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Mary Chia receives mandatory takeover bid from Suki Sushi

BEAUTY specialist Mary Chia Holdings has received a mandatory cash takeover bid at 11.1 Singapore cents apiece from Suki Sushi - operator of Japanese and fusion-concept cuisine restaurants in Singapore.

The offer price represents a 68.2 per cent premium over Mary Chia's last traded price of 6.6 Singapore cents on Wednesday, prior to the trading halt pending the announcement.

The offeror said it intends to maintain Mary Chia's listing status.

Suki Sushi is controlled by Lee Boon Leng, the husband of Mary Chia's chief executive Ho Yow Ping, who is the daughter of Mary Chia Ah Tow, the founder of the Catalist-listed company.

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The unconditional mandatory general offer follows an agreement signed on Friday with Ms Chia for Suki Sushi to acquire a 60.98 per cent stake for a total of S$11 million. Following the disposal of her interest, Ms Chia, 67, has stepped down from her position as the group's executive chairman and from all executive positions effective immediately. She has been redesignated as non-executive chairman and will resign as director on the day after the offer's close.

The offeror has received an irrevocable undertaking from Ms Ho in respect of some 19.99 per cent stake in the company beneficially owned by her.

In the offer letter, a chief reason cited for the takeover is that the group was operating in a challenging environment. It made a loss of S$5.7 million in FY2017, and as at end March was in a negative working capital position of some S$10.3 million.

Following the acquisition and the close of the offer, the offeror intends to undertake a strategic and operational review of the Group's business to strengthen its financial position and optimise its potential which may include exploring diversification into complementary sectors.