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Hanwell, Tat Seng chairman quits after bankruptcy disclosure

Hanwell, Tat Seng chairman quits after bankruptcy disclosure

Source: Business Times
Article Date: 25 Sep 2020
Author: Annabeth Leow

Allan Yap, 64, the chairman since 2002, has since stepped down on Wednesday, according to a late-night bourse filing on Thursday from Hanwell.

Mainboard-listed Hanwell Holdings' executive chairman has quit the board, with the company adding it had not been aware of his disqualifying bankruptcy until Wednesday.

Allan Yap, 64, the chairman since 2002, has since stepped down on Wednesday, according to a late-night bourse filing on Thursday from Hanwell.

He has resigned, also with immediate effect, as executive chairman of 64 per cent-owned Tat Seng Packaging Group as well.

Separately, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) disclosed it will investigate the matter of Mr Yap's directorships.

He was still listed in its records as a director of both Hanwell and Tat Seng as of Thursday, an Acra spokesperson had told The Business Times.

The Companies Act bars undischarged bankrupts from being directors.

Mr Yap was removed as executive chairman of Hong Kong-listed Master Glory after being declared bankrupt in August by a court in Hong Kong.

But, in Singapore, neither Hanwell nor Tat Seng had prior to Thursday night made announcements on his board membership.

The board has now stressed in its response to queries from bourse operator Singapore Exchange (SGX) that it did not know of the bankruptcy, until told by the SGX this week.

It added that the bankruptcy has "minimum implications on the company's business, financials and operations" and no material impact.

The SGX had asked Hanwell to explain, among other points, the implications of Mr Yap's bankruptcy status on his ability and suitability to remain as a director and chairman.

The SGX also asked if there are unsatisfied judgments against him, and what the implications of any such judgments would be for Hanwell.

According to the Hanwell board, Mr Yap did not update the company on his status because of an oversight, as he was "extremely busy engaged on his other personal commitments".

With his latest resignation, he confirmed that he has no disagreement with the other directors, and there are no matters that must be brought to the attention of Hanwell and Tat Seng shareholders, the board added.

It said Mr Yap reported being adjudged bankrupt only in Hong Kong, "as far as he knows", and Hanwell is not aware of whether he was made a bankrupt in any other jurisdiction.

The office of executive chairman is now vacant, with six members left on the board.

The nominating committee, in consultation with the rest of the board, "will be taking steps to source either internally or externally to fill the vacancy", the directors said.

Hanwell will make relevant announcements on the appointment of a new chairman "as and when required", the board added.

Separately, Mr Yap's spouse Tang Cheuk Chee - one of the remaining executive directors - has been building up her direct interest in Hanwell in recent weeks, according to disclosure forms also out on Thursday night.

Her stake went from 8.94 per cent on Sept 7 to 10.33 per cent on Sept 21, after market transactions involving more than S$288,000 in all.

Hanwell shares last traded at S$0.29 on Thursday, up by half a cent or 1.75 per cent, before a trading halt during the mid-day break.

Tat Seng, which also called a halt at 12.30pm, last traded at S$0.545.

Additional reporting by Tay Peck Gek

Source: Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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