SINGAPORE (Oct 17): Koufu Group’s controlling shareholder, Jun Yuan Holdings, has commenced buying back shares of the group following recent controversy over the practices of social enterprise subsidiary, Hawker Management.    

Jun Yuan is 50:50 owned by Koufu CEO and founder Pang Lim and his wife, Ng Hoon Tien, who is listed as the group's executive director. 

Through their joint investment vehicle, Lim and Ng on Tuesday purchased some 0.2 million shares of Koufu each at the price of 61.65 cents per share, raising Jun Yuan’s interest in Koufu to 78.25% from 78.21% previously.

To recap, Makansutra founder KF Seetoh released an Oct 9 open letter, entitled Please Preserve our Public Hawker Centres, to Senior Minister of State Amy Khor expressing concern over allegedly unfair practices by Social Enterprise Hawker Centre organisations, including the fees imposed on hawker centre vendors.

While Seetoh expressed concern over an unidentified SEHC-related hawker centre, in particular the 20-cents-per-tray fee, the establishment was later on revealed by local media to be Jurong West Hawker Centre, which is run by Koufu through Hawker Management.  

A petition signed by 12 Jurong West Hawker Centre tenants was also reported to have been submitted to the National Environmental Agency (NEA) in August, to call for the removal of the 20-cent-per-tray charge.  

Shares of Koufu Group have since fallen from 63 cents on Oct 10 to trade flat at 62 cents, 1.6% below the IPO price.