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Hot stock: United Engineers' shares surge amid talk of buyer interest

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Shares of United Engineers shot up by as much as 4.2 per cent to S$2.96 during mid-morning trading on Friday, prompting a query from Singapore Exchange on unusual price movements in its shares.

SHARES of United Engineers shot up by as much as 4.2 per cent to S$2.96 during mid-morning trading on Friday, prompting a query from Singapore Exchange on unusual price movements in its shares.

The mainboard-listed property group then requested for a trading halt in its shares at about 10.27am - shortly after SGX issued the query - citing "pending release of announcement".

As at 10.27am, the stock was trading at S$2.91, up 2.827 per cent or S$0.08 from its opening price of S$2.84. Over 1.4 million units had changed hands.

This comes amid speculation this week that shareholders of United Engineers have started formally assessing buyer interest in the company. According to a Bloomberg report, major shareholders of the company, which has a market value of S$1.7 billion, have reportedly been sending preliminary financial information on United Engineers' business to potential bidders since the end of December.

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At least 10 parties including regional property developers, private equity firms and real estate funds have indicated interest, people with knowledge of the matter had told Bloomberg, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

United Engineers' biggest owners, OCBC Bank and its insurance unit Great Eastern Holdings, said in September they were reviewing strategic options for their combined stakes in the company.

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