Frankly Speaking: Intriguing diversification amid boardroom battle

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on February 6, 2023 - February 12, 2023.
Frankly Speaking: Intriguing diversification amid boardroom battle
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A brewing boardroom battle is drawing attention to Revenue Group Bhd. In one corner is its chairman Datuk Eddie Ng Chee Siong and in the other are his co-founders Brian Ng Shih Chiow and Dino Ng Shih Fang.

After brothers Brian and Dino were suspended from their executive duties on Jan 4, the share price of the company came under further pressure. In fact, it has been downhill for Revenue since April last year after it failed to win one of the five digital bank licences awarded by Bank Negara Malaysia.

However, on Jan 16, just two weeks after the brothers were suspended, the company saw heavy trading volume accompanied by a sharp rise in its share price. Almost 140 million shares, or close to 30% of the company’s share base, was traded that day. The normal daily trading volume of Revenue, which offers electronic payment solutions, is less than 20 million shares.

Revenue’s share price shot up to 75 sen on Jan 16 before subsequently retreating. The increase in share price accompanied by heavy trading volume suggests that individuals or a group were chasing up the shares.

Those who bought the shares on Jan 16 will hold the key in deciding which faction will control Revenue after the two extraordinary general meetings (EGMs) slated for Feb 17 because the shareholding easily represents more than 20% of the company.

The first EGM was called by the company to remove Brian and Dino from the board. The second EGM was called by the brothers, seeking the removal of Eddie and eight other directors from the board. The brothers are also seeking shareholder approval for Revenue to diversify into property development, construction and property investment.

Interestingly, the two Ng brothers are proposing business diversification at a time when they should be fighting tooth and nail to retain their executive powers so that they are not ousted.

What is the urgency and rationale for diversifying into property development?

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