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Datapulse's chairman and two non-exec directors resign from board

DATAPULSE Technology's future direction has become even more hazy as three non-executive directors stepped down after a change in its controlling shareholder.

The firm's chairman, Hee Theng Fong, and non-executive directors Hillary Quah Lam Seng and Guok Chin Huat Samuel resigned with effect from Dec 10, the loss-making digital storage products firm announced in exchange filings on the same day.

Mr Hee and Ms Quah are long-time directors, having been appointed to the board in 1994 and 1999, respectively. Mr Guok was appointed in August 2012.

Their departures follow the sale of a 22.3 per cent stake in the firm by Ng Cheow Chye, the firm's deputy chairman, chief executive officer, and substantial shareholder. He had on Nov 10 disposed of his entire stake of 48.9 million shares through an off-market transaction for S$26.9 million, or 55 Singapore cents a share.

The firm later announced that Ng Siew Hong had on Nov 22 acquired a 29 per cent stake in Datapulse, after buying 63.5 million shares for S$34.9 million through an off-market transaction.

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In response to questions from the chairman and independent directors, Mr Ng said that the buyer is not related to him nor his family, and that he does not know her personally. However, he understands that Ms Ng would like to have board representation, and expects that she will be communicating with the board directly on this matter.

Following that, the company on Dec 4 invited Ms Ng to attend a board meeting that was to be held on Dec 8.

Ms Ng replied in an email via her lawyer that it will be detrimental to shareholders if efforts are not made to diversify the core business of the company, given that the core business is no longer profitable and that the firm will be ceasing its manufacturing business soon.

"It would be in the interests of the company and its shareholders to diversify the business of the company to include multi-industry investments as part of the core business of the company," she said in a letter.

Ms Ng, however, did not attend the meeting, and the board was therefore unable to obtain further information. It cautioned shareholders that it is uncertain if any potential new business will materialise.

"The company will make the necessary announcements as and when there are further development," it said in a Dec 8 announcement.

The developments come as the group looks to dispose of its property in Tai Seng Drive for S$53.5 million. It had also wanted to buy an industrial property at Toa Payoh for S$10.5 million, but on Nov 14 announced that it was terminating this option to purchase the property as the National Environmental Agency had rejected its application to change the use of the property.

The Singapore Exchange subsequently queried the firm on the impact of this on its manufacturing activities, given that the option to sell its existing property has been exercised.

Datapulse then revealed that its management is currently considering ceasing its manufacturing activities, and is exploring other business and investment opportunities.

"The company does not expect a material impact to the company's financial position if it ceases (its) manufacturing activities as that part of the business is currently loss making," it said on Nov 18.

"In the event that the management decides to continue the company's manufacturing activities and alternative premises cannot be secured prior to the completion of the proposed disposal, there will be some disruption to the company's manufacturing activities. However, the financial and business implications will not be material."

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