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Kitchen Culture shares sink as firm eyes stake in China fintech Ooway

Kitchen Culture.JPG
(from left, foreground) Ooway Technology Pte Ltd director Lincoln Teo, Kitchen Culture CEO Lim Wee Li, and Ooway co-founder Jim Rogers

KITCHEN solutions provider Kitchen Culture Holdings has proposed to acquire a 30 per cent interest in Big data credit management firm Ooway Technology for about S$23.9 million.

The purchase price will be funded via the issuance of 90 million new shares in Kitchen Culture at 26.58 Singapore cents apiece, the Catalist-listed firm said late Thursday night. 

The proposed issue price is at a 17.25 per cent discount to the volume-weighted average price of 32.12 cents on Aug 11.

Kitchen Culture’s shares tumbled on Friday morning as investors reacted to the announcement. The counter lost as much as 22.5 per cent or 7.2 cents to trade at around 24.8 cents by 9.15am. It regained some ground to 25.5 cents by 11.24am, down 20.3 per cent or 6.5 cents, with 16.5 million shares changing hands.

The Ooway group runs a credit platform in China named the Behaviour Model of Association Risk System, or bMARS, which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

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Via bMARS, the Ooway group provides credit rating services and credit management services for importers and exporters in China and South-east Asian countries including Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

On the credit platform, small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) behavioural histories are observed in their transactions, deals and activities. This behavioural footprint is then used to estimate the SMEs’ creditworthiness, bypassing traditional requirements and allowing mass-market SMEs to get access to cash for trading and expansion.

Concurrently, the Ooway group is also exploring the application of its AI-based solutions for the tourism and health industries.

Kitchen Culture said the proposed acquisition presents business opportunities in the burgeoning fintech industry, and is in line with the group’s diversification strategy.

It will be able to explore new areas such as AI, machine learning and data science, said Kitchen Culture’s executive chairman and chief executive officer Lim Wee Li.

Kitchen Culture noted that it intends to maintain its focus on the core business of kitchen solutions, although it is simultaneously exploring new opportunities to increase the group’s revenue streams. It distributes high-end kitchen systems, kitchen appliances, wardrobe systems, bathroom furniture, household furniture and kitchen accessories.

The 90 million new shares to be issued represent about 27.26 per cent of Kitchen Culture’s existing share capital and some 21.42 per cent of the enlarged share capital after the acquisition is completed.

Conditions precedent for the proposed deal include Kitchen Culture being satisfied with the results of its due diligence investigations into the target company, and approval of Kitchen Culture shareholders in an extraordinary general meeting.

Kitchen Culture has inked a sale and purchase agreement and a shareholders’ agreement with the seller, Ooway Group Ltd, to buy the 30 per cent stake in Ooway Technology Pte Ltd (OTPL). Singapore-incorporated OTPL is an investment holding and management consultancy firm, with its sole shareholder being Ooway Group Ltd.

Meanwhile, Value Vision Investment Pte Ltd (VVIPL), a former business consultant to Kitchen Culture, holds a 6 per cent stake in Ooway Group Ltd.

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