SINGAPORE (June 8): Eagle Hospitality Trust (EHT) has confirmed that its current directors of the manager have attended interviews with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to assist in investigations.
In an update on Monday, the REIT says it intends to “cooperate fully” with the MAS, as well as the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), who have commenced joint investigations into current and former directors, and officers responsible for managing EHT in connection with suspected breaches of disclosure requirements.
EHT’s board also understands that former directors of the managers have either already been interviewed, or will be interviewed in due course as part of the investigations.
On June 5, the MAS and CAD issued a joint statement which attributed the investigation to a referral by the Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo), and follows a review announced by SGX RegCo and MAS on Apr 20.
The investigations also came shortly after the REIT’s non-executive chairman Howard Wu and deputy chairman Taylor Woods resigned from the REIT’s board of directors on May 26 following the discovery of interested party transactions that were inked by the duo on behalf of the trust's master-lessor subsidiaries.
Wu and Woods, who also double up as co-founders and principals of the REIT’s sponsor Urban Commons, had reportedly signed agreements that were “not on usual commercial terms” and therefore “prejudicial” to the interests of EHT and its minority stapled securityholders.
See: MAS, CAD commence joint investigation into EHT's management
As of Monday, EHT says the authorities have not disclosed any further details of the investigation to the managers.
Separately, the MAS has also confirmed that their review of the application submitted by Far East Consortium International Limited (FECIL) as a proposed new controller of the REIT manager is “in progress.”
On June 3, EHT said FECIL had signed a non-binding conditional proposal with Urban Commons which would see it acquire a controlling stake of 70% in EHT’s REIT manager and trustee-manager.
This would be done by way of FECIL subscribing for one convertible preferred share in each of the managers. These shares would then be converted to ordinary shares in the respective upon the fulfilment of certain conditions including the restructuring and recapitalisation of EHT.
EHT’s manager says the board will update shareholders in the event of “any material developments” pertaining to the FECIL proposal.
Units in EHT last changed hands at 13.7 US cents prior to a voluntary trading suspension that took effect on Mar 24.