Silchester's SPH stake : no govt okay needed - Oct 21, 2004 (BT)

BackOct 21, 2004

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Silchester's SPH stake : no govt okay needed

It?s because the stake remains below 5 per cent.

By Siow Li Sen
Oct 21, 2004
The Business Times

THE government yesterday said UK fund manager Silchester International Investors Ltd's stake in Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) stands at 4.753 per cent, which is below the 5 per cent threshold requiring government clearance.

The Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts said Silchester owns only 49.9 of its associate Sanderson Asset Management, which does not amount to a controlling interest.

As it does not have control over Sanderson's 0.248 per cent stake in SPH, Silchester's stake in SPH remains below 5 per cent, the ministry said in a letter in response to an earlier BT story which said Silchester's deemed and direct interest in SPH had exceeded 5 per cent.

The report last month followed Silchester's notice of its substantial interest in SPH following Sanderson's purchase of 275,000 SPH shares at about $4.37 each on July 21.

That purchase had raised Sanderson's stake in the media group to 0.248 per cent from 0.231 per cent.

Under the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act, there are ownership caps in media companies.

A revision to the Act in 2002 allowed companies and individuals to own up to 5 per cent in newspaper and broadcasting companies, up from the previous limit of 3 per cent. The 5 per cent cap is similar to the threshold defining a substantial shareholder under company laws.

The Act also contains a provision under which shareholders who are associates may, as a group, own a total of no more than 12 per cent of the shares in a newspaper or broadcasting company.
Government approval must be obtained before one becomes a substantial shareholder, a 12 per cent controller or an indirect controller of a newspaper company.

The ownership limits apply to both local and foreign shareholders.