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'Win-win' for both parties in Dovechem settlement

The settlement, agreed last December, brings to an end years of legal disputes. -ST
Maryam Mokhtar

Sat, Feb 16, 2013
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - A settlement reached between Dovechem founder Ng Joo Soon and its majority shareholders will see the former withdrawing from the company.

The settlement, agreed last December, brings to an end years of legal disputes, which included a high-profile court case in which Mr Ng Joo Soon successfully sued Dovechem's directors and was reinstated as a director.

Dovechem chief executive Andrew Ng told The Straits Times on Tuesday that the settlement was a "win-win" for both parties.

"We thank God that we've reached an amicable settlement where no one loses out," he said.

"Whatever Mr Ng Joo Soon has requested, we have given to him.

"The past is the past and now, it is time for all of us to move on," he added.

The Straits Times understands that in addition to a substantial part of the assets from Dovechem Holdings, the rights to use the names Dovechem and Thiam Joo - the name originally used by the company when it was started in 1960 - would also be transferred to the founder.

Speaking to The Straits Times on Tuesday, Mr Ng Joo Soon said: "I'm satisfied, this is what I wanted and they've given it to me."

"Most importantly, the name of the company is mine. I built this company up from scratch and built it well," he added.

The remaining four shareholders are Mr Ng Joo Soon's brothers Ju Aik and Ju Lak, and nephews Andrew and Anta.

In 2011, Mr Ng Joo Soon won a court order to wind up the company's heavily indebted holding company here. He applied for it to go into liquidation in order to get back $9 million owed to him.

Mr Andrew Ng said he is now in talks with liquidators as to "how best to manage the liquidation process in line with the terms of settlement".

Mr Ng Joo Soon founded a paint and thinner firm in 1960 which grew into the Dovechem business empire, spanning Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and China, with an annual turnover of about $500 million.

Over the years, he invited several family members to join the business, and in 2002, he handed the reins to his nephew Andrew Ng but remained as director.

A falling-out with these relatives led to his removal from the board when he turned 70 in 2008.

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