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INSIDE INSIGHTS

23 director acquisitions filed and 12 stocks conduct buybacks

FOR the five trading sessions from March 15 to 21, the STI gained 0.5 per cent, in line with regional indices Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 that averaged a 0.6 per cent gain. This has brought the STI's 2019 total return through to March 20 to 5.1 per cent.

Share buybacks

There were 12 primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions ended March 21. The consideration totalLed S$11.1 million, less than the S$15.2 million for the preceding five sessions.

Buyback consideration was led by Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, Hong Fok Corporation, Singapore Exchange, Singapore Post and Global Investments. Aspen (Group) Holdings also conducted its first share buyback on March 21, after the mandate was approved on Jan 29.

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Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning March 15 to 21 saw more than 100 changes in director interests or substantial shareholdings filed for 45 primary-listed stocks.

There were 23 company director acquisitions and two disposals filed, with substantial shareholders filing 24 acquisitions and eight disposals.

TEE International

On March 19, TEE International managing director (MD) and group CEO Phua Chian Kin disposed of 20 million shares of the listed company via a married deal. This reduced his total interest in TEE International from 58.32 to 55.23 per cent. On March 20, TEE International substantial shareholder Tan Soon Hoe also disposed of 2.5 million shares, reducing his total interest in the listed company to below 5 per cent substantial shareholder threshold.

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings

Between March 14 and 20, UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and MD Wee Ee Chao increased his total stake in UOBKH, which stands at 28.25 per cent as at March 20. He acquired 1,624,800 UOBKH shares for a consideration of S$2,046,771. The UOBKH chairman has gradually increased his total stake in UOBKH from 26.51 per cent at the end of 2017.

GL

Between March 14 and 15, non-independent executive director and group MD Tang Hong Cheong acquired 2 million shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$1,460,000. This increased his stake in GL to 0.168 per cent.

He has more than 40 years' broad-based and C-suite expertise in finance, treasury, risk management, operations and strategic planning and has held various senior management positions in different companies within the Hong Leong Group.

Also on March 14, GL substantial shareholder Quek Leng Chan increased his deemed interest in the stock with the acquisition of 1,331,000 shares for a consideration of S$971,470. This took his total interest in GL from 68.04 per cent to 69.03 per cent. He was previously a director and chairman of GL before stepping down from the role in September 2016.

Back in February, GL reported that its profit after tax for H1FY18 (ended Dec 31) was US$32.4 million, an increase of 12 per cent compared to US$29 million for the previous corresponding period.

Straits Trading

On March 19, Straits Trading executive chairman Chew Gek Khim acquired 700,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$1,501,290. This took her direct interest in Straits Trading to 0.18 per cent. Ms Chew is also executive chairman of the Tecity Group, which she joined in 1987. She is chairman of Malaysia Smelting Corporation Berhad and ARA Trust Management (Suntec) Ltd, and sits on the board of ARA Asset Management Holdings and Singapore Exchange.

During FY18, the group further anchored its presence in the key markets of Japan and Australia with several strategic acquisitions and investments by Straits Real Estate.

Boustead Singapore

On March 14, FMR LLC increased its deemed interest in Boustead Singapore from 9.66 per cent to 9.94 per cent with the acquisition of 1,395,000 shares. The transaction had a consideration value of S$1,109,025.

FMR LLC is deemed to have interests in the securities of Boustead Singapore as such securities are held by funds and/or accounts managed by one or more FMR LLC's direct and indirect subsidiaries, which are fund managers. FMR Co Inc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fidelity Management & Research Company. Fidelity Management & Research Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of FMR LLC.

Back in February, Boustead Singapore reported its 9MFY19 (ended Dec 31) total revenue had increased 25 per cent year on year to S$370.9 million.

For the period, total profit and net profit increased at a quicker pace of 36 per cent and 56 per cent year on year to S$41.7 million and S$27.8 million respectively, mainly supported by higher gross profit, other income and sizeable other gains from the completed sale of 25 Changi North Rise in Q1 FY2019 under the group's separately listed Boustead Projects.

Sinostar Pec

Between March 15 and 20, Intelligent People Holdings Ltd (IPHL) acquired 2,990,000 shares of Sinostar Pec Holdings (Sinostar). With a consideration of S$649,011, the acquisitions took IPHL's total interest in the listed company from 54.935 per cent to 55.4 per cent.

Sinostar non-executive chairman Li Xiang Ping has a 100 per cent shareholding interest in IPHL. He made multiple acquisitions of Sinostar shares via IPHL in 2018, increasing his total interest from 52.19 per cent prior to Dec 27, 2017.

Hong Fok Corporation

On March 19, Hong Fok Corporation joint chairman and Joint MD Cheong Sim Eng acquired 350,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$313,250. This boosted his total interest in the stock from 19.176 per cent to 19.216 per cent.

Mr Cheong is principally involved in the group's overall operations and management with greater emphasis in Singapore and has over 33 years of experience in the property development business.

Envictus International

On March 18, Envictus International Holdings non-executive director and vice-chairman Sam Goi Seng Hui increased his total interest in the stock from 23.34 per cent to 23.75 per cent.

Mr Goi, who is also the executive chairman of Tee Yih Jia Group and GSH Corporation, acquired 1 million shares of Envictus International Holdings for a consideration of S$130,000.

Asia Vets Holdings

On March 14, Catalist-listed Asia Vets Holdings executive chairman and CEO Tan Tong Guan acquired 110,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$19,860. This took his total interest in Asia Vet Holdings to 41.62 per cent.

Mr Tan is responsible for providing the corporate direction and business strategy for the group.

Back in August 2018, the group acquired the entire issued capital of AVH Animal Ark Pte Ltd (AVHAA), which is in the business of providing veterinary services in Singapore. The company had previously disposed of all its subsidiaries in July 2016, becoming a cash company with no business operations, until the AVHAA acquisition. Asia Vets Holdings was formerly known as Smartflex Holdings Ltd.

Hai Leck Holdings

On March 14, Hai Leck Holdings (Hai Leck) founder and executive chairman, Cheng Buck Poh acquired 13,600 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$7,054. This took his total interest in the integrated services provider from 84.10 per cent to 84.11 per cent. He is responsible for charting corporate directions and strategies for Hai Leck. His total interest in Hai Lek was 83.34 per cent at the end of August 2018.

Trek 2000 International

On March 14, Trek 2000 international chairman emeritus Henn Tan acquired 50,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$4,974. This took his stake in the stock to 31.78 per cent.

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