Business

Tycoon wants Raffles Education chairman removed

Tycoon Oei Hong Leong, who has amassed a stake of more than 10 per cent in Raffles Education, wants a shareholders' meeting to remove chairman Chew Hua Seng.

In a letter delivered to the board of directors yesterday, a copy of which was seen by The Straits Times, Mr Oei proposed that Mr Chew, who is also the firm's founder and chief executive, be replaced by an independent director and his employment terminated.

If none of the independent directors wish to take the position, Mr Oei is proposing that the board search for a suitable replacement to assume the role of non-executive chairman.

Mr Chew declined to comment yesterday. He is the company's largest shareholder with a 33.58 per cent stake, down from 36.88 per cent before the placement. Mr Oei also wants Raffles Education to disclose the identities and the number of shares placed to each of the people who received stock in the company's recent placement exercise.

The letter furnished no details of what prompted the action, but Mr Oei is a long-time shareholder in Raffles Education, entering seven years ago and raising his holdings every now and then.

Last month, he scooped up more shares in a series of market purchases that revived speculative interest in the counter, giving the shares price a boost. Mr Oei brought his stake up to 14.04 per cent. This was diluted to 12.88 per cent after the placement.

On Sept 28, after the company's shares reached a 12-month high of 33.5 cents on Sept 26, Raffles Education announced that it would place out 95 million new shares to raise net proceeds of $28.2 million to be used to repay loans and borrowings, and for working capital purposes.


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