SGX confirms Swiber probe

The Singapore Exchange has confirmed investigations into developments at Swiber Holdings, saying that the probe is ongoing.

It said this on Wednesday in response to BT's query on the outcome of its probe into possible disclosure breaches, as contained in an Aug 16 letter addressed to Swiber's pre-July 28 board of directors. July 28 was the day when the offshore & marine (O&M) company announced its shock application for a wind-up, which it subsequently withdrew in favour of an application for judicial management.

BT, which obtained a copy of the Aug 16 letter, had earlier this week reported on the potential breaches.

SGX said that it would not comment on any ongoing investigations as they are confidential. But it noted that "a series of announcements from Swiber, including the one on July 8, came only after queries from SGX".

On July 8, Swiber issued several SGX filings including one flagging the delay of a US$710 million (S$968 million) project off West Africa. Swiber first announced this project in an SGX filing on Dec 15, 2014, and laid claims to clinching contracts totalling US$1.03 billion.

Swiber's July 8 announcement on the project delay came after a private SGX query and 18 months after the project award was first disclosed under the SGX filing.

In the letter dated Aug 16 obtained by BT, SGX made reference to the disclosure lapses on the delay of the US$710 million project and two other litigation claims made against Swiber by Likpin International Ltd and Green Energy Group Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.

The letter indicated that such disclosure lapses are being considered as potential breaches of the exchange's Rule 703 relating to disclosure of material information.

SGX said in the response to BT that the due process of investigation into any company for a possible breach of the Listing Rules involves issuing show cause letters to the relevant persons so that they can understand the exchange's concerns, can assess their cases and provide responses to the exchange.

This ties in with the context of the Aug 16 letter, in which SGX invited named parties at Swiber to make representations within 14 days from the date of the letter to the alleged breaches of Rule 703.

SGX also highlighted on Wednesday that material rule breaches occurring after Oct 6, 2015, will be referred to the Listings Disciplinary Committee (LDC). The LDC has a wider range of sanctions than the exchange on parties found to be in breach of the listing rules, including imposition of monetary penalty in excess of S$10,000 per breach, in excess of S$100,000 in aggregate for multiple breaches, issuance of a public reprimand and an order for denial of facilities of the market.

SGX said it will keep the market informed of all public enforcement and disciplinary actions.

This article was first published on Sep 15, 2016.
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