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March 28, 2009

Singapore monetary chief asks China to supervise S-chip firms
Singapore's Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong called on Chinese authorities to maintain "stringent supervision" over their companies that list in the city-state, the Business Times newspaper reported on Friday.

Goh, chairman of central bank and financial regulator the Monetary Authority of Singapore, was speaking to officials in Guangdong province in the wake of scandals that have hit Chinese firms listed in Singapore, or S-chips, in recent months.

"It's a way of helping them brand themselves," Goh told reporters in Shenzhen, the newspaper said. "If they allow a small percentage of these companies to defraud investors, that's going to spoil the reputation of other Chinese companies, good companies, listed in Singapore."

Renewable energy firm China EnerSave said on Thursday a subsidiary defaulted on the repayment of bank loans of 898.8 million yuan ($131.6 million) in China and the company has also defaulted on a loan repayment of $20 million.

Earlier this month, Chinese-based education provider Oriental Century , partly owned by Singapore's Raffles Education , said its chief executive Wang Yuean "substantially inflated" the company's balance sheet for its 2008 full year financial results.

Along with Oriental Century, shares in FibreChem Technologies and China Sun Bio-Chem are suspended from trading over alleged accounting irregularities. There are over 100 Chinese companies listed in Singapore, and at least 25 are from Guangdong, one of China's richest provinces and a manufacturing hub, the newspaper said.

Goh, a former prime minister, said he had heard some 900 firms in Shenzhen had closed down but the city was expecting 10 percent growth this year. "If we tighten (regulations) too much, we can lose some of these companies from being listed every year," Goh said.

"If we don't tighten, then we have other problems." Singapore Exchange , Asia's second largest-listed bourse, is also home to listings from Indonesian, Malaysian and Indian firms, but new initial public offerings have slowed to a trickle as investors fled slumping stock markets.


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