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INSIDE INSIGHTS

20 stocks conduct buybacks; 24 director acquisitions filed

FOR the 2018 year through to Nov 15, the Straits Times Index (STI) has generated a 7.1 per cent decline in total return, amid regional mixed moves that have ranged from a 0.3 per cent decline for the Nikkei 225 Index to a 20.6 per cent decline for China's CSI 300 Index. For the five trading sessions ended Nov 15, the STI declined 1.3 per cent, while the Hang Seng Index, Nikkei 225 index and S&P/ASX 200 averaged a 2 per cent decline.

Share buybacks

There were 20 stocks conducting buybacks over the five sessions ended Nov 15, up significantly from the preceding week. The consideration totalled S$45.8 million, up from S$22 million the preceding week.

DBS Group Holding (DBS), Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and United Overseas Bank (UOB) led the tally, with their buybacks over the five sessions contributing 90 per cent of the week's total buyback consideration. Olam International, PEC and PACC Offshore Services Holdings commenced new buyback mandates.

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Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning Nov 9 to 15 saw 42 primary-listed stocks lodge close to 90 changes in director interests or substantial shareholdings. There were 24 company director acquisitions and no disposals filed, while substantial shareholders filed 16 acquisitions and three disposals.

Centurion Corporation

Between Nov 13 and 14, Centurion Corporation non-executive director Han Seng Juan increased his total stake in the company from 56.943 per cent to 57.110 per cent. The transaction saw him acquire 1.4 million shares of the stock for a consideration of S$566,253.

Mr Han has gradually increased his stake in the owner, developer and manager of purpose-built workers and student accommodation assets, from 55.004 per cent at the end of 2017. He has been a principal and director of Centurion Global Ltd, the controlling shareholder of the company, since 2008. Mr Han is also the maternal cousin of David Loh Kim Kang, non-executive director and controlling shareholder of the company.

Moneymax Financial Services

On Nov 8, Money Farm Pte Ltd increased its direct interest in Catalist-listed Moneymax Financial Services (Moneymax) through the acquisition of 3,301,900 shares through a married deal. The transaction had an aggregate consideration of S$528,304 and took Money Farm's direct stake in the large pawnbroking chain from 60.3 per cent to 61.2 per cent.

Moneymax executive chairman, CEO and co-founder Lim Yong Guan and his associates are entitled to exercise all the votes attached to the voting shares in Money Farm Pte Ltd. This means the married deal increased his total stake in Moneymax from 73.2 per cent to 74.1 per cent.

He is responsible for the overall management, operations, strategic planning, and business development of the group. He is also responsible for, inter alia, driving the operational efficiency of the group's work processes, monitoring the development and performance of its business, and identifying new opportunities for expansion. He also presently holds the position of non-executive chairman of Soo Kee Group Ltd, which is listed on the Catalist board.

Moneymax non-executive director and co-founder Lim Yong Sheng's total stake in the stock was also increased from 71.1 per cent to 72 per cent. Mr Lim currently serves as the executive director and group CEO of Soo Kee Group Ltd.

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings

Between Nov 9 and 13, UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director Wee Ee Chao increased his total stake in UOBKH which now stands at 27.78 per cent. Mr Wee acquired 187,000 UOBKH shares for a consideration of S$228,140. The UOBKH chairman has gradually increased his total stake in UOBKH from 26.51 per cent at the end of 2017.

GL

Between Nov 8 and 13, GL non-independent, non-executive chairman Kwek Leng Hai acquired 300,000 shares in the investment holding company for a consideration of S$212,053. These were Mr Kwek's first filed transactions in the counter and have taken his stake in the stock to 0.022 per cent.

GL's principal investments are in hotel management & operations, oil & gas, property development and other areas in the leisure industry. Mr Kwek is the chairman of Guoco Group and the chairman of Lam Soon (Hong Kong) Ltd, both listed on the main board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Ltd. His directorships in other public listed companies include Hong Leong Bank Berhad, listed on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad, and GuocoLand Ltd which is listed on Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Ltd. He is also a director of Hong Leong Company (Malaysia) Berhad and Bank of Chengdu Co, Ltd.

