Cash balance in Next Digital drops by almost half after returning HK$150m shareholders’ loan to Jimmy Lai

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22nd July 2021 – (Hong Kong) Next Digital (00282) announced that it had unaudited bank and cash balances of approximately HK$337.8 million on 31st May this year, which were held by various bank accounts of subsidiaries, including the three accounts that were frozen by the Secretary for Security on 16th June. At the end of May, bank and cash balances were HK$183.6 million less than that of 31st March this year, mainly due to the repayment of HK$150 million in shareholder advance to Jimmy Lai on 1st April this year, and the payment of net expenses related to business operations from April to May (approximately HK$33.6 million).

The company also stated that on 29th June, 2021, it had received a non-legally binding proposal from an independent third-party buyer regarding the possible sale of the Taiwan business by the group. The management is currently discussing the transaction structure with potential buyers. If a formal agreement is reached (not expected to be earlier than 30th July, 2021), a separate announcement will be issued. If it is implemented, the company will no longer maintain any business in Taiwan.

In addition, in response to a letter received from the legal representative of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, the company is seeking legal advice on the possibility that the business premises of Next Digital at No. 8 Chun Ying Street, Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate, may violate the existing lease conditions and may initiate land reclamation procedures. The company will publish another announcement in due course when there are any major developments. Trading of Next Digital shares will continue to be suspend until further notice.

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