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Jardine Strategic acquisition: A shortfall of corporate governance

17 Mar 2021 09:00


ON March 8, Jardine Matheson Holdings (JMH) surprised the market when it announced that it will acquire the 15 per cent of Jardine Strategic Holdings (JSH) that it does not already own, through an amalgamation of JSH and a wholly-owned subsidiary of JMH under the Bermuda Companies Act. The transaction is expected to be completed by April 2021, following which JSH will cancel its listings on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and the Bermuda Stock Exchange.

The untangling of the corporate structure is welcomed from a corporate governance and investor's standpoint. But how the transaction is being carried out and the lack of checks and balances have left a bad taste.

JMH offered JSH shareholders US$33 per share. But it is really a "decree" because minority shareholders of JSH have no say. The announcement makes that abundantly clear, stating that while the amalgamation resolution must be approved by at least 75 per cent of the votes cast, JMH and its subsidiaries are allowed to vote and they have undertaken to vote for it. It pronounced that "the requisite Jardine Strategic shareholders' approval is certain to be secured". JSH does not even need shareholders' approval to cancel its listing on the LSE.

To rub salt into the wound, its latest results announced on March 11 reported that its net asset value on a market value basis is US$58.22 per share - more than 75 per cent higher than the US$33 per share offered.

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Source: Business Times

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