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Acesian Partners settles legal disputes, issues profit warning

CATALIST-LISTED Acesian Partners has reached a settlement on several long-standing legal disputes relating to its wholly-owned subsidiary, Acesian Star (S) Pte Ltd (ASPL), which is under judicial management.

Acesian Partners said on Wednesday that all parties have agreed to amicably settle, on a "drop hands" basis without the payment of any money by and to any party.

The company also issued a profit warning for the fiscal year ending Dec 31, 2019, in another filing on Wednesday. It noted that the settlement is expected to have an adverse material impact on the group's consolidated net tangible assets and earnings per share for the year.

This is mainly due to the likely write-off of the majority of ASPL's non-recoverable assets, which is estimated to be S$5.1 million after being partially offset by the extinguishment of debts from the settlement, Acesian Partners said.

However, the expected losses are not expected to affect the group's ability to continue as a going concern, and the group's financial position is "stable", it added.

Among the legal proceedings discontinued under the settlement was an arbitration filed by ASPL against Takenaka Corp over a drawn-out payment dispute for works done at Singapore Changi Airport's Terminal 4. The Japanese firm was the T4 project's main contractor, and it had awarded two sub-contracts to ASPL in 2014 and 2015 before terminating ASPL from both projects in 2016.

ASPL and its additional judicial manager KordaMentha will also drop a clawback action they had filed against Acesian Partners, two subsidiaries and four employees to seek repayment of preferential payments made by ASPL to the three firms.

Meanwhile, Acesian Partners will withdraw its appeal against the High Court's decision to award a sum of S$1.98 million to ASPL's judicial manager, Deloitte & Touche.

The settlement brings the protracted disputes to a close and allows the Acesian Partners group to focus its time and resources to reorient and restructure its businesses, the company said.

Shares of Acesian Partners, which provides environment-control exhaust systems, were unchanged at S$0.013 as at 9.13am.