Malaysian launches takeover for Blumont of 2013 penny stock crash

Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 0.9 percent after Wednesday's 1.6 percent drop.

SINGAPORE: Blumont Group, one of the stocks that was at the centre of Singapore's largest case of financial fraud, is now the subject of a takeover bid for 0.0182 cent a share 

The mandatory unconditional cash offer was triggered on Thursday by the acquisition of a 69.56% stake or 22 billion shares in Blumont by Ultimate Horizon Pte Ltd for S$4mil or 0.0181 cent a share.

Ultimate Horizon is owned by Malaysian businessman Siaw Lu Howe. 

The firm has said that its offer price would not be revised and that it is final.

According to the filing with the Singapore Exchange, Siaw is engaged in hospitality, real estate and mining services businesses primarily located in Sarawak.
Blumont, an investment holding and property, mineral and energy resources company, came into notoriety during Singapore's 2013 penny stock crash, which saw 95% of the firm's market value wiped out in a single week of trading.

The alleged mastermind was Malaysian businessman John Soh Chee Wen, who was arrested in November last year and remains in remand for manipulating the share prices of Blumont and two other penny stocks: LionGold Corp and Asiasons Capital. Together, the three counters saw catastrophic losses of S$8bil in market value during the 2013 debacle.

Soh and another accused are alleged to have also cheated Goldman Sachs International and Interactive Brokers LLC into extending them S$170mil in margin financing.

From an all-time high of S$2.0417 a share on Sept 30, 2013, Blumont was reduced to about 15 cents a share in five days of furious selling. Since 2015, the stock has been consistently trading below 1 cent a share.

According to the filing with the SGX, Ultimate Horizon, the offeror, said it "intends to undertake a review of the business of the group following the close of the Offer with a view to identifying areas in which the strategic direction and operations of the Group can be enhanced".

Part of the review may entail an assessment of the human resource requirements of the group moving forward, it said.

At present the firm has no intention of introducing any major changes to Blumont's existing business, redeploy its fixed assets or remove any existing employees, outside of the ordinary course of business.

In its second quarter ended JUne 30, 2017, Blumont recorded a loss after tax of S$6.16mil on revenue of S$861,000. According to the firm, the losses were incurred owing to a grant of 4.12 million shares under its performance share plan and a strike-off of a dormant subsidiary company.

At the time of writing, the counter is trading unchanged at 0.1 cent on volume of 104.28 million shares.


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