Silverlake Axis

On Nov 14, Silverlake Axis lead independent director Ong Kian Min acquired 200,000 shares of the digital economy solutions and services provider for a consideration of S$84,000. This took his direct stake in Silverlake Axis to 0.06 per cent.

In addition to practising as consultant with Drew & Napier LLC, a Singapore law firm, Mr Ong is also a senior adviser with Alpha Advisory Pte Ltd, an independent financial and corporate advisory firm. He is also independent non-executive director of BreadTalk Group Ltd, Food Empire Holdings Ltd, OUE Hospitality Reit Management Pte Ltd and Penguin International Ltd.

On Nov 15, Silverlake Axis executive director Goh Shiou Ling acquired 300,000 shares of the stock for a consideration of S$127,000. This took Ms Goh's direct stake in Silverlake Axis to 0.024 per cent. She was appointed a Silverlake Axis executive director on April 1, 2018, and leads Silverlake Axis' strategic acquisitions and investments team to contribute to the growth and value creation of the company.

Enviro-Hub Holdings

Between Nov 13 and 15, Enviro-Hub Holdings executive chairman Raymond Ng acquired 1,844,300 shares of the environmental management solutions group for a consideration of S$83,153. This took his total stake in the stock to 40.3 per cent.

Mr Ng is responsible for the group's overall management, business development, investment decisions as well as strategic direction and planning. He has gradually increased his stake in Enviro-Hub Holdings from 39.15 per cent prior to March 7.

Noel Gifts International

On Nov 9, Noel Gifts International managing director Alfred Wong Siu Hong acquired 314,600 shares of the leading hampers, flowers and gifts company for a consideration of S$67,409. This took his total stake in Noel Gifts International to 44.75 per cent.

Mr Wong is the founder of Noel Gifts International, and has been its managing director since its commencement. With over 42 years of experience in the hampers, flowers & gifts business, he is in charge of the strategic planning, overall financial management and growth of the group. Since 1997, he has also been spearheading the property division, overseeing property investment and development.

Southern Packaging Group

On Nov 13, substantial shareholder Jen Shek Chuen acquired 95,000 shares of the packaging solutions group for a consideration of S$38,000. This took the substantial shareholder's stake in the stock above the 13 per cent threshold, from 12.88 per cent to 13.02 per cent.

Trek 2000 International

Between Nov 9 and 12, Trek 2000 international chairman emeritus Henn Tan acquired 290,000 shares for a consideration of S$32,768.

This took his stake in the stock from 31.46 per cent to 31.56 per cent.

Mr Tan, who founded the company in 1995, continues to chart the group's long-term strategy while maintaining strategic relationships with key stakeholders.

Hwa Hong Corporation

On Nov 12, Hwa Hong Corporation (Hwa Hong) substantial shareholder David Ong Eng Hui acquired 44,000 shares of the investment holding company for a consideration of S$12,980.

This took Dr Ong's direct stake in the stock to 5.298 per cent.

This also increased the total stake of Hwa Hong substantial shareholder Steven Ong Kay Eng to 14.790 per cent.

Steven Ong, who is David Ong's father, has gradually grown his stake in the company from 10.80 per cent on Nov 28, 2016, and 7.38 per cent at the end of 2014.

Hong Lai Huat Group

On Nov 13, Hong Lai Huat Group deputy chairman and CEO Ong Bee Huat acquired 57,900 shares of the real estate and property developer for a consideration of S$11,523.

He is the founder of the group and the acquisition increased his direct stake in the stock to 15.09 per cent.

In 2008, the group expanded its footprint to Cambodia and diversified into the agricultural business. He is also responsible for the group's overall strategic direction and planning as well as business development.

Uni-Asia Group

On Nov 12, Uni-Asia Group executive director Kenji Fukuyado acquired 5,000 shares of the alternative investment integrated service provider for a consideration of S$6,250.

This took his stake in the stock to 0.87 per cent.

Mr Fukuyado was appointed an executive director of the company on March 1, 2018.

Mr Fukuyado has over 30 years of experience in the finance industry, including structured finance such as tax lease, asset finance, loan syndication, corporate finance and asset management.

  • The writer is the market strategist at Singapore Exchange (SGX). To read SGX's market research reports, visit sgx.com/research.