PETALING JAYA – Months after the losses of Astro Overseas Ltd’s (AOL) investments in India came on the markets radar, it is now seeing changes in the boardroom, with further deterioration in its financials.
A recent check with the Companies Commission of Malaysia showed that a whopping rise in net loss to RM909.81 million for the financial year ended Jan 31, 2016 in AOL’s latest financial filing, compared with RM100.55 million a year ago. Revenue stood at RM2.24 million.
Its current liabilities shot up from RM34.27 million to RM336.79 million, with head office account of RM620.64 million.
The latest filing revealed that Chin Kwai Yoong, Bernard Anthony Cragg and Datuk Mohamed Khadar Merican are no longer on the AOL board, while Vernon Das has been appointed a director.
Other directors who are still on board are Fong Phoi Shan, Lim Ghee Keong, Quah Bee Fong and Datuk Badri Masri.
Worth noting is that Chin is the chairman of Bank Negara Malaysia’s Board Audit Committee and member of the Board Governance Committee.
AOL was incorporated on Aug 18, 2000. Its presence in the media and entertainment scene spreads across five segments – platform and distribution, content, IP & production, e-commerce and digital media. Its investments are spread across Asia, the Middle East, the UK and the US.
AOL is a regional investment arm of local tycoon Ananda Krishnan’s private vehicle Usaha Tegas Sdn Bhd. It owns a 98.5% stake in Getit Infoservices Pte Ltd, which in turn owns now-defunct, online classifieds platform AskMe and e-commerce store AskMebazaar, through subsidiary Astro Entertainment Network Ltd, Mauritius (AENL).
Woes surrounding Getit have not ended, however, as a petition filed by AOL to the High Court of Delhi to close down Getit in December 2016 is still going through court proceedings, according to media reports out of India.
AENL pumped in some US$300 million over six years, with no returns, into Getit. Its mainstay AskMe halted operations in August 2016 from lack of funding. According to reports, AOL’s main contention is the US$80 million debt Getit is sitting on.
AOL is claiming that the board of Getit, which included two appointees from AENL,Sidharth Gupta and Grant Scott Ferguson, resorted to hostility and repeatedly obstructed decision-making processes regarding AskMe.