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DBS Research ceases coverage of Midas Holdings

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DBS Group shareholders got an early hongbao on Thursday: the bank reported record profits and proposed a huge jump in dividend payout - both in its final dividend and also annual payouts henceforth.

DBS Research issued a report on Friday that it is ceasing coverage of Midas Holdings, in the light of its disclosure late on Thursday that it has uncovered several litigations, enforcement orders and court documents involving companies within the group.

This includes an enforcement order filed against key subsidiary Jilin Midas Aluminium for a previously undisclosed liability of 30 million yuan (S$6.3 million). About 12 million yuan out of the unaudited ledger balance of 873 million yuan as at end 2017 was frozen by court orders.

Additionally, several orders are outstanding which freeze certain shares owned by the group, including shares in Luoyang Midas Aluminium and Dalian Huicheng Aluminium as well as its associate Nanjing Puzhen Railway Transport Co.

Midas has also uncovered a number of previously undisclosed corporations related to certain group companies incorporated in China, but it is unable to confirm information on the shareholdings and businesses of these corporations.

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In its report, DBS said that it is a "surprising development", and appears to be a "severe lapse in internal process and controls and indicates serious corporate governance issues".

DBS analyst Paul Yong said that immediate key areas of concern would be how large the assets at risk are, whether the group's key businesses can continue to operate, and what the corporate governance lapses involved are and legal redress available, if any.

"Given that we are not able to rely on the group's financial statements, it will be difficult for us to put a value to the stock," wrote the analyst in the report.

Trading in Midas' counter was suspended on Friday with its last traded price at S$0.19.

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