Mary Chia resigns as director; stock suspended until it meets public float


MARY Chia has resigned as director and non-executive chairman from the eponymous beauty and wellness company she founded with effect from Oct 7, after a general offer closed on Friday.

The offeror is Suki Sushi, which is controlled by Lee Boon Leng, the husband of Mary Chia Holdings' chief executive, Ho Yow Ping. Ms Ho is the daughter of Ms Chia.

Suki Sushi - whose offer was at 11.1 Singapore cents per share - now has a 93.18 per cent stake in the firm.

The mandatory general offer in cash for Mary Chia Holdings was triggered after Suki Sushi entered into a deal to acquire 60.98 per cent of the firm from Ms Chia for S$11 million.

The takeover offer announcement issued in August, said the group has been operating in a tough environment going by its fiscal 2017 results. It had incurred S$5.7 million net losses and was in a negative working capital position of some S$10.3 million as at end-March.

Mary Chia Holdings' counter will not be able to trade until it meets the 10 per cent minimum public float, according to the Singapore Exchange's Catalist rules.

According to Suki Sushi, there are plans to keep Mary Chia listed, and it said that it will take necessary steps to restore the company's public float.

However, the company also added that there is "no assurance that timely and appropriate actions can be taken as these are dependent on, inter alia, prevailing market conditions at the relevant time."

The SGX may allow the company three months - or longer, if the exchange agrees to it - to raise the public float back up to at least 10 per cent, failing which the company may be delisted.

Following Ms Chia's resignation, the board consists of Ms Ho as the CEO; Yeung Koon Sang as lead independent director; Pao Kiew Tee and Periowsamy Otharam, both independent directors. There is no change to the composition of the audit committee, remuneration committee and nominating committee.

Suki Sushi said in August that following the acquisition, it will "undertake a strategic and operational review of the group's business with a view to strengthening the group's financial position and identifying areas in which potential may be optimised".

Mary Chia Holdings added that it intends to make use of Mr Lee's "industry network, experience, expertise and resources" to revitalise the company.

Mr Lee has over 15 years' experience in the retail, consumer and hotel industries. Suki Sushi, which is controlled by him, operates Japanese restaurants in Singapore under various brands including Momiji, Nihon Mura Kaiten and Sakura. It also offers food catering services and sells frozen and dry food products.