Friday, August 10, 2012

Founder plans to delist Hersing

Straits Times: Fri, Aug 10

THE founder of real estate group Hersing Corporation wants to delist the company from the Singapore Exchange and take it private.

Mr Harry Chua, the shy and reticent chairman of Hersing, is launching, through his private vehicle AHC, a general offer at 23cents each for all the shares he does not already own.

The offer is priced at a 21 per cent premium over the stock's last traded price of 19 cents on Tuesday, prior to the announcement. However, it is a mere 6 per cent premium over the volume weighted average price in the last 12 months.

The offer is conditional on an acceptance level of 90 per cent of the share capital. Mr Chua, who currently owns 70.3 per cent of Hersing, intends to compulsorily acquire all outstanding shares if his offer succeeds.

In the offer document prepared on its behalf by United Overseas Bank, AHC said the buyout "represents a unique cash exit opportunity for shareholders to realise their entire investment, an option which may not otherwise be readily available due to the low trading liquidity of the shares, without incurring brokerage and other trading costs".

As Hersing shares are thinly traded, the company has accessed the capital markets for funding only once in the last 10years.

That was a share placement of about 8.6 per cent of its then share capital in September 2010.

Taking Hersing private will allow it to dispense with costs associated with complying with listing and other regulatory requirements, as well as human resources that have to be committed for such compliance, the document noted.

Hersing - which also offers financial services (Western Union), self storage (StorHub), and design and furnishing services - was listed in 1998, with Mr Chua the driving force behind it.

Even the company name was derived from his Chinese name, Wah Eng, which can be interpreted as he ping (peace) or gao xing (happiness).

Last September, he quit as chief executive but remained chairman.

In the document, AHC said it has no intention of making major changes to the Hersing business.

"It is envisaged that the company will continue operating in its present form after the offer."

It also does not intend to make changes to the management team.

Hersing on Monday reported a 46.3 per cent jump in second-quarter net profit to $5.2 million on the back of a 19.7 per cent rise in revenue to $82.6 million.

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C
Senior Sales Director
DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA) Pte Ltd (L3006301G)

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