May 05, 2015

    Popular to be delisted from SGX today

    POPULAR Holdings will be delisted from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) today, as chief executive Chou Cheng Ngok successfully privatised the bookstore chain and property firm.

    In an announcement filed with SGX yesterday, Popular said that it has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Grand Apex Holdings - a firm co-owned by Mr Chou and his wife, Hu Nan Lee - after the completion of a compulsory acquisition launched on March 26.

    Mr Chou first announced his 32-cent-a-share cash offer in January to privatise Popular, in a move to avoid the Qualifying Certificate (QC) penalty that will hit Popular due to its unsold property units at Ei8ht Raja.

    Under the QC requirement, a penalty will be incurred on property units developed by foreign companies that remain unsold two years after completion.

    All listed firms are technically considered foreign.

    As the property market in Singapore remains stagnant, several other listed property firms like Wing Tai and Ho Bee have also been rumoured to be eyeing privatisation.

    Aside from its struggling property unit, Popular - which has been listed on the mainboard since April 1997 - saw its retail business struggle in an increasingly competitive market.

    Sales dropped 8 per cent to $125.5 million in the quarter ended October 31 last year, Popular said in its last results announcement in December.

    Trading in Popular shares has been suspended since March 18 as the privatisation deal progressed.