THE EDGE SINGAPORE - SGX RegCo is reminding Novus Corporate Finance that it is obliged, as a continuing sponsor to Catalist-listed Axington Inc, to assess the suitability of individuals appointed to the company’s boards. 

See also: Axington shares drop 20% following admission of doctored Obama photos by company in Newcastle United takeover bid

The checklist is to include their experience, expertise, character and integrity. 

“Where necessary, appropriate investigations should be undertaken to evaluate suitability in light of recent developments,” said SGX RegCo on August 24.

See also: Axington to hold EGM on proposed name change and change to core business

“SGX RegCo has engaged Novus Corporate Finance Pte Ltd, Axington Inc’s continuing sponsor, on its obligations under the Catalist Rules and we expect a response from Novus soon,” said SGX RegCo.

Novus took over as the new continuing sponsor of Axington just on July 13 from UOB Kay Hian.

Earlier in the day, shares of Axington Inc dropped by 20%, in the wake of news that cousins Terence and Nelson Loh were part of the Bellanova Group (BN Group) that recently admitted to doctoring photos of former US President Barack Obama in the company's publicity photos. 

BN Group, on its website, claims to have revenue of $12 billion, 31 entities and has a total headcount of 23,000.

The Lohs took control of Axington Inc following the completion of the general offer for the company on July 13, 2020, via Dorr Global Healthcare International Pte Ltd which both individuals control. 

While neither of the two Lohs are Axington directors, Shen Che, also known as Evangeline Shen, has been recently named the non-independent non-executive chairman of Axington.

Shen, 32, is named as a co-founder and chairman of the BN Group.

She was appointed to the Axington’s board just on July 15, together with six other individuals.

They are executive director Marjory Loh Erchang, 37, sister of Terence and cousin of Nelson. She is now managing director, executive director, head of central shared services and business development at Novu Medical Aesthetic Clinic.

Wong Soon Yuh, 41, has been named non-independent, non-executive director. Wong is business assistant to the chairman’s office, Novena Global Healthcare, one of the entities under the BN Group.

Chua Siong Kiat, 49, who is now director at Lighthouse Business Consulting, has been named the new lead independent director.

Another independent director, Low Junrui, 39, is the CEO and director of Hydra X since 2018. Hydra X was mentioned as one of the entities that are part of the BN Group, according to marketing materials sent to Reuters.  Hydra X was also said by BN Group to be designing and implementing a trading system for SGX. This was denied by both SGX and Hydra X, according to Reuters. According to Axington's filings of Low's appointment, between 2011 and 2013, he was a legal counsel with SGX.

Last but not least, another independent director is Roberto Dona, 59, associate dean for professional engagement at Xi’an-Jiaotong Liverpool University.

Axington shares recovered from the 20% intra-day drop to close the day at 22 cents, down 2.22%. 


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