JSM Indochina started trading again on London’s AIM board Wednesday but the Cambodia- and Vietnam-focused property investment fund has suspended any new investment activities, according to a statement.
The suspension comes as non-executive directors appointed to the board during an extraordinary general meeting on December 7 visit the region to review the fund’s investment strategy, as requested by shareholders at the London meeting.
“Pending the outcome of the comprehensive review of the company’s investment strategy mandated by shareholders, the company confirms that any new investment activities are currently on hold,” the statement read. “The company will continue to honour its existing contractual obligations.”
New board Chairman Scott Verges could not be reached for comment in Cambodia Wednesday.
Verges was reportedly joined in Cambodia by fellow new directors Paul Kaju and John Duggan. The three were nominated by Passport Capital LLC, a San Francisco-based hedge fund manager that controls about 13 per cent of JSM's capital. Passport called for a return of uninvested capital and the removal of three existing board members in October, alleging “serious corporate governance failings” and a failure to invest money raised in a June 2007 listing.
Two of the directors, Craig Jones and Rowell Tan, resigned ahead of the December 7 meeting to vote on the Passport resolution, while non-executive Chairman Michael Tanner was forced out by popular vote.
Shareholders also called for the return of uninvested capital and a review of the firms investment strategy.
Trading in the fund’s shares was set to resume Wednesday following the appointment of Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited as its nominated adviser and broker. Trading was suspended at US$0.66 under AIM rules following the December 7 resignation of Numis, the fund’s nominated adviser. By 11.15am London time, the share price was up 1.9 percent to $0.67.
Panmure Gordon is working with the board to consider the accelerated return of uninvested cash to shareholders, the statement said.
JSM also announced the appointment of Slaughter and May as the company’s UK legal counsel.
JSM is currently finalising construction approvals for a retail development in Cambodia and recently announced in October it had purchased two stalled residential towers in Ho Chi Minh City for $65 million from a construction company that had run into financial difficulties.
However, the transaction was still subject to due diligence at the time, and JSM has not yet issued an announcement finalising the deal.