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8 subsidiaries of Vibrant Group unit Blackgold facing lawsuit

EIGHT subsidiaries of logistics firm Vibrant Group are facing a lawsuit with respect to a claim that they failed to comply with certain payment and guarantee obligations, among others, under the finance documents relating to a 500 million yuan (S$100.7 million) loan facility for which they had provided security.

The suit was filed by China Minsheng Banking Corporation Limited (Chongqing branch) in the Chongqing People’s High Court against 12 parties, including eight of Vibrant Group's subsidiaries held through its fully owned subsidiary Blackgold International Holdings Pty Ltd. In an announcement before the market opened on Monday, Vibrant said it understood that the remaining four defendants include Blackgold Group chairman Yuguo Peng and two of his associates.

China Minsheng had granted the loan facility to Chongqing Heijin, one of the Blackgold subsidiaries. China Minsheng is seeking remedies including that Chongqing Heijin makes a principal repayment of 341.88 million yuan plus interest, that certain defendants be held jointly and severally liable for this debt, and that China Minsheng be given priority over payment proceeds in the event of enforcement of certain assets charged by certain defendants as security for the loan facility.

The Blackgold defendants, in consultation with Vibrant, are seeking legal advice from their lawyers in China and will be applying to the court to review the evidence submitted by the plaintiff. Said Vibrant: "The Blackgold defendants will take all necessary action to defend their interests in these proceedings."

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Vibrant said that - excluding members of the Blackgold Group - it has not provided any guarantee or security in respect of the bank borrowings, loans, debts or other liabilities of the Blackgold Group, including the loan facility, and China Minsheng has no recourse to Vibrant on this claim.

Vibrant said it would make further announcements on any material developments in relation as and when appropriate, and advised shareholders to exercise caution in dealing with its shares. Vibrant shares closed down 0.2 Singapore cent or 1.14 per cent at 17.3 Singapore cents on Friday.