Ray Bradbury sues Sino Techfibre for copyright infringement

You’ve got to give them credit for lateral thinking – one dodgy S-chip that was about to face the wrath of the auditors has decided to use Fahrenheit 451 as an instruction manual.

Here’s part 1 of Sino Techfibre’s announcement to the SGX, dated 21 April (emphasis added):

1. Fire outbreak

The Board of Directors wishes to announce that a fire broke out in the early hours of the morning on 20 April 2011 at a part of the Company’s office and administrative premises of our production facility in Longkou City, Shandong Province PRC.

The fire outbreak did not cause any injury or death to any of the Company’s staff as none were present in or near the office at the time of the fire outbreak. However, the Company’s books and financial records which were kept in the affected office premise were destroyed by the fire, in addition to some physical damage to affected office premise.

What a terrible tragedy! It’s just lucky that nobody was injured in this disaster!

In totally unrelated news, here’s part 3 of the same announcement:

3. Updates pertaining to the audit issues

Immediately after the announcement was made by the Company on 14 April 2011 in respect of the audit issues,

[…] (2) in anticipation of the commencement of the expanded audit work and investigations by Ernst & Young LLP, the management and staff of the Company have been making the necessary preparatory work in respect of the relevant books and financial records of the Company prior to the aforesaid fire outbreak.

Let’s have a look at the timeline of Sino Techfibre’s woes:

13 April: STF shares are halted ahead of “a pending announcement”, after sinking by a third over the previous three months (and never resume trading);

14 April: STF announces its auditors “have discovered certain discrepancies in invoices issued by the Company and its suppliers”;

19 April: STF’s shares are suspended from the SGX (five years after raising SGD$130mio in their IPO);

20 April, “early hours”: a fire destroys every copy of STF’s financials (if only they’d kept proper backups!);

20 April: STF’s audit committee receives the letter of engagement from Ernst and Young, hours after all the company’s financials have been destroyed.

It looks like that’s another $130 million(!) picked from the pockets of Singaporean investors. There seems to be a pattern here.

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