SingPost to ‘defend itself’ in arbitration over share purchase dispute; financial impact not known yet

IN AN update to a long-standing arbitration case that involves a dispute over a share purchase agreement, SingPost said it will be further defending itself against the claims filed by Tan Ho Sung over a share purchase agreement and shareholders' agreement in relation to Famous Holdings (FHPL) and its subsidiaries.

The potential impact of Tan's claim "cannot be quantified at this stage", the postal service group added in a bourse filing on Monday (Aug 15).

To recap, the arbitration primarily revolves around a put option which Tan exercised in respect of the balance 37.5 per cent of his shares in FHPL, as well as a sale and purchase of 62.5 per cent of the shares in FHPL from Tan by SingPost - the latter was completed on Feb 20, 2013.

SingPost said that the sale and purchase of the remainder of 37.5 per cent of the shares had not been completed to date.

Tan first commenced arbitration proceedings against SingPost owing to differences between the parties on the final valuation. Singpost had to pay Tan for his FHPL shares at a "fair value" following a second partial award.

In September last year, Tan also served notices of arbitration against SingPost's wholly-owned subsidiary, SingPost Logistics Investments (SPLI), and FHPL alleging the existence of a conspiracy between the SingPost and SPLI, and also his purported entitlement to dividends under such shareholding, SingPost said. The company added that Tan had not provided quantification of his claim in his case and arguments, and that it will continue to defend itself over these allegations.

Tan later filed another notice of arbitration on Feb 22 on SPLI. In it, Tan alleged there were breaches of the shareholders' agreement committed by SPLI which impacted the final amount payable for the balance shares in the ongoing arbitration against the company.

The notice of arbitration, however, did not provide a quantification of the claim and SingPost said its unit, SPLI, intends to defend itself against Tan's allegations.

As the notice of arbitration for the claim is "lacking in particulars" and was not supported by quantifications, the potential financial impact of the claim cannot be quantified at this stage, SingPost said.

The company added that it was in consultation with its advisers in relation to the dispute with Tan and will make further announcements as and when there are material developments. 

SingPost ended Friday 0.8 per cent lower or S$0.005 at S$0.625.

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