Tat Hong Holdings released a statement on 10 November discussing the plan by StanChart Private Equity (SCPE) to buy a stake in the company at a price of $0.50SGD ($0.48AUD) per share.
While the proposal is non-binding and subject to approvals from Singapore's Securities Industry Council, with conditions of partnership and management still undecided, shareholders will doubtless be watching developments with interest. Singapore's Straits Times reported that the plan will see majority owners Chwee Cheng and Sons boost their stake to 71%, with SCPE taking 29%.
The newspaper attributes "$77 million of combined losses for the past two financial years", accompanied by a 66% fall in share price since 2013, to Tat Hong's struggles with declining Chinese demand.
It also notes that SCPE has a recent history of high-risk bad buys, with parent division Principal Finance at Standard Chartered posting losses of $1.097 billion since 2015.
Speculation about the deal has been ongoing for months, seeing a rise in share price from $0.34SGD on August 14 to a high of $0.52SGD on October 9, with a current five-day range of $0.46-$0.49SGD.
Several jumps in activity have been noted, and trading halts called, ahead of announcements. The rumours were first addressed on September 21, although this is the first time the buyer has been named.
Tat Hong is Asia-Pacific's largest fleet owner, with over 1,500 cranes in its stable. In 2013 it had the world's largest crawler crane fleet, and was ranked seventh in overall tonnage. The Tutt Bryant Group, providers of heavy lift and shift cranes among other plant, was acquired through an international subsidiary in 2010.