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Datapulse board calls dissidents' interim dividend proposal '11th-hour manoeuvre'

DATAPULSE'S board called dissident shareholders' proposal to declare an interim dividend of 20 Singapore cents per share before June 14 if they gain board control "an eleventh-hour manoeuvre to solicit support at the coming EGM" in a Singapore Exchange (SGX) announcement on April 15.

The current board said it believed that it was an attempt to "entice" shareholders with the proposed interim dividend, as well as boardroom challenger Intan Ng's previously-mentioned plans to return S$70 million cash in dividend and through a capital reduction to shareholders.

They questioned if the new board would be properly discharging its fiduciary duties if they carried it through.

The board also claimed that Ms Ng, also known as Ng Bie Tjin, had previously contemplated seeking shareholders' approval for a payout of 32 Singapore cents per share, with 20 Singapore cents per share to be distributed by way of a dividend and 12 Singapore cents per share to be distributed through a capital reduction.

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The board alleged that she had changed her mind after the board said in an announcement on April 12 on the SGX that a capital reduction would have to be by way of a special resolution that requires the support of 75 per cent of the requisite shareholders including Ng Siew Hong who owns 29 per cent of the total issued share capital of the company.

By proposing an interim dividend rather than a final dividend, the board said Ms Ng "appear(s) to have changed her mind about seeking shareholders' approval for such dividend".

The board questioned if Ms Ng would be able to commit to shareholders on the complete execution of such a plan, including the distribution of the remaining cash in the company after the initial payout.

"The board has questioned the feasibility of such a plan, as well as the implications of such a plan for the company and its business thereafter," it said. "The board strongly believes that the company can enhance shareholder value through a business diversification from the media storage business which had deteriorated for several years."

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