Stamford Land responds to SGX official’s concern on legal threats against minority shareholders

Singapore two-dollar bills

Stamford Land responded late on Sunday to a Singapore Exchange regulator’s comments about a “chilling effect” if companies make legal threats against minority shareholders.

That came after Stamford Land earlier this month said the company and its directors filed a writ of summons against a shareholder who made allegations in a Facebook post, which now appears to be blocked, and a Business Times editorial about how the annual general meeting (AGM) was conducted and about the property and hospitality company’s capital management.

An email and a Facebook message, which were sent by Shenton Wire to the shareholder outside of office hours, weren’t immediately returned; Shenton Wire’s previous attempts to contact the shareholder, including via a LinkedIn profile which now appears to be disabled, have not been returned.

In a filing to SGX late on Sunday, Stamford Land said that it “encourages and is in support of engaging shareholders meaningfully,” adding its legal proceedings were not aimed at impeding “meaningful discourse.”

Stamford Land’s statement on Sunday came after Tan Boon Gin, chief executive of Singapore Exchange’s chief regulator, SGX RegCo, said companies should resist taking an “overly legalistic” approach to dealing with minority shareholders as it could have a “chilling” effect on shareholders’ engagement, the Business Times reported on Thursday.

“We encourage all parties to focus on the issues and not personalities,” Tan said at SGX’s annual general meeting, according to the report.

But Stamford Land said its legal action was “specific to the continuous conduct of the individual” shareholder, and that it commenced proceedings after “careful consideration.”

“It is the view of Stamford and its directors that the reputation of Stamford and the integrity and reputation of its directors had been damaged,” it said, citing comments which the shareholder made at its annual general meetings and in the publications.

Stamford alleged the publications contained false accusations, adding that its view was that those “do not in any way assist or advance shareholders’ interest.”

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