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Director activity falls; buybacks stay low (Amended)
THE director activity fell after trading flat for two straight weeks based on filings on Singapore Exchange (SGX) in the last week of April. A total of five companies recorded nine purchases worth S$0.483 million versus four firms with four disposals worth S$0.63 million. The buy figures were sharply down from the previous week's 12 companies, 27 purchases and S$2.35 million. On the selling side, the number of firms was unchanged while the number of trades and value were sharply down from the previous week's eight disposals worth S$1.23 million.
Meanwhile, the buyback activity remained low with five companies that posted 12 repurchases worth S$0.24 million. The figures were consistent with the previous week's low totals of five firms, seven trades and S$0.41 million. The trading was mixed last week with significant trades on both the buying and selling sides. On the positive side, there was an initial buyback by iFAST Corporation, a rare insider buy in Sincap Group and institutional shareholder purchase in Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPH Trust) following the sharp fall in their share prices.
On the flip side, there were insider sales in Cityneon Holdings, Raffles Medical Group (RMG) and Dynamic Colours and institutional shareholder sale in Ascendas India Trust following the sharp gain in their share prices.
Internet-based investment products distribution and administration platform firm iFAST Corporation bought back for the first time since listing in December 2014 with 90,000 shares purchased on April 29 at S$1.18 each. The acquisition was made on the back of the 20 per cent drop in the share price since October 2015 from S$1.47. Despite the fall in the share price, the stock is still up since December 2014 from S$1.02. The group's buyback price was higher than the IPO price of S$0.95. The buyback was also made after the company announced on April 29 a 58.4 per cent drop in first quarter profit to S$1.251 million. The stock closed at S$1.215 on Friday.
Chairman and CEO Chu Ming Kin recorded his first on-market trades in alumina and thermal coal trader Sincap since his appointment to the board in April 2015 with an initial 9.700 million shares purchased from April 26 to 28 at an average of S$0.029 each. The shares bought represented 2 per cent of the issued capital. The purchases, which accounted for 31 per cent of the stock's trading volume, were made on the back of the 62 per cent drop in the share price since November 2015 from S$0.076. The counter is also sharply down since August 2014 from S$0.158. The counter closed at S$0.028 on Friday.
Hutchison Port Holdings Trust
Temasek Holdings recorded a buy in container port operator Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPH Trust) with a purchase-related filing on April 19 of 1.1 million units at US$0.465 each. The trade increased its deemed holdings to 958.440 million units or 11.0 per cent of the issued capital. The filing was made on the back of the 13 per cent drop in the unit price since the second half of March from US$0.535. The notice was also made after HPH Trust announced on April 18 a 46.9 per cent gain in first quarter profit to HK$794.2 million (S$137.6 million).
The group previously reported a disposal-related filing on Feb 26 of 700,000 units at US$0.467 each. Prior to that sale, the shareholder reported a purchase-related filing on Feb 10 of 5.12 million units at US$0.445 each. Prior to its filings this year, the group acquired a net 1.07 million units from June to November 2013 at US$0.79 to US$0.73 each. Temasek became a substantial shareholder on the unit trust's trading debut in March 2011 after it acquired an initial 1.043 billion units or 11.98 per cent via agreement at an estimated price of US$0.95 each. The unit trust closed at US$0.445 on Friday.
Group managing director Ko Chee Wah recorded his first on-market trades in interior, architecture, events, exhibitions and experiential environment services provider Cityneon since November 2015 with the sale of his entire direct holdings of 500,000 shares from April 15 to 25 at S$0.46 to S$0.56 each or an average of S$0.52 each. The shares sold represented 0.23 per cent of the issued capital.
The disposals were made on the back of the 108 per cent rise in the share price since February from S$0.25. The sales were made at a profit based on the initial 500,000 shares that he acquired on April 15 via exercise of options at S$0.31 each.
He previously sold his entire holdings of 2.486 million shares in November 2015 at S$0.19 each. The disposals by the managing director since November 2015 are his first on-market trades since the stock was listed in December 2005 on SGX Sesdaq and in January 2008 on SGX Mainboard. Mr Ko was appointed to the board in June 1999. Also negative last month was non-executive director Lim Poh Hock with 500,000 shares sold from April 6 to 7 via options at an average of S$0.399 each, which lowered his deemed stake by 50 per cent to 500,000 shares or 0.23 per cent. He also has direct interest of 1.385 million shares or 0.62 per cent. He previously sold one million shares in November 2015 at S$0.22 each. The counter closed at S$0.575 on Friday.
