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INSIDE INSIGHTS

32 director acquisitions filed; six stocks start new buyback mandates

FOR the four trading sessions from May 31 to June 6, the STI gained 0.1 per cent while the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index all weakened, averaging a 0.7 per cent decline. This has brought the STI's 2019 total return through to June 6 to 4.7 per cent.

Share buybacks

There were 17 primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the four sessions ended June 6, with a total consideration of S$23.3 million, which is less than the preceding five sessions' S$35.3 million.

DBS Group Holdings, OCBC and Keppel Reit led the buyback tally. New mandates were commenced by Olam International, Boustead Singapore, Telechoice International, GRP, Jumbo Group and CDW Holding.

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Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The four sessions which span May 31 to June 6 saw more than 160 changes in director interests or substantial shareholdings filed for 50 primary-listed stocks. There were a total of 32 company director acquisitions and two disposals filed, with substantial shareholders filing 13 acquisitions and 10 disposals.

UOL Group

On May 31, Wee Investments (Pte) Ltd acquired 995,700 shares of UOL Group for a consideration of S$6,727,865. The next trading session of June 3 saw Wee Investments acquiring 141,000 shares for a consideration of S$952,173.

The two transactions increased the total interest of UOL Group's chairman Wee Cho Yaw in the listed company from 36.693 per cent to 36.828 per cent.

Likewise, UOL Group deputy chairman Wee Ee Lim and director Wee Ee Chao saw their total interests in UOL Group increase to 14.189 and 14.194 respectively.

United Overseas Bank

On June 3, United Overseas Bank (UOB) deputy chairman and CEO Wee Ee Cheong acquired 25,000 shares of UOB for a consideration of S$588,930. He maintains a 10.59 total interest in UOB.

Mr Wee is active in the banking and financial services industry and the community through his involvement in various industry-based organisations. He was also previously deputy chairman of the Housing & Development Board and a director of the Port of Singapore Authority, UOL Group and Pan Pacific Hotels Group.

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings

Between May 30 and 31, Wee Ee Chao, who also serves as UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director, increased his total stake in UOBKH, which is now at 28.61 per cent. Mr Wee acquired 1,762,115 UOBKH shares for a consideration of S$2,114,152.

He has gradually increased his total stake in UOBKH from 26.51 per cent at the end of 2017. Mr Wee has been closely involved in the management and growth of UOBKH over the last 33 years.

Centurion Corporation

On June 4, Centurion Corporation non-executive director David Loh Kim Kang acquired 550,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$222,750. This took his total stake in the company from 56.833 per cent to 56.899 per cent.

Mr Loh has been a principal and director of Centurion Global Ltd, a controlling shareholder of the company, from April 2008 to the present.

Hupsteel

On May 28, Buttermere Capital increased its deemed interest in Hupsteel to above the 5 per cent substantial shareholder threshold.

Buttermere Capital is a UK-based private company and has a deemed interest in the shares as it has discretionary power in the disposal rights over the shares as fund adviser.

The acquisition involved 592,200 shares for a consideration of S$444,150 and took Buttermere Capital's deemed interest in Hupsteel from 4.80 per cent to 5.30 per cent. On June 3, Buttermere Capital further increased its interest in Hupsteel to 6.00 per cent.

Frencken Group

On May 31, Frencken Group chairman and non-executive non-independent director Gooi Soon Chai acquired 200,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$119,000. His total interest in the high-tech capital and consumer equipment service provider is 23.31 per cent.

He has been the chairman of Frencken Group since August 2016 and is also a board member of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority.

PropNex

On June 3, PropNex co-founder, executive chairman and CEO Mohamed Ismail Gafoor acquired 194,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$94,876.

The acquisition took his total interest in PropNex to 64.41 per cent. The majority of his deemed stake is via his 62 per cent ownership of P&N Holdings Pte Ltd (P&N).

On June 4, PropNex co-founder and executive director Alan Lim Tow Huat also increased his stake in the listed company. He acquired 100,000 shares of PropNex at a consideration of S$48,000. His total interest in PropNex is now 59.95 per cent, with the majority of his deemed stake maintained via his 38 per cent ownership of P&N.

Sing Investments & Finance

On June 3, FH Lee Holdings (Pte) Ltd acquired 50,000 shares of Sing Investments & Finance for a consideration of S$72,000.

This increased the total interest of Sing Investments & Finance's managing director, Lee Sze Leong, and deputy managing director, Lee Sze Siong, to 30.134 per cent and 30.176 per cent, respectively.

CosmoSteel

Between May 30 and June 4, CosmoSteel executive director Ong Tong Hai acquired 521,200 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$49,576. This took his total interest in the distributor of piping system components to 11.81 per cent.

Mr Ong joined CosmoSteel in 1998 and spearheads the development and implementation of policies and procedures to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the group's logistics and operations functions. Since joining the group, he has been largely involved in inventory and warehousing logistics and management, information systems and technology management and administration.

Alliance Healthcare Group

On May 31, Alliance Healthcare Group (Alliance) debuted on Catalist. Alliance is an integrated healthcare organisation that leverages technology to provide a broad suite of healthcare services, primarily in Singapore.

Executive chairman and CEO Barry Thng Lip Mong maintains the data intelligence retrieved from healthcare users which provides Alliance with insights into disease trends and healthcare utilisation. This enables its corporate clients and insurance partners to maximise their returns on their health dollar as well as improve the delivery of healthcare.

Dr Thng maintains a direct 3.56 per cent interest in the listed company, in addition to a 64.19 per cent deemed interest through Alpine Investment Holdings Pte Ltd. He has a 62.0 per cent interest in Alpine Investment Holdings Pte Ltd and is a founder of the group, responsible for its overall business as well as strategic direction.

As head of the GP Clinic Services business segment, he also oversees the strategic direction and day-to-day management of this segment.

Lead independent director Eugene Wong Hin Sun and independent director Benny Lim Heng Chong both maintain a 0.05 per cent direct interest in Alliance.

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