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SGX reports on long-suspended counters; 11 of 20 trying to resume trading

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THE Singapore Exchange (SGX) will publish half-yearly updates on long-suspended counters and unveil improvements to the admissions process as part of its efforts to enhance its oversight of companies, the market operator announced on Thursday.

THE Singapore Exchange (SGX) will publish half-yearly updates on long-suspended counters and unveil improvements to the admissions process as part of its efforts to enhance its oversight of companies, the market operator announced on Thursday.

Details about the improvements to the admissions process have not been disclosed, but they will be announced in conjunction with the Association of Banks on Friday. Market sources have told The Business Times that updated guidelines for due diligence on IPOs are expected.

"Our oversight of companies occurs at two stages - the first is at the admission stage, when companies are seeking to list on SGX, and the second is when companies are already listed and we regulate their continuing obligations," SGX chief regulatory officer Tan Boon Gin said at a media briefing. "I believe we can improve on both fronts."

The new report includes notes on the current status of the 20 SGX-listed companies that have been suspended for at least a year.

Of those, 11 are exploring trading resumptions or reverse takeovers. Four are being delisted, of which two are exploring making an exit offer. Three are in the midst of litigation or have been placed under judicial management. Another two have yet to fully respond to SGX's queries.

The median length of suspension for those companies is just under three years. Fibrechem Technologies, which is currently exploring a reverse takeover after being placed under provisional liquidation, has had the longest suspension, dating back to Feb 25, 2009. The shortest suspension is from Golden Energy And Resources, which completed a reverse takeover in 2015 and has until June 30, 2016, to restore its public float. Golden Energy has been suspended since April 23, 2015.

Some of the information in the updates was discovered by SGX through communications with the companies and has not been announced to the market.

For example, in the case of China Sun BioChem Technology Group Co, SGX's report revealed that the company's directors last informed the exchange that the company had no viable business or financial resources to maintain its listing status. The company, which was suspended in March 2009, last made an announcement in 2012.

"In many instances, the companies have been making few, or even no, disclosures in recent times," Mr Tan said. "SGX has therefore decided in these instances to provide updates on our engagement with the companies, so as to make transparent to shareholders our engagement efforts."

Veteran trader Mano Sabnani welcomed the updates.

"Some of these companies have literally stopped announcing anything," he said. "Even if it's a blank, it's good for the stock exchange to say for so and so company we have not been able to get anything from them."