Sabana Reit manager responds to SGX queries on resignation of director

THE Singapore Exchange has pressed on with its queries to the embattled manager of Sabana Shariah-Compliant Real Estate Investment Trust (Sabana Reit), this time in relation to the resignation of a non-executive director who cited "certain internal dynamics" that has led to her decision.

In its response announced late Wednesday night to SGX queries, Sabana Reit's manager Sabana Real Estate Investment Management said that Ng Shin Ein felt that the Reit's fundamental issue related to its inability to access a good pipeline of properties but it was difficult to achieve this given the Reit Manager's shareholding structure.

The regulator also pushed for more clarity on Ms Ng's remarks in her resignation letter, specifically on her lack of confidence over the framework and process in place to address the internal dynamics, which she said coud hamper her ability to contribute meaningfully.

To this, the Reit manager replied: "The board understands from Ms Ng that while strategic shareholders with substantial quality assets would usually want to take over majority interest in the Reit Manager, it is beyond the board's control to compel any shareholder of the Reit Manager to divest its stake."

The manager, which is facing an intensifying unitholder backlash for its underperformance, also pointed out to an earlier announcement made by itself and Vibrant Group, the Reit's sponsor, that a strategic review of the Reit will be conducted to consider all options to further the sustainable growth of Sabana Reit and the interests of its unitholders.

The SGX also queried the manager on whether the audit committee was aware of the internal dynamics within the company that led to her resignation and to disclose the committee's views on the issues raised by Ms Ng.

"This matter does not relate to the Audit Committee. As set out in the resignation announcement, Ms Ng has stated that there are no unresolved differences with the board," replied the manager.


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