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Thursday, 12 October 2017 | MYT 11:06 PM

SMRT, Asiamet unaware of reason for unusual share trading activity

KUALA LUMPUR: SMRT Holdings Bhd and its associate company Asiamet Education Group Bhd, whose shares saw robust trading on Thursday, said there was no previously-unannounced corporate development that might account for the trading activity.

This includes those in the stage of negotiation or discussion.

There was no unusual market activity (UMA) query by Bursa Malaysia posted today (Thursday) on the exchange’s website for the two companies.

However, Asiamet shares rose 8.5 sen to a 14-month high of 25 sen at Thursday’s close, with 183.03 million shares traded.

Trading in SMRT shares, meanwhile, was halted with effect from 4.07pm on Thursday and will resume on Friday at 9am. The  counter last traded at 22 sen, up 3 sen or 15.8% from the previous day’s close with 55.7 million shares done. 

SMRT and Asiamet also said that after having made due enquiries with the directors, substantial shareholders and such other relevant persons, they were unaware of any possible explanation to account for the increase in their share price and volume of activity.

The two education services provider are in the midst of an internal reorganisation exercise, with Asiamet’s listing status to be transferred to a new company.

SMRT holds a 21.1% stake in medical and allied health education provider Asiamet through wholly-owned subsidiary Strategic Ambience Sdn Bhd. Asiamet operates Asia Metropolitan University (in Selangor and Johor) as well as Asia Metropolitan College (Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak) and Asia Metropolitan International School (Perak).

Under the current corporate exercise, Asiamet is acquiring CUCMS Education Sdn Bhd, which operates Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences. from SMRT for RM166mil, to be satisfied by issuing new Asiamet shares st 20 sen apiece.

The collective shareholdings of SMRT’s unit SMR Education Sdn Bhd (SESB) and its persons acting in concert in Asiamet will rise from 47.62% to 82.68% after the new share issuance, SESB’s shareholding itself will rise from nil to 46.87%.

After this, there will be a proposed share exchange, whereby Asiamet shareholders will swap their Asiamet shares with shares of a new investment firm Minda Global Sdn Bhd on a 1-for-1 basis, followed by a transfer of listing to Minda Global.

The last time SMRT and Asiamet received an UMA query was back in 2014 when they were also in the process of undertaking a major corporate exercise.

That year, SMRT gained a new substantial shareholder, Brahmal Vasudevan, who is the founder and chief executive officer of private equity firm Creador. This later led to Creador making a takeover offer for shares in Asiamet (then Masterskill Education Group Bhd).  

Though the buyout offer was made at 60 sen per share, Asiamet share price surged beyond it on Nov 24 to reach an intra-day high of 85.5 sen before settling at 74.5 sen at market close.

Asiamet has continued to be in the red even after the entry of Creador. It posted a wider group loss attributable to shareholders of RM28.68mil for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2016, versus a loss of RM21.88mil previously.