KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 28): Iris Corp Bhd, known as developer of the world’s first electronic passport, saw its share price fall as much as 13% to an intraday low of 10 sen yesterday, after its co-founder and major shareholder sold a substantial stake in the group.

The stock closed down one sen or 8.7% at 10.5 sen — its lowest level in 11 years when it closed at 9.8 sen on Oct 31, 2005.

Yesterday, Iris closed its market run with a trading volume of 24.06 million shares, surpassing its 200-day average trading volume of 9.6 million shares, and was the sixth most actively traded counter on Bursa Malaysia. This comes amid talks of changes at the top after Iris co-founder, group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Tan Say Jim ceased to be a substantial shareholder in the group.

When contacted by The Edge Financial Daily yesterday, a company official said Tan was still on leave and unable to provide any comments to the press. It is understood that Tan, 58, who was appointed to Iris’ board of directors on June 30, 1996, has been on leave since Nov 1.

In an amended announcement yesterday, Iris revealed that Tan had sold a total of 71.6 million shares, representing a 3.2% stake in the group, in three separate blocks. He had disposed of 15 million shares last Wednesday at eight sen per share. Another block of 41.6 million shares was transacted at 12 sen per share last Thursday, while 15 million shares were sold at eight sen per share.

This resulted in total disposal proceeds of RM7.39 million for Tan’s 3.2% stake, and brings his shareholding in Iris to 72.76 million shares or a residual 3.2% stake. Felda Investment Corp Sdn Bhd is currently the largest shareholder of Iris, with a 21.33% stake.

In Tan’s absence, Iris deputy managing director Datuk Hamdan Mohd Hassan has assumed the leading role, taking charge of the group’s operations. In a recent interview with The Edge Financial Daily, Hamdan said the group’s operations will undergo a major restructuring next year which includes strengthening its trusted core business in identification.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Dec 28, 2016. Subscribe to The Edge Financial Daily here.

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