Singapore

Court orders brothers to buy up shares of siblings

Two brothers who are majority shareholders of the firm behind the Marigold and Vitagen brands have been ordered to buy over the shares belonging to their three siblings.

This was after the High Court agreed with the three plaintiffs that the duo had acted oppressively against the minority shareholders.

The long-running family tussle had its roots in 2008, when Malaysia Dairy Industries (MDI) founder Thio Keng Poon sued his six children and wife for pushing him out of the firm.

The 86-year-old was ousted for making double claims on travel expenses amounting to about $45,000; his explanation was that he had travelled with a female companion. After winning his appeal to be reinstated, he was ousted again.

In 2013, his children Wendy, 58, Michael, 56, and Serene, 55, sued their brothers, Ernest, 58, and Patrick, 52, claiming they had abused their control of the firms.

They also sued their mother, Madam Kwik Poh Leng, 85, for allegedly supporting the pair's "personal vendetta" against their father using company resources.

In a written judgment published on Tuesday (July 18), Justice Judith Prakash said "it is obvious that the relationships have unravelled irretrievably" and it would not be right for the three siblings to remain tied up in the company. She dismissed the claims against Madam Kwik.

The trio raised a slew of allegations against Ernest and Patrick, who are respectively the managing director and deputy managing director of MDI, but the judge concluded that only some of it amounted to minority oppression.

In a statement, the plaintiffs said they welcomed the judgment.

The buyout price will be determined by an independent valuer.

 

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