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Stocks to watch: UMS Holdings, JEP Holdings, First Reit, Soilbuild Reit, OCBC

THE following companies issued announcements overnight that could affect their trading on Thursday.

UMS Holdings: Mainboard-listed UMS Holdings has bought another 22.02 per cent stake in JEP Holdings for around SS$22.5 million - in addition to an earlier 7.48 per cent stake it bought previously for S$5.7 million. In the second round of investment, 21.96 per cent or 320 million JEP shares were purchased through a married deal and 0.06 per cent or 864,300 shares were bought on the open market. This brings UMS's overall shareholdings in JEP, a precision machining firm, to 29.5 per cent, or 429.9 million ordinary shares, for which it paid a total of S$28.2 million. UMS said in a statement on Wednesday that the acquisition comes as part of the group's strategy to diversify its revenue and income base into "high-growth sectors beyond the semiconductor industry" - specifically the aerospace industry.

First Reit: First Reit has posted fourth-quarter distribution per unit (DPU) of 2.15 Singapore cents, up 0.9 per cent from 2.13 Singapore cents for the same period a year earlier. Distributable income for the three months to Dec 31 rose 1.6 per cent to S$16.8 million, while gross revenue climbed 5.8 per cent to S$28.6 million, lifted by maiden contributions from the 160-bed Siloam Hospitals Buton and retail mall Lippo Plaza Buton, as well as Siloam Hospitals Yogyakarta. Net property income grew 4.9 per cent to S$28 million. For the full year ended Dec 31, net property income grew 3.4 per cent to S$109.5 million while gross revenue rose 3.7 per cent to S$111 million. Total DPU for the year was 8.57 Singapore cents, a gain of 1.2 per cent from 2016.

Soilbuild Business Space Reit: Soilbuild Reit reported an 11.9 per cent drop in distribution per unit (DPU) for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 to 1.383 Singapore cents. This came as gross revenue and net property income (NPI) fell by 4.3 per cent to S$20.75 million and 6 per cent to S$17.75 million respectively, mainly due to lower contribution from 72 Loyang Way. For the full year ended Dec 31, 2017, Soilbuild Reit's revenue grew 4.5 per cent to S$84.82 million and NPI rose 4 per cent to S$73.48 million largely due to the full-year contribution from Bukit Batok Connection, a property acquired in September 2016. Full-year DPU still slipped 6.2 per cent to 5.712 Singapore cents on the back of lower distributable income and an enlarged units base.

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OCBC Bank: OCBC has, through its subsidiary Lion Global Investors, raised its stake in China-based Maxwealth Fund Management Company for 61.45 million yuan (S$12.6 million). That lifts OCBC's stake in Maxwealth from 10 per cent to 28.51 per cent, making Maxwealth an associated company of OCBC. The remaining 71.49 per cent is held by Bank of Ningbo Co, which is also an associated company of OCBC.

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