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Oceanus back in the black, hopes to exit SGX watch list

OCEANUS Group, which is on the Singapore Exchange's (SGX) watch list, had much to boast about for its earnings report for 2017.

The premium seafood supplier said on Thursday that it was finally back in the black, with a net profit attributable to shareholders of 176 million yuan (S$36.8 million) for the year ended Dec 31, 2017, and its revenue for the period doubled to 21 million yuan from a year ago.

"With a strengthened balance sheet and a positive net profit position, the group is starting FY2018 on a strong note," it said.

Oceanus said that it is in a positive net cash position, of 114 million yuan, for the first time in seven years.

"With regards to the watch list, the group has met all necessary criteria required and hopes to be granted our exit in FY2018. The group will continue to work closely with our auditors and SGX to accelerate the process," it added.

Oceanus also announced earlier on Thursday that its plan to take a 60 per cent stake in an Australian abalone processor and retailer has been challenged by vendors of the target company's shares.

The group said that it had received letters from vendors of BNY Abalone World Factory Outlet's shares, alleging that the acquisition is void and have demanded a re-transfer of BNY shares.

The vendors have also commenced legal proceedings in Australia against the company, Oceanus said.

In response, Oceanus said that it has obtained legal advice and disputed the vendors' allegations, and has also taken steps to enforce its rights.

Back in July 28, 2017, Oceanus announced that it had entered into a collaboration agreement with BNY Abalone World Factory Outlet to "further sales expansion" into the Melbourne, Sydney and Asia-Pacific markets.

Oceanus would own a 60 per cent stake in BNY, with the latter being renamed Oceanus Australia Abalone World, focusing on production, quality control, formulation of new recipes, managing the duty free store in the Gold Coast and driving domestic sales within Australia.

The announcement said that both companies will "will work closely together in research and development activities to develop new technologies for the production of abalones, formulating new ingredients and developing new products".

At the time, Oceanus' executive director and chief executive Peter Koh described the company as having a "close working relationship" with BNY, saying that he was pleased that both companies have taken this step to pursue growth together.

As a result of the allegations above, Oceanus said, BNY has blocked access to its accounting and other records, which Oceanus intended to include in its consolidated financial results for FY2017.

Oceanus said that it will announce its FY2017 results without the BNY information, and is of the view that the information will have no material impact on its results.

It closed at 0.9 Singapore cent, up 0.1 Singapore cent or 12.5 per cent, on Thursday.