CEO Tan Thiam Hee expects trading volume to increase after upgrading to Mainboard. File photo by Sim Kih
CATALIST STOCK Koon Holdings shot up 6.5 cents (18%) yesterday (Jan 11) to close at 43 cents after it guided that FY09 pre-tax profits are substantially higher than FY08.

976,000 shares changed hands and it was one of the top gainers for the day.

An application for an upgrade to the Mainboard will be submitted on 27 Jan, around the time when its FY09 results are announced, said its CEO, Tan Thiam Hee, during a media teleconference yesterday.

The profit guidance was its response to a public notification by the stock exchange highlighting 14 Catalist companies (Koon included) that would be subject to share trading suspension if no Sponsor was appointed within the next 4 weeks.

Koon’s cumulative pre-tax profits of S$14 million for FY07 to 1H09 already makes the grade for Mainboard listing but it decided to remain a Catalist stock until the 5 Feb deadline for a Sponsor kicks in.

For an upgrade to the Mainboard, a Catalist stock only needs to show cumulative consolidated pre-tax profit of at least S$7.5 million for FY2007-FY2009, together with a minimum pre-tax profit of S$1 million for each of those three years; or cumulative consolidated pre-tax profit of at least S$10 million for FY2008-09.

Based on the company’s latest check, it has more than 600 shareholders, which exceeds the 500-minimum for a Mainboard listing.

One of Singapore’s largest domestic civil engineering, reclamation and shore protection specialists, Koon is the only company that has a secondary listing on the Catalist, which in fact is not allowed under the new Catalist regime.

Jan 11 stock price 43 cts
Market cap S$35.3 m
52-week high/low 46 / 12.5 cts
Rolling 12mth PE 3.42
Price/Cashflow 5.3 X
Price/Book 1.3 X
   Source: Bloomberg, Jan 11

Koon has a primary listing on the ASX.

The company hopes its application for an upgrade to a secondary listing on the Mainboard will be approved before the 5 Feb deadline so as to avoid suspension of its shares.

It has opted against a dual primary listing in Singapore as that means compliance with two sets of listing rules and incurring primary listing fees twice.

Shifting its primary listing to Singapore was also not ideal due to the high costs needed to buy out Australian shareholders, said the CEO.

Remaining on Catalist meant incurring sponsorship fees of S$50,000 to S$150,000 a year.  Add that to annual Catalist fees, and it becomes more expensive than the mainboard's annual listing fees of S$25,000 to S$100,000 a year.

”We expect to see more investor interest after the upgrade to the Mainboard as some funds are restricted from investing in Catalist companies,” he added.

Previous story: 
KOON: New CEO turns 1H08 loss to S$4.7 million net profits for 1H09

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