PPP Laser Clinic founder allowed to work for rival he set up

Dr Goh Seng Heng, seen here with his yacht, is embroiled in a legal battle with the company he started. There are at least two other legal actions relating to the PPP chain.
Dr Goh Seng Heng, seen here with his yacht, is embroiled in a legal battle with the company he started. There are at least two other legal actions relating to the PPP chain.ST FILE PHOTO

Doctor and daughter also win appeal to lift Mareva injunction on assets of up to $40m

The founder of aesthetic treatment chain PPP Laser Clinic, who is embroiled in a legal battle with the company he started, was yesterday allowed to work for a competitor he set up with his daughter.

This came after the Court of Appeal lifted an injunction which had restrained Dr Goh Seng Heng and his daughter Michelle Goh from joining Quikglow. Quikglow, originally set up in 2013 as Dr Michelle Goh Pte Ltd, was renamed in 2015.

The Gohs also won an appeal to lift a Mareva injunction that froze their assets worth up to $40 million.

Dr Goh, who earned between $11 million and $18 million a year from his upscale aesthetics clinic at Paragon Medical, launched the PPP brand with his daughter in 2011 after she had an idea to take such services to the heartland, the court was told yesterday. Others later invested in the business.

Father and daughter own 13.31 per cent of the shares in Aesthetic Medical Partners, the parent of Aesthetic Medical Holdings, which operates the PPP chain.

In 2015, Dr Goh sued seven other shareholders who controlled 63.47 per cent of the firm. He alleged they had gone back on their promise to give him their voting rights.

He then applied for an injunction to stop six of them calling a meeting to alter the share capital of the company, including issuing shares.

In February last year, he announced that he was stepping down from the Aesthetic Medical group, saying the company was being "driven by the wrong values" under the leadership of new investors.

The two companies then sued Dr Goh, his daughter and their company Quikglow for breach of fiduciary and contractual duties, alleging that Quikglow provides services similar to PPP's. Under this suit, the group applied for a Mareva injunction to freeze the assets of the three defendants as well as an injunction to stop the duo from joining Quikglow.

Last December, the High Court ruled against the Gohs on the injunctions. Senior Judge Lai Siu Chiu described the case as a "power struggle between the shareholders and investors" of the company.

Arguing against the Mareva injunction yesterday, Mr Adrian Tan, representing the Gohs, contended that Dr Goh, who owns a fully paid-up Sentosa Cove property, is not likely to dispose of his assets.

Mr Tan argued that the injunction to stop the Gohs from joining Quikglow was granted wrongly because they did not misuse confidential information.

There are at least two other legal actions relating to the PPP chain. A trial is expected to start in the second half of the year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2017, with the headline 'Clinic founder allowed to work for rival he set up'. Print Edition | Subscribe