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By Nigel Somerville | Monday 15 January 2018
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Last week’s flotation of AIQ (AIQ) on the LSE’s standard list raised a lot of questions. For a start there was demand for the stock, but apparently no stock available to buy: it seems the registrar had yet to send out certificates and so the shares rocketed until they were suspended. But after much digging, there appears to be rather more to the story than the listing of a bare Cayman Islands shell. Where to start?
Well, for one thing, the exec directors of AIQ are also the directors of another outfit called Plymouth Infotech – which is based in the Seychelles. Let’s see what that website says about them:
MR. B.G SOON
Having worked in IT his entire career, Mr. Soon did not begin with an enthusiasm for IT during his academic days. However, as necessity is the mother of inventions, so too is opportunity to mother of success. Mr. Soon begin his career in IT when a job opening presented itself when he needed it most. Since then, IT has become his passion and forte.
Mr. Soon believes in ensuring at all times that each client’s unique business gets the particular IT support system that it deserves, and therefore strives to provide such service to all clients. This belief is also what drives Mr. Soon to learn and master the technical aspects of the IT systems he researches, promotes, and creates for clients.
Mr. Soon also believes that sharing knowledge and reflecting on different ideas are key aspects to expanding one’s horizon, which is why he has tutored colleagues and even clients when on the job.
Now, as one of the founders of PIL, Mr. Soon looks forward to a new chapter in his life where his career is set to take upon a whole new trajectory.
Er, right. So Mr Soon has worked in IT his entire career. But he is described in the AIQ prospectus as follows:
Nicholas has broad industry experience, having operated businesses in the retail, trading and e-commerce sectors as well as in social commerce, having worked in talent management and on-line marketing companies. He is currently the director and shareholder of Plymouth Infotech Limited (“Plymouth Infotech”), a company focused on information technology system services and business consultancy services for companies based in South East Asia, primarily in the e-commerce industry.
Is this the same Mr Soon? Of course, IT is quite a generic term so perhaps it covers all manner of things, such as retail, trading, social commerce and talent management as well as e-commerce and online marketing.
Meawhile Mr Lee Chong Liang (“Marcus”) is described by Plymouth Infotech as:
MR. C.L LEE
Mr. Lee, being a colleague of Mr. Soon, is a co-founder of PIL which not only shares his partner’s passion and zeal for IT, but also his belief that there is untapped potential in niche customized IT systems. These shared values between the co-founders is what forms the foundation of the company.
Ever the ardent client pleaser, Mr. Lee is constantly active in working with clients and providing technical support at all times, as well as making sure that all queries are satisfactorily answered. Mr. Lee is the backbone of PIL’s network of contacts and is dedicated to always having a finger on the pulse of the IT industry.
Now, as PIL marks a new phase is his life, Mr. Lee is both excited and anxious to begin a new journey with his partner to see PIL become the best possible company that it can be.
Aha – another IT expert, and the backbone of PIL’s network. But in the AIQ prospectus we are told:
Lee Chong Liang (“Marcus”), Executive Director Marcus has over eight years’ experience in business consultancy, specialising in shaping business models and entrepreneur mentoring. He currently works closely with Soon Beng Gee in Plymouth Infotech Limited, a company focused on information technology system services and business consultancy services for companies based in South East Asia, primarily in the e-commerce industry. Mr. Lee’s principal responsibilities include business training with a focus on marketing and increasing revenue growth through strengthening brands, increasing member and consumer royalties and turnaround activities. Between 2010 to 2016, Marcus worked for Red Antz Event Sdn. Bhd. a company focused on event management and business consultancy services, as an associate providing business mentoring services to clients based in South East Asia..
Over the course of his career Marcus has been a business mentor and has provided entrepreneur training seminars to a wide variety of companies, including blue chip corporations. He graduated from the University of Nottingham Trent with a Master of Science in International Real Estate Investment and Finance in 2009. He currently resides in Malaysia
It seems to me that the biographies don’t really match all that well - but perhaps that is just marketing by Plymouth.
But the AIQ prospectus tells us of other appointments as a director that Mr Soon and Mr Lee hold, or have held in the last five years. Mr Soon has four entries: MGM Global Ltd, Mama11 Mart, Menes Gold and Eyevent (aside from Plymouth). Oddly, www.OpenCorporates.com lists another: MM CapVen Limited, hailing from Cyprus. But perhaps there is another Soon Beng Gee. Then there is a Cambodian outfit called Proudbuild Trading – but that must be another Mr Soon as well, as neither of these are listed in the AIQ Prospectus – and we know that this was a totally professional IPO.
Meanwhile, Mr Lee is listed by OpenCorprates as a director of another Cambodian company, Resultbuild Property Investment Co Ltd. But that must be another Lee Chong Liang as it is not listed in the AIQ prospectus.
Now let’s turn to Mr Lee’s presence on YouTube. As you can see from this link he seems very keen on his announcement of a collaboration between iBuddee and AIQ. What’s all that about? AIQ ‘s prospectus tells us it is a clean shell with nothing (yet) in the pipleline – and certainly no affiliation with iBuddee.
Yet here he is telling us that AIQ and iBuddee will (along with Level39) be in Canary Wharf and AIQ will be world famous (very roughly translated). What he does not say is that AIQ is a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) and that there is no deal between AIQ and iBuddee. So who is the video aimed at? Users of iBuddee, and if so, why?
Of course, AIQ has already garnered a bit of fame but that’s another matter.
So what is iBuddee? Where does BigMama fit in, and is there a relationship between those two outfits and Messrs Lee and Soon?
More to follow – much, much more.
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