This is what we call idiosyncratic risk

So despite having been away from Disneyland-with-the-death-penalty for more than a year, I can’t resist keeping up with the news from Singapore’s spectacularly dodgy S-chip stocks – the Chinese small-caps that infest the lower reaches of the SGX because it’s the only exchange that will take their listing fees. 

And one of them – an abalone-farming firm named Oceanus Group – dropped an absolute humdinger of an announcement a few days ago. It requested a trading halt on August 5th, but waited until August 11th to explain the reason for the halt (at the same time as it asked for a suspension from listing, leaving shareholders in the lurch): 

The board of directors (the “Board” or “Directors”) of the Company hereby would like to further request for a trading suspension of the shares of the Company and provide clarifications on the same matter. The Company previously announced that, at the Company’s [AGM], one of the resolutions tabled at the AGM to re-elect Mr Wu Yong Shou (“Mr Wu”) as a Director of the Company was defeated by a 95.51% majority of the shareholders of the Company (“Shareholders”) present and voting at the AGM. […]

As a result of the AGM, Mr Wu retired at the conclusion of the AGM and has consequently ceased as the Executive Director of the Company. […]

While Mr Wu remains as the General Manager in charge of the Company’s China operations and production in the interim of the Board re-composition, he became increasingly un-cooperative towards the re-constituted Board ever since he was not re-elected as a Director of the Company at the AGM. The Company was notified on 02 August 2013 and again on 05 August 2013 by the Head of Production of the occurrence of substantial and abnormal mortalities of abalones at the Company’s China farms within a very short span of time immediately following the AGM.

There are two broad categories of risk in investing. There’s systematic risk: risk that affects all companies in an industry (for example, the risk that yield curve flattening will dent the profits of the banking sector). And then there’s idiosyncratic risk: risk that only affects one company… for example, the risk that a disgruntled board member will take revenge for his sacking by poisoning all your abalone.

(And was there a sudden 10% selloff on higher-than-normal volume two days before the trading halt? Was there ever!)

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