Business

SGX publicly reprimands SingPost over acquisition deal

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) has publicly reprimanded Singapore Post following a special audit that uncovered weak governance controls at the company's board.

It also found potential inaccuracies in records and a lack of proper procedures for evaluating deals and for disclosing conflicts of interest.

The rebuke closes the fiasco from a regulatory standpoint nearly 18 months after SingPost admitted an "administrative oversight" by not properly disclosing a director's interest in its purchase of freight forwarder F. S. Mackenzie.

Former lead independent director Keith Tay has since resigned. The postal and logistics group also had a board overhaul last year.

In a statement yesterday, SGX said it has concluded that SingPost breached Listing Rule 719(1). "Listed companies should have clear, established disclosure policies and appropriate systems of internal checks and controls to assure compliance with disclosure obligations," the SGX said.

In particular, the SGX noted the inaccurate disclosure in the F. S. Mackenzie acquisition announcement was not brought to the board's attention once identified.

SingPost issued a clarification only after much public commentary questioning SingPost's corporate governance - 17 months after the original announcement.

Although the SGX's enforcement powers were enhanced in October 2015, the breach happened in 2014 under an older regime, where a public reprimand is the limit of its powers for such a breach.

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