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Big Box operator TT Int's board seeks change of auditors

MAINBOARD-LISTED consumer electronics trader TT International, which is in the throes of restructuring, will seek shareholders' permission to change auditors, the board said on Monday.

It announced the plan - which will be put before shareholders at an annual general meeting on Dec 31 - along with an annual report that showed narrowing losses in FY2019.

The directors have suggested appointing Foo Kon Tan LLP as the company's auditor. KPMG, which has been TT's auditor since 1996, "had expressed its intention that it will not seek reappointment" at the meeting, the board told shareholders.

The board said that its directors, as well as the audit committee, "are of the view that it would be appropriate and timely to appoint new auditors" amid efforts to manage business costs.

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It also cited "the likelihood that the group's operations may be significantly scaled down", after the discharge of the scheme of arrangement that the company was put under in 2010.

Meanwhile, "the proposed change of auditors will enable the company to benefit from fresh perspectives and views of another professional audit firm", the board added.

The group posted a pre-tax loss of S$35 million for FY2019, compared with S$206.5 million the year before, while the annual net loss narrowed to S$1.7 million, from S$120.5 million before.

Still, TT, which has suspended trading in its shares since August 2017, had to file a notice of three years' consecutive pre-tax losses with the bourse on Monday.

The company, which held a majority stake in the failed Big Box warehouse mall in Jurong East, has been in the red since at least FY2011, records show. TT's restructuring excludes the mall-owning Big Box subsidiary, which started voluntary liquidation proceedings in September 2018.

TT had in July this year struck a deal with white-knight investor Celestial Palace for a S$48 million convertible loan, and said in an update last week that most of its creditors have approved extending both its debt moratorium and the long-stop date for its scheme.

Separately, KPMG on Dec 12 issued a disclaimer of opinion on TT's financial statements for the year to March 31, no thanks to "material uncertainties which may cast significant doubt" over whether the group could continue as a going concern. It had issued a disclaimer of opinion in its audit of TT's financial statements for the year prior as well.