Thursday, December 18, 2008

Daily news - 18 Dec

Singapore Food Industries shutting down Swissco
Singapore Food Industries (SFI) is shutting down its Ireland-based loss-making business which had raised concerns amongst minority shareholders of its predator, Singapore Airport Terminal Services (SATS). SFI said that it had asked the High Court of Dublin to wind up operations of its loss-making convenience food business, Swissco. Swissco is 100 per cent owned by SFI's Cresset Ltd. The business has been bleeding to the tune of almost $8 million, raising concerns amongst shareholders of SATS. The Changi Airport ground operator and Singapore Airline subsidiary recently announced a $335 million takeover of Temasek Holdings' 69 per cent stake in Singapore's largest integrated food specialist. The value of the deal is likely to balloon to $509 million following an expected general offer. But some minority shareholders of SATS had expressed reservations about some of SFI's businesses which the former would be ingesting. And Swissco was a key concern. SFI had hoped to sell the business, thus avoiding the costs of closing it down, but found little interest in the market.

CapitaLand loses top exec, a trusted deputy of CEO
CapitaLand has lost another top executive - chief corporate officer Tham Kui Seng, a trusted deputy of group president and CEO Liew Mun Leong. In a regulatory filing with the Singapore Exchange yesterday, CapitaLand cited the reason for Mr Tham's departure as his desire 'to pursue personal interest'. Mr Tham, 51, is understood to have been planning to leave CapitaLand for quite some time. Earlier this year, he went on a six-month sabbatical. BT understands that Mr Tham, a president's scholar, was the one that Mr Liew trusted most among his 'inner kitchen cabinet' - as Mr Liew calls his inner circle. In response to BT's queries, CapitaLand's spokesman released a statement issued by Mr Liew to staff: 'Kui Seng has been a great deputy to me. He is one of my ablest senior staff and has contributed enormously to the success of the company. However, he has indicated to me his intention to retire early from the company a few years ago to pursue his personal interest. 'I have reluctantly agreed this time to let him have his way as it will be unfair to persuade him to stay longer especially since we have been able to handle his work fairly well while he was away on six months sabbatical leave recently.' Mr Tham was one of the four top-paid executives in the group who earned $3 million or more in total compensation last year, sources say.

Haw Par shares surge on takeover talk
Haw Par shares jumped 18 cents or 5.1 per cent to $3.70 yesterday on speculation that a takeover could be in the works. A report in The Straits Times had said that United Overseas Bank (UOB) chairman Wee Cho Yaw had already amassed more than 30 per cent in Haw Par - the trigger for a mandatory takeover bid. It said that Mr Wee, who holds the shares in various firms linked to him, crossed the key threshold holding nearly two weeks ago. Haw Par's crown jewel is the 4 per cent it owns of UOB and is said to be the reason why Mr Wee and his family keep a tight control of the company.

Source: Kim Eng

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