Business

TalkMed shares crash after CEO's suspension

Prominent oncologist Ang Peng Tiam's sentence raised after a failed appeal

Shares of TalkMed Group tumbled yesterday after its chief executive officer, Dr Ang Peng Tiam, was suspended for eight months after a failed appeal against charges of professional misconduct.

Dr Ang, a prominent oncologist, is synonymous with TalkMed, easily accounting for 40 per cent to 50 per cent of its revenue. TalkMed, with a team of just 13 doctors, has a whopping $848 million market value.

His punishment was raised from a $25,000 fine to the suspension beginning on July 25.

The counter crashed as much as 16 cents, or 21.48 per cent, to 58.5 cents after the news broke, but it found support later and ended the day down 10 cents, or 13.42 per cent, at 64.5 cents on 2.38 million shares done.

RHB Research analyst Jarick Seet said the suspension could reduce TalkMed's net profit by 15 per cent to 20 per cent, but he was surprised that the shares did not fall more.

TalkMed assured investors in a statement yesterday that Dr Ang's cases would be handed over to his colleagues, such as its chief operating officer.

But the risk remains that Dr Ang's colleagues may not be able to command the same level of fees.

Some patients could also opt to see another oncologist altogether.

TalkMed added that it remains "operationally sound", and steps have been taken to minimise disruption to patients and to the business. Dr Ang will still lead the group.

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