Mr Aurol: The letter by six directors nominated by SembMarine to remove him as director was 'written without a directors' meeting with the requisite quorum'.
By Joyce Hooi
Sembcorp Marine (SembMarine) has lost its legal tussle with PPL Holdings (PPLH) for a 15 per cent stake in PPL Shipyard.
High Court Judge Tay Yong Kwang dismissed SembMarine's claims in their entirety yesterday. He allowed some of the counterclaims of the defendants - PPLH and its subsidiary E-Interface Holdings - ruling that Anthony Aurol was not validly removed as a director of the shipyard.
Mr Aurol is also the COO of Baker Technology, which owned PPLH. PPLH in turn owns the 15 per cent stake in PPL Shipyard that was at the heart of the dispute.
SembMarine said that it was getting legal advice "with a view of appealing the decision", in a filing with the Singapore Exchange yesterday.
This legal battle erupted in 2010, after Baker agreed to sell PPLH to a consortium including Chinese firm Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (YZJ) for US$155 million. This meant that the sale would make the consortium the owner of the 15 per cent stake in the shipyard.
In response, SembMarine, which owns 85 per cent of the shipyard, made a counter-offer of S$59.4 million - about one-third the consortium's offer. After SembMarine's offer was rejected, it contested the sale in court, claiming first right of refusal over the remaining 15 per cent stake.
In the wake of the lawsuit, the US$155 million that the consortium had been willing to pay dropped to US$116.25 million. As the legal battle raged on, Baker deferred the gain of S$58.2 million from the sale, pending the outcome of the lawsuit.
"If the court's ruling is not appealed against or is upheld on appeal, the company will then recognise its gain on the disposal," Baker said in a statement yesterday.