the total units in the Reit. Earlier this month, minority unit holders Quarz Capital Management and Black Crane Capital had said in an open letter that they would not endorse the proposed directors.

Mr Yeo Wee Kiong and Mr Willy Shee had been appointed on Jan 1 so that the board of directors of the manager could comprise four independent non-executive directors, with their continuing appointment subject to endorsement at the Reit's annual general meeting (AGM) in April.

After the statement by "certain unit holders", the appointed directors "have decided to withdraw their consent to stand for such endorsement" and have tendered their resignations. These take effect on April 26, before the AGM, said the manager. It added: "The manager board respects their decisions."

With their resignations, the board now consists only of chairman Tan Cheong Hin and audit and risk committee chairman Wong Heng Tew, who will also respectively replace Mr Yeo and Mr Shee as chairman and member of the nominating and remuneration committee.

The committees may be reconstituted when new independent directors join the board.

The Reit manager said: "The manager board will be searching for suitable candidates as independent non-executive directors as replacements as soon as practicable."

The manager noted that these appointment are subject to the approval of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

As with the recent appointments, the search process will be carried out independent of ESR Cayman, which wholly owns the manager and holds about 20.88 per cent of the units in the Reit.

Sabana Reit units closed unchanged at 38.5 cents on Wednesday before the news.

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