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INSIDE INSIGHTS

32 director acquisitions filed; Chua Thian Poh raises Ho Bee Land stake

FOR the five trading sessions spanning Sept 13 to 19, the Straits Times Index (STI) declined 1.1 per cent with the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaging a 0.1 per cent decline.

This has brought the STI's 2019 total return through to Sept 19, to 6.6 per cent.

Share buybacks

There were seven primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions ended Sept 19, with a total consideration of S$917,058, not far from the S$1.3 million in consideration, filed by the same number of stocks, for the preceding five sessions.

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Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning Sept 13 to 19 saw more than 100 changes in director interests or substantial shareholdings filed for almost 40 primary-listed stocks.

There were 32 company director acquisitions and one disposal filed, with substantial shareholders filing 22 acquisitions and two disposals.

The Straits Trading Company

On Sept 13, Tecity Pte Ltd acquired 14 million shares of The Straits Trading Company (STC) for a consideration of S$28,560,000.

The married deal was booked at S$2.04 per share. This increased the substantial shareholder's deemed interest in STC from 70.68 per cent to 74.11 per cent.

The Tecity Group, founded by the late banker and philanthropist Tan Chin Tuan, comprises STC, Tecity Management (an investment arm); Tan Chin Tuan Foundation; and the Tan Chin Tuan Mansion.

STC executive chairman, Chew Gek Khim, is also executive chairman of Tecity Group, which she joined in 1987.

Last year marked the tenth year since the transformational takeover of STC by The Cairns Pte Ltd, a member of the Tecity Group.

STC was founded in 1887 and today maintains diversified interests across the Asia-Pacific in real estate, hospitality and the resources sectors, specifically through its legacy tin smelting business.

On Sept 13, Franklin Resources Inc reduced its deemed interest in STC from 5.83 per cent to 4.85 per cent with the disposal of 4 million shares, also at S$2.04 per share.

Boustead Singapore

On Sept 13, Boustead Singapore chairman and CEO Wong Fong Fui acquired 23,776,203 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$17,475,509. The married deal, booked at S$0.735 per share, took Mr Wong's deemed interest in the listed company from 36.59 per cent to 41.48 per cent.

On the other side of the married deal, independent non-executive director Chong Ngien Cheong sold his entire 4.89 per cent interest in Boustead Singapore.

Last month, Mr Wong reiterated that the group is actively working on capital deployment for various proposed strategic growth programmes under its real estate solutions, geospatial technology and healthcare technology divisions.

Ho Bee Land

On Sept 18, Ho Bee Holdings Pte Ltd acquired 181,100 shares of Ho Bee Land for a consideration of S$413,792, at an average price of S$2.285 per share.

This took its direct stake in the company, in addition to the deemed interest of Chua Thian Poh, the founder of Ho Bee Group, to 75.0332 per cent.

Mr Chua was appointed the chairman and CEO of the group in 1999 and is responsible for its strategic planning and direction, as well as its financial and investment decisions.

GK Goh Holdings

Between Sept 13 and 16, GKG Investment Holdings Pte Ltd (GKGI) acquired 262,300 shares of GK Goh Holdings for a consideration of S$213,627 at an average price of S$0.814 per share. This took GKGI's total interest in the listed company from 60.54 per cent to 60.62 per cent.

GK Goh Holdings executive chairman Goh Geok Khim, and executive director Goh Yew Lin have controlling interests in GKGI.

Mr Goh Geok Khim is also the chairman of the boards of Boardroom Ltd, Temasek Foundation International CLG Ltd and Federal Iron Works Sdn Bhd.

Mr Goh Yew Lin is an alternate director to Mr Goh Geok Khim for Boardroom Ltd, and serves as a non-executive director on the board of Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd.

He is the chairman of Seatown Holdings Pte Ltd and Singapore Symphonia Company Ltd, and is the chairman-designate of Duke-NUS Medical School.

Sinostar PEC

Between Sept 13 and 18, Intelligent People Holdings Ltd (IPHL) acquired 986,500 shares of Sinostar PEC Holdings (Sinostar) with a consideration of S$190,526 and price of S$0.1931 per share.

