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Briefs: Elizabeth Holmes must go to prison, says US court; shares in Ever Glory close higher on first day of trading

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore • 7 min read
Briefs: Elizabeth Holmes must go to prison, says US court; shares in Ever Glory close higher on first day of trading
Holmes was sentenced to over 11 years in prison last year for defrauding investors. Photo: Bloomberg
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Quoteworthy: "You can have a big dream and a big ambition, but what if you cannot survive?" –— Sea’s CEO Forrest Li in an interview two years ago. Today, Sea’s earnings dipped and missed estimates, while a turnaround looks fragile.

Theranos founder must go to prison, US court ruled

Elizabeth Holmes lost her final request to remain free on bail while she appealed her fraud conviction. The ruling on May 16 by the US Court of Appeals in San Francisco means the Theranos founder will soon have to report to prison to begin her 11 years and three months sentence after she was convicted by a jury last year of defrauding investors in the blood-testing start-up.

Holmes had won a brief pause delaying the start of her prison term while the appeals court considered her request. She can still pursue the appeal of her conviction but must do so from prison. Former Theranos president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani’s similar request was also denied. He reported to prison last month to begin his 13-year sentence.

In a separate order, US District Judge Edward Davila — who presided over the trials of both Holmes and Balwani — ordered them to pay about US$452 million ($606 million) in victim restitution, saying they are jointly liable for the amount.

Davila determined that US$125 million is owed to Theranos investor Rupert Murdoch and the judge designated lesser amounts for 13 other victims. Both Holmes and Balwani have said in court filings they cannot afford to pay the nine-figure sums the government demanded from them.

See also: Briefs: US Fed signals one rate cut this year; Singapore economy expected to grow by 2.7% y-o-y in 2Q2024

Holmes started the biotech firm Theranos in 2003 as a 19-year-old university student, raising millions of dollars from high-profile investors. The company crashed in 2018 after investigations revealed its technology did not work. — Bloomberg

April NODX down 9.8% y-o-y, OCBC maintains a full-year estimate of a 3% contraction

Trade volume shrank again in April, and economists expect this to persist till the third quarter of this year. Non-oil domestic export (NODX) for April was down 9.8% y-o-y, a steeper decline versus the 8.3% drop seen in March, says Enterprise Singapore on May 17.

See also: ECB’s Vasle says more 2024 cuts probable in baseline scenario

Exports to key markets such as China, Malaysia and Taiwan dropped, although corresponding NODX numbers to the US, the EU27 and South Korea increased. Total trade, including exports and imports, dropped by 18.8% y-o-y in April, reversing the 7.9% y-o-y growth in March.

OCBC’s chief economist Selena Ling, who is keeping her 2023 NODX forecast down 3% y-o-y, expects NODX to continue to contract into the third quarter. “Recent trade data prints from Indonesia, Taiwan and South Korea have also been less than constructive,” says Ling.

“Even assuming that NODX demand from the US continues to hold up near-term (notwithstanding recent recession concerns from the market and still hawkish Fed rhetoric), the global demand engine prognosis still looks vulnerable, especially if China’s reopening pace remains tepid,” she adds.

Similarly, UOB economist Alvin Liew expects a few more months of y-o-y declines of the NODX before some improvement in the year’s second half. He is keeping his full-year forecast of a 5.5% drop in NODX.

Ling sees a risk that the global electronics industry demand turnaround may be pushed out from the second half of this year to the end of the year or even early 2024. If so, this would “not be music to the ears of key electronics exporters.”

Maybank economists Chua Hak Bin and Lee Ju Ye have turned even more pessimistic, as they downgraded their 2023 NODX forecast range from down –7% to –4% to –9% to –6%.

“The boost from China’s reopening remains elusive as its recovery has largely been driven by domestic services, while manufacturing remains subdued,” write Chua and Lee in their May 17 note.

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They expect a higher possibility of a recession in Singapore in the coming 12 months if the boost from China’s reopening fails to materialise in the second quarter.

As manufacturing and trade-oriented services continue to decline, Chua and Lee expect 1Q GDP — to be released next week — to barely grow at +01%, unchanged from the advance estimate released last month.

The official forecast is –0.5% to 1.5%, which was lowered from +0.5% to 2.5%. For now, they have kept their 2023 GDP forecast at +0.8%. — The Edge Singapore

Shares in Ever Glory close higher on the first day of trading

Ever Glory United Holdings had on May 16 announced that it raised some $3.1 million through its initial public offering (IPO), which closed at noon on the same day.

The mechanical and electrical (M&E) engineering service provider registered its final offer document on May 11. It had offered 14 million placement shares at 22 cents per share, fully subscribed.

The shares were allocated to 215 placees, 108 receiving between 1,000 and 9,000 shares each, while three were allotted a million shares each. There was no public tranche.

The group said that the funds raised from the IPO would be used to expand its existing business services in M&E engineering by expanding into the provision of M&E maintenance services, expand its M&E engineering business operations through joint ventures, strategic alliances and acquisitions, and diversification into property development and property investment to reduce reliance on its core business and create additional revenue streams. The group also intends to venture into other international countries.

Following the IPO, Ever Glory’s chairman Sun Renwang and CEO, Xu Ruibing, will hold a 38.7% stake each. Shares in Ever Glory started trading on the Catalist Board of the Singapore Exchange (SGX)S68 -

on May 18. Its shares opened at 33.5 cents, 52.3% higher than its IPO price. The counter closed at 36 cents for the day.

Ever Glory is the business of air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation systems, electrical engineering systems, fire prevention and protection systems, plumbing, sanitary and gas systems, and integrated building services. It has such projects in the public and private sectors, with some of its clients including the HDB.

In its latest FY2022 ended December 2022, earnings stood at $1.8 million, trebling from FY2021’s $0.6 million. But FY2020 saw higher earnings than FY2021 of $0.9 million, as FY2021 saw higher Covid-19 related costs.

Revenue in FY2022 was 49% higher in FY2022 at $28 million from $18.8 million in FY2021. FY2021’s revenue was also higher than FY2020’s $16.5 million by 14%.

As of April 14, the group’s order book is $112.9 million. While the group does not have a fixed dividend policy, it intends to pay at least 50% of its earnings for FY2023, FY2024 and FY2025 (in cash, additional shares or a combination of both). — Samantha Chiew

J&T Express acquires 100% share rights of Fengwang Express for RMB1.18 bil

Global logistics service provider J&T Express entered into a share transfer agreement with Shenzhen Fengwang Holdings, a subsidiary of SF Holding, on May 16. The acquisition comes following J&T Express’ acquisition of Best Inc’s express business in China in late 2021.

Under the agreement, J&T Express’ subsidiary J&T Express (Shenzhen) Supply Chain will acquire 100% share rights of Fengwang Holdings’ wholly-owned subsidiary, Shenzhen Fengwang Information Technology, for RMB1.18 billion ($227.4 million).

Shenzhen Fengwang Express is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fengwang Information. Its network covers 27 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions across China, providing high-quality services to e-commerce customers. Last year, Fengwang’s revenue exceeded RMB 3.2 billion. The overall network service quality is stable, said the group.

The transaction is subject to several conditions and China’s Examination of Concentrations of Undertakings by the State Administration for Market Regulation. The transaction consideration being settled in a “timely manner” is another factor.

J&T Express says the acquisition will enhance its integrated service capabilities and increase its competitive advantage in the e-commerce delivery sector. SF Holding adds that the resources of both companies are “complementary”, which will help ensure a smooth transaction transition. Following this, SF will focus more on developing its core businesses, such as domestic mid-to high-end express services. — Felicia Tan

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