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Arbitration over share-purchase dispute issued partial award, says SingPost

SINGAPORE Post on Monday said that an arbitration filed over a dispute in a share-purchase agreement has been issued a partial award, with various claims against the group dismissed.  

This arbitration pertains to disputes between SingPost and Tan Ho Sung over a share-purchase agreement and shareholders' agreement, in relation to Famous Holdings (FHPL) and its subsidiaries. 

In particular, it refers to the transfer of Mr Tan's remaining 37.5 per cent shares in FHPL to SingPost following the exercise of his put option for those shares, said SingPost in a regulatory filing. 

In a 2013 announcement about SingPost's initial acquisition of 62.5 per cent of the shares in FHPL from Mr Tan, the group noted that the consideration for the remaining 37.5 per cent of FHPL shares from Mr Tan is to be determined based on the final valuation of the FHPL group. 

SingPost said it had also previously disclosed in its annual reports (2017/18 and 2018/19) that Mr Tan had commenced arbitration proceedings as there were "differences between the parties" on the final valuation. 

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SingPost, in consultation with its advisers, took the view that the proceedings were "without merit". 

The Arbitral Tribunal on June 3, 2020, issued its partial award in the arbitration, and has dismissed Mr Tan’s various claims against SingPost for damages for breach of the shareholders’ agreement, conspiracy, and inducement of breach of contract, said the group.

The Tribunal also ruled in SingPost's favour on material accounting and computational issues under the share-purchase agreement. These are the most significant determinants of what sums - if any - are due to be paid either by SingPost to Mr Tan, or vice-versa, for the transfer of Mr Tan's remaining shares in FHPL to SingPost.

Based on its findings, the Tribunal has directed both parties to see whether they can agree on the final amount payable for the transfer of Mr Tan's remaining shares in FHPL to SingPost, failing which the Tribunal will make a final determination.

The Tribunal has also reserved the issue of costs to be determined at a later date.

SingPost said it is in talks with its external counsel and accounting experts to compute the sums it understands as being due from Mr Tan to SingPost. 

The group added that it will engage with Mr Tan’s counsel and the Tribunal to finalise these sums, following which SingPost can then quantify the potential financial impact of this arbitration. 

SingPost will make further annoucements following any further partial or final determination by the Tribunal.

Shares of SingPost closed up 1.2 per cent to S$0.82. 

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