Raffles Medical Group
Independent director Wee Beng Geok recorded her first on-market trade in private integrated healthcare provider Raffles Medical Group (RMG) since March 2014 with 100,000 shares sold on April 26 at S$4.33 each. The trade reduced her direct holdings by 9 per cent to 1.073 million shares or 0.19 per cent of the issued capital. The sale was made on the back of the 11 per cent rebound in the share price since January from S$3.91.
Despite the rebound in the share price, the counter is still down since July 2015 from S$4.97. The disposal was also made after the company announced on April 25 a one per cent gain in first quarter profit to S$15.205 million. Ms Wee previously sold 50,000 shares in March 2014 at S$3.28 each and 30,000 shares in June 2011 at S$2.31 each. Prior to those disposals, the director acquired an initial 30,000 shares in June 2002 at S$0.34 each. The stock closed at S$4.70 on Friday.
Lead independent non-executive director Sebastian Chong Yee Siew recorded his first on-market trade in chemical materials producer Dynamic Colours since his appointment to the board in September 2007 with 52,500 shares sold on April 27 at S$0.251 each. The trade reduced his direct holdings by 53 per cent to 47,500 shares or 0.02 per cent of the issued capital. The sale was made on the back of the 47 per cent rise in the share price since August 2015 from S$0.171. The counter is also sharply up since November 2012 from S$0.053.
The corporate shareholder sentiment is not entirely negative this year as there were purchases by substantial shareholder Lucy Quek Soh Mui and deputy managing director Goh Seok Eng. Ms Quek reported a purchase-related filing on Feb 26 of 93,000 shares at S$0.245 each, which boosted her stake to 13.789 million shares or 6.57 per cent.
Deputy managing director Goh Seok Eng, on the other hand, acquired 1.7 million shares on Feb 25 at S$0.241 each, which increased her direct holdings to 20.761 million shares or 9.89 per cent. She also has deemed interest of 103,000 shares or 0.05 per cent. She previously acquired 380,000 shares in July 2014 and an initial 103,000 shares (deemed interest) in May 2013 at S$0.19 each. Prior to those purchases, Ms Goh acquired 282,000 shares from June to August 2010 at an average of S$0.123 each. Ms Goh was appointed to the board in 1993. The counter closed at S$0.25 on Friday.
Ascendas India Trust
The Islamic Bank of Asia, a subsidiary of DBS Group Holdings, recorded a transaction with 107,000 units sold on April 21 at S$0.93 each. The trade reduced the deemed stake of Temasek Holdings, which is a major shareholder of DBS, to 222.103 million units or 23.99 per cent of the issued capital. The sale was made on the back of the 31 per cent rebound in the unit price since January from S$0.71.
The fund manager sentiment is not entirely negative in April as Kabouter Management reported a purchase-related filing on April 7 of 358,000 units at S$0.89 each, which boosted its deemed stake to 74.096 million units or 8.0 per cent. The group previously reported a purchase-related filing in July 2015 of 1.58 million units at S$0.90 each, a purchase-related filing in April 2015 of 2.576 million units at S$0.919 each and an initial filing in January 2015 of 344,000 units at S$0.834 each, which raised its interest to 5.01 per cent. Overall, Kabouter Management's stake is up by 60 per cent since that initial filing in January 2015.
Investors should note that Massachusetts Financial Services Company reported a disposal-related filing on Jan 11 of 200,000 units at S$0.845 each, which reduced its deemed holdings to 64.692 million units or 6.99 per cent. The group previously acquired 983,000 units in December 2015 at S$0.86 each. Prior to that purchase, the shareholder reported a disposal-related filing in November 2015 of 1.4 million units at S$0.85 each. Prior to its notices since November 2015, the group acquired a net 719,000 units from March to May 2014 at S$0.74 to S$0.79 each.
Prior to those net acquisitions, the group reported a purchase-related filing in November 2013 of 92,000 units at S$0.66 each and an initial filing in February 2013 of 611,000 units at S$0.83 each, which raised its interest to 5.01 per cent. Ascendas India Trust announced on April 27 a 129 per cent gain in fourth quarter profit to S$77.839 million while earnings for the full year rose by 59 per cent to S$112.694 million. The unit trust closed at S$0.955 on Friday.
- The writer is managing director, Asia Insider Limited
An earlier version of this story stated that Temasek Holdings had executed a sale of shares in Ascendas India Trust. This was not the case. The trade was executed by the Islamic Bank of Asia, which resulted in a reduction in the deemed interest of Temasek in Ascendas India Trust.