Hour Glass, Gems TV and FRS39

Hour Glass paid $15.5 million for a 5% stake in Gems TV Holdings towards the end June 2006.

Who is Hour Glass and who is Gems TV?
Hour Glass is in business of retailing luxury watches and accessories and listed in the SGX.

Gems TV buys cut gemstones, makes them into handcrafted jewellery in Thailand and sells the goods through a ‘reverse auction’ over television shopping networks to home buyers in the UK.

Gems TV is currently offering nearly 285.8mio shares at $1.08 apiece in its IPO now.

At the offer price of $1.08, that stake will be worth $44.5mio ie. a potential unrealised investment gain of $29 million after just 4 months!!! This is definitely a situation of “got money can make more money”.

What is Hour Glass’s investment horizon?
Hour Glass has indicated that it will hold the investment for the long term. It has also agreed that it will not, without the PRIOR CONSENT (as compared to “moratorium”) of the IPO’s global coordinator, dispose of any of the shares for 12 months after the listing. Thus technically speaking, Hour Glass may be able to sell its stake within 12 months.

How will Hour Glass account for this investment in their books?
Hour Glass has stated that the investment will be classified as being available-for-sale (AFS) under FRS39 – Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement and will thus be restated at fair market value as at the end of the financial year.

What are the impacts of this decision?
For investments under AFS, any unrealised holding gains and losses are deferred in reserves until they are realised or when impairment occurs.

Thus the unrealised gain of $29mio expected on 10 Nov 2006 will go to the reserves and not go to P&L.

Shareholders will thus see the impact on net tangible assets per share and no effect on the earnings per share.

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