Last Updated on 2023-03-28 , 2:12 pm
For the east siders among us, you might remember YES Supermarket, a supermarket chain in Tampines that suddenly shut down all three of its outlets a few years ago.
In 2018, the son of the supermarket’s owner claimed that the supermarket had shut down after his father, Guo Sanchuan (Hanyu pinyin), failed to transfer the shares that he had previously agreed to give him.
The 47-year-old son, Guo Fenglin (Hanyu pinyin), added that his father tried to “buy back” the shares that apparently belonged to the former by offering him $3 million.
On the other hand, the older Mr Guo, 75, claimed that the closure of the supermarket outlets was for the management to evaluate the supermarket chain’s operations.
Sued Father and Asked for 60% of Shares
The younger Mr Guo also said that he worked for his father for 17 years and that his father broke his promise.
Subsequently, he decided to take his father to court and asked for 60% of YES Supermarket’s shares.
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He also asked for the rights to 60% of the first-floor unit at Block 201B Tampines Street 21.
According to him, these terms were verbally established between him and his father at the end of 2011.
However, the older Mr Guo denied it and said that such an agreement between him and his son was never made.
The pair were present in court on Thursday (23 March) for a hearing, and it was ultimately ruled that the younger Mr Guo was unsuccessful in trying to sue his father.
Here’s what you need to know about the case.
More About the Court Hearing
According to court proceedings on 23 March, Mr Guo Sanchuan started his company in 1999 and currently holds 85% of the shares.
His son holds 8% of the shares, while the remainder of the shares belongs to his wife and daughter.
The aforementioned unit in Tampines was bought by one of Mr Guo’s companies and was turned into a supermarket in 2003.
The younger Mr Guo claimed in court that he has been working for his father’s company since 2000 and was promoted to the role of director in 2004 after he played an integral role in expanding his father’s supermarket business.
He added that the business also performed increasingly well under his leadership.
Father Claimed that Son Did Not Contribute Substantially
On the other hand, the older Mr Guo refuted this claim and said that his son did not participate substantially in establishing the company.
At first, he saw the company as a family business and wanted all five of his children to participate in it. Hence, the younger Mr Guo started working at the company in 2003 after he attained his Master’s Degree.
However, according to the older Mr Guo, his son asked to be promoted to the role of director in less than a year.
The older Mr Guo relented and did so in 2004 as he wanted to train his son.
According to him, his son held the position until 2012.
Son Gave Father Conditions to Remain at Company
Apart from that, the younger Mr Guo claimed that a headhunter in Malaysia expressed interest in hiring him at the end of 2011.
As the company was able to provide much better incentives than his father’s, he decided to submit his resignation to his father.
However, he offered his father two conditions if he wanted him to continue working for the company.
First, he requested that he assume the roles of both the company director and executive director. He also asked his father to transfer him 6% by the end of that year.
The second condition was that his father had to transfer at least 60% of the company’s shares and 60% of the Tampines unit to him when his father retired five years after that.
Father Chose to End Business Due to Son’s Inability to Handle Business
When speaking about this, Mr Guo Sanchuan confirmed that he promoted his son to his desired position and transferred an additional 6% of shares to him in 2012.
As such, the younger Mr Guo assumed that his father had agreed to his conditions and thought he carried out those actions to fulfil the first condition that he offered.
However, his father claimed that those decisions were only made out of consideration of the company’s future successor.
He also pointed out that he appointed his daughter as a director at the same time.
In 2016, the younger Mr Guo requested that his father fulfil the second condition he had stated when he decided to continue working for his father.
However, the older Mr Guo did not do so and accused his son of seriously mismanaging the company.
According to the older Mr Guo, this caused the supermarket chain to suffer losses and ultimately shut down in 2017.
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Father Offered Son $3 million to “Re-Purchase” Shares
As the relationship between the father-son duo soured, the older Mr Guo offered his son $3 million to “purchase” his son’s shares.
However, the younger Mr Guo asked for $15 million instead and threatened his father with a lawsuit.
The older Mr Guo also pointed out that his son was extremely uncooperative during the period of time when the supermarket closed down.
According to him, his son made a series of demands and threats, eventually leading to more cracks in their relationship.
He added that he only offered his son $3 million to purchase his shares as he needed several documents to close down the supermarket chain properly.
He then explained that he was unable to obtain those documents if he did not have access to his son’s shares.
The older Mr Guo also revealed that he chose to make such an offer because he felt it would help mend the relationship between him and his son.
However, he claimed that his son said that he would only exit the company if his father gave him $15 million.
The older Mr Guo refused to accede to his demands, causing the younger Mr Guo to threaten his father with a lawsuit and “trouble” in the media.
The former added that he only found out about the supposed “verbal agreements” that his son talked about when he read reports written by the media.
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