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Lost in translation: ISR clarifies on English interpretation of chairman's Mandarin comments

ISR Capital requested a lift of its trading halt on Thursday morning after executive chairman Chen Tong issued a clarification to comments he had made in Mandarin, and then translated to English, to shareholders and the press during and following an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Tuesday.

This concerned a proposed acquisition of a 60 per cent stake in Tantalum Holding (Mauritius) Ltd, which holds an exploration licence for a concession in Madagascar. Shareholders approved the acquisition at the meeting.

At the EGM, Mr Chen had indicated that ISR Capital believes that the proposed acquisition would be able to achieve certain milestones within three years, in Mandarin. He said in Mandarin: 我们是希望有 3 年的时间,就可以为公司创造一定的项目。

ISR Capital said that as the Mandarin description may be construed to contain several meanings a simultaneous English-Chinese translation was interpreted as being "profitable".

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Mr Chen subsequently met members of the media who posed similar questions during an engagement, and accordingly provided similar responses through an English-Chinese interpreter.

ISR requested a trading halt on Wednesday morning.

That night, the company in an SGX announcement in response to media reports, its board wishes to clarify that ISR Capital believes that the acquisition "will be able to achieve certain milestones within three years, taking into account the renewal of the exploration licence and subject to, inter alia, fulfilling certain conditions.

"The board would like to further clarify that it does not mean that the Madagascar project nor the company will be profitable in three years."

ISR Capital has been on the Singapore Exchange’s watch list since December 2017.

Its shares last closed on Oct 29 at S$0.003.