Armed with A$5.5 million from the June 2013 sale of its cord blood and cord tissue banking businesses and assets in India, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Indonesia to Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) listed Cordlife Group Limited, LCL quickly bought up Singapore Funeral Services (known as SFS Care Pte Ltd since 2012) in September 2013. The chronology that led to the formation of Eternal Pure Land Pte Ltd (EPL) is spelt out in the annual report:
1 Dec 2013, SFS acquired;
8 Jun 2014, tender submitted;
17 Jul 2014, tender awarded;
22 Jul 2014, bonds signed with "Golden Meditech" and "Northeast" for S$3 million each, funds which may come in handy for the two installments due on 13 August and 14 October 2014.
The most interesting date is 12 June 2014, day when EPL was set up to bid for the land parcel at Sengkang, a newborn with no track record, and only the operating experience of the Singapore entity, Singapore Funeral Services.
LCL's consolidated revenue for year ended 30 Jun 2014 was only A$1,907,000, of which A$1,905,000 was contributed by SFS Care Pte Ltd. Net loss for LCL was A$2,637,000, an increase of 61% compared to the loss of A$1,640,00 for year ended 30 Jun 2013.
You have to wonder what were on the minds of the civil servants when they evaluated the bidders. For all we know, some name dropper may have casually made it be known that Goh Chok Tong's son is on the board of Cordlife. Dr Goh Jin Hian was appointed as a Director of the Company in July 2011. It is ironical that the science of cord blood banking, preservation of cord blood to help nurture life in the future, is now linked to the preservation of ashes, after science has given up on saving life.
There is more to the eye at Sengkang, it's not just "commercial" and "religious" issues at stake. It's so serious, LCL has called for a trading halt after Khaw Boon Wan told the story of deception by Butterfly Lover Zhu Yingtai. As usual, to find the answer to the quagmire, one has to follow the money.