IPHL's preceding acquisition was Sept 11, with 128,100 shares acquired at a price of S$0.1699 per share.

The acquisitions took IPHL's total interest in Sinostar from 56.21 per cent to 56.32 per cent.

Sinostar non-executive chairman Li Xiang Ping has a 100 per cent shareholding interest in IPHL.

Mr Li made multiple acquisitions of Sinostar shares via IPHL back in 2018, increasing his total interest from 52.190 per cent prior to Dec 27, 2017.

TrickleStar

On Sept 17, TrickleStar independent director Ling Hee Keat acquired 500,000 shares of the Catalist-listed company for a consideration of S$155,000, at a price of S$0.31 per share. This took Mr Ling's total interest in TrickleStar from 1.86 per cent to 2.47 per cent.

From January 2013, Mr Ling has been a senior associate in Leong Partnership Advocates and Solicitors, a boutique law firm focusing on corporate law and conveyancing, where he is responsible for advising private and corporate clients, and for the business development of the firm.

Mr Ling is also a non-executive director of Maxdotcom Sdn Bhd, Nuswarna Development Sdn Bhd, Armada Marketing (M) Sdn Bhd, and an independent non-executive director of Iris Corporation Berhad.

On Sept 18, Chuah Jern Ern who is also an independent director of TrickleStar in addition to the chief intellectual property adviser to the board, acquired 119,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$35,105.

The transaction at S$0.295 per share took Mr Chuah's total interest in TrickleStar to 0.78 per cent.

TrickleStar's initial offer price of placement shares back in June was at S$0.26 per share.

The company designs and supplies affordable, energy-saving products that help consumers reduce energy consumption in their homes and workplaces.

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings

Between Sept 13 and 19, UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director, Wee Ee Chao increased his total stake in UOBKH, which is now at 29.37 per cent. Mr Wee acquired 127,100 shares for a consideration of S$152,351 at an average price of S$1.1987 per share.

The UOBKH chairman has gradually increased his total stake in UOBKH from 26.51 per cent at the end of 2017.

Singapore Kitchen Equipment

On Sept 19, Singapore Kitchen Equipment executive director and CEO Sally Chua Chwee Choo acquired 765,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$91,750, at S$0.12 per share.

This took Ms Chua's total interest in the Catalist-listed company from 79.18 per cent to 79.67 per cent.

Ms Chua is one of three founding members of Singapore Kitchen Equipment.

In addition to spearheading innovation in hardware and software aspects of operations, with oversight of both the sales and marketing divisions, Ms Chua also conceptualises the businesses' strategic plans for implementation and execution.

Asia Vets Holdings

Between Sept 12 and 16, Catalist-listed Asia Vets Holdings executive chairman and CEO Tan Tong Guan acquired 280,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$47,379.

At an average price of S$0.1692 this took his total interest in Asia Vet Holdings from 41.62 to 41.82 per cent.

Mr Tan's preceding acquisition back on March 14 involved 110,000 shares at S$0.1805 per share.

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

Vibrant Group

On Sept 16, Vibrant Group executive director and CEO Eric Khua Kian Keong acquired 52,414 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$52,414 at S$0.146 per share.

This increased his interest in the integrated logistics services provider from 59.173 per cent to 59.224 per cent.

Mr Khua has been the CEO of Vibrant Group (formerly known as Freight Links Express Holdings) since November 2003.

He is also an alternate director of Freight Management Holdings Berhad, an associated company listed on Bursa Malaysia.

UnUsUaL

On Sept 11, UnUsUaL executive director and CEO Leslie Ong Chin Soon acquired 170,300 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$43,808, at an average price of S$0.2572 per share.

This took Mr Ong's total interest in UnUsUaL from 79.00 per cent to 79.02 per cent.

His preceding acquisitions of UnUsUaL shares was on Aug 30 at an average price of S$0.2613 and March 5 at S$0.245 per share.

With 20 years of experience in the event production and promotion business, Mr Ong is responsible for the overall management operations, strategic planning and business development, and has been with the group since its inception in 1997.

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