SINGAPORE (May 27): Property and construction company Chip EngSeng Corporation, which is trying to diversify into the regional educational services sector, has run into a hitch in Australia.

On May 27, the company announced the termination of an acquisition of a childcare centre in Victoria, Australia. Penn Junior TW, its local subsidiary has filed a lawsuit against the seller to claim back its deposit ofA$350,000.

The acquisition was announced back in Aug 1 2019. The price tag was A$3.5 million and a 10% deposit paid, with the balance subject to the fulfilment of other conditions by the long stop date on April 1 2020.

According to Chip Eng Seng, funding from the Victorian Department of Education – part of the list of conditions - has not been approved.

As Penn Junior TW was keen to go ahead with the acquisition, it offered to extend the long stop date beyond April 1.

In a series of subsequent correspondences, lawyers acting on behalf of the sellers claim that all conditions have been fulfilled. They claim that it was Penn Junior TW that failed to meet its side of the bargain and therefore the sellers are entitled to receive the deposit of A$350,000 held by its lawyers.

Penn Junior TW asked for the deposit back but was told by the sellers’ lawyers on May 26 that they will not do so.

Penn Junior TW commenced legal proceedings on May 27 to claim back its deposit.

Besides this kindergarten in Australia, Chip Eng Seng runs schools in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Chip Eng Seng closed at 52 cents on May 27, up one cent, or1.98 cents.ENDS