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Hot stock: No Signboard shares down by as much as 9.5% after CAD probes share buyback

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Shares in No Signboard Holdings tumbled by as much as 9.5 per cent in the early session after the company said that the Singapore Police Force's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) has launched an investigation over a recent share buyback.

SHARES in No Signboard Holdings tumbled by as much as 9.5 per cent in the early session after the company said that the Singapore Police Force's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) has launched an investigation over a recent share buyback.

The counter also resumed trading on Monday following a trading halt on April 24, when it last traded at 8.4 Singapore cents.

As at the midday break, No Signboard shares were 0.5 Singapore cent or 6 per cent down at 7.9 cents. Around 577,600 shares were traded, more than the average volume over the last 15 trading days of 135,000 shares.

Its shares have not closed below 8.2 Singapore cents since listing on the Catalist board in November 2017.

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In February, the restaurant operator said that chief executive Lim Yong Sim inadvertently instructed the company’s broker to buy back shares during a trading restriction period.

“This was an honest mistake on the part of Mr Lim as he did not notice that the share purchase at prices of up to S$0.14 exceeded the 5 per cent cap above the average closing price of the last five days permitted under the share buyback mandate of $0.1226 as at Jan 31, 2019,’’ the company explained. 

On Jan 31, the stock surged nearly 24 per cent to S$0.15, prompting the SGX query and soon after, a trading halt from the restaurant operator. 

No Signboard said that it is fully cooperating with the authorities after receiving requests on April 24 to assist investigations into the share buyback. Those shares were bought at a price that was above the regulatory limit on share buybacks and purchased during a black-out period.

From April 24 to 26, the company provided CAD with access to and copies of documents in connection with the abortive share buyback.