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Amid regional declines, S$27m in buybacks & 32 director acquisitions filed

FOR the 2018 year through to Dec 20, the Straits Times Index (STI) generated a 7.0 per cent decline in total return, amid regional moves that have ranged from a 5.2 per cent decline for the Jakarta Composite Index to a 24.7 per cent decline for China's CSI 300 Index.

For the five trading sessions ended Dec 20, the STI registered a decline of 1.9 per cent, while the Hang Seng Index, Nikkei 225 index and S&P/ASX 200 averaged a 4.2 per cent decline.

Share buybacks

There were 20 stocks conducting buybacks over the five sessions ended Dec 20, up from the 17 stocks for the preceding week. The consideration totalled S$26.8 million, up from S$24.3 million filed for the week before.

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Like the previous week, United Overseas Bank, Keppel Reit Management, Stamford Land Corporation, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation and Venture Corporation led the consideration tally.

Soup Restaurant Group and Trek 2000 International commenced new buyback mandates.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning Dec 14 to 20 saw more than 50 primary-listed stocks lodge almost 180 changes in director interests or substantial shareholdings.

There were 32 company director acquisitions and one disposal filed, while substantial shareholders filed 27 acquisitions and three disposals.

Q & M Dental Group - Singapore (Q & M) founder and group CEO Ng Chin Siau continued to increase his total stake in the stock, which is now 53.26 per cent.

Dr Ng began 2018 with a 49.88 total per cent stake in Q & M.

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings

Between Dec 13 and 18, UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director Wee Ee Chao increased his total stake in the UOBKH from 27.93 per cent to 27.97 per cent.

Mr Wee acquired 300,200 UOBKH shares for a consideration of S$356,096.

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

Oxley Holdings

Between Dec 13 and 17, Oxley Holdings (Oxley) executive chairman and CEO Ching Chiat Kwong acquired 349,100 shares of Oxley for a consideration of S$99,735. This took Mr Ching's total stake in the stock to 41.60 per cent.

On Dec 14,Oxley deputy CEO & executive director Eric Low See Ching acquired 100,000 shares of Oxley for a consideration of S$28,500. This increased Mr Low's direct stake in the home-grown property developer to 27.82 per cent.

On Dec 18, Oxley executive director & group general manager Shawn Ching Wei Hung acquired 20,000 shares for a consideration of S$5,800, taking his interest in Oxley to 0.003 per cent.

Koufu Group

Between Dec 17 and 19, Jun Yuan Holdings Pte Ltd (Jun Yuan Holdings) acquired 220,000 shares of Koufu Group for a consideration of S$133,246.

This increased Jun Yuan Holdings' stake in Koufu Group to 78.36 per cent.

Both Koufu Group executive chairman and CEO Pang Lim and executive director Ng Hoon Tien hold 50 per cent of the shares of Jun Yuan Holdings and are founding shareholders of Koufu Group.

UMS Holdings

On Dec 18, UMS Holdings (UMS) chairman and CEO Andy Luong acquired 250,000 shares of the precision engineering group for a consideration of S$138,750.

This took Mr Luong's total stake in the stock to 20.58 per cent and follows his previous acquisition of UMS shares on Nov 15.

As president and founder of the UMS Group, Mr Luong has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing front-end semiconductor components.

On Dec 14, UMS executive director Stanley Loh Meng Chong increased his stake in the precision engineering group.

Mr Loh acquired 125,000 shares of UMS for a consideration of S$71,250. This took his total stake in UMS from 0.07 per cent to 0.093 per cent.

Mr Loh joined UMS in September 2008 as the group's financial controller with 20 years of experience in finance, accounting, treasury and auditing.

Mr Loh's preceding acquisitions of UMS shares were on Nov 2, 2017 and Aug 29, 2017.


Between Dec 17 and 18, PropNex co-founder, executive chairman and CEO Mohamed Ismail Gafoor acquired 250,000 shares of the stock for a consideration of S$127,101. The acquisition took his total interest in PropNex to 63.87 per cent.

The majority of Mr Mohamed Ismail's deemed stake is via his 62 per cent ownership of P&N Holdings Pte Ltd.

Vibrant Group

Between Dec 13 and 18, Vibrant Group executive director and CEO Eric Khua Kian Keong acquired 831,100 shares of the stock for a consideration of S$122,093.

This took Mr Khua's stake in the integrated logistic services provider to 51.357 per cent.

Vibrant Group has also recently incorporated real estate business and financial services to its comprehensive list of services.

Mr Khua has been the CEO of the company which was formerly known as Freight Links Express Holdings, since Nov 2003.

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

China Star Food Group

On Dec 13, China Star Food Group substantial shareholder PTS Capital Pte Ltd acquired 3,858,900 shares of the stock for a consideration of S$96,087.

This followed its acquisition of 15,358,100 shares between Dec 11 and 12.

PTS Capital Pte Ltd now maintains a 14.73 per cent stake in China Star Food Group.

Hong Lai Huat Group

Between Dec14 and 19, Hong Lai Huat Group deputy chairman and CEO Ong Bee Huat acquired 268,900 shares of the stock for a consideration of S$58,010.

This followed his acquisition of 787,100 shares of the real estate and property developer on Dec 12 and increased his direct stake in the stock to 15.705 per cent.

He is the founder of the group and is responsible for the group's overall strategic direction and planning as well as business development.


On Dec 14, Miyoshi CEO Andrew Sin Kwong Wah acquired 1,427,900 shares of the Catalist-listed manufacturer for a consideration of S$58,544.

This took Mr Sin's total interest in the stock to 26.70 per cent.

Mr Sin was first appointed to the Miyoshi board of directors in 1991.

LY Corporation

On Dec 17, LY Corporation executive chairman Tan Kwee Chai acquired 159,000 shares of the stock for a consideration of S$37,521. This took Mr Tan's total stake in the manufacturer and exporter of wooden bedroom furniture to 72.06 per cent.

Mr Tan is one of LY Corporation's founders and has been in the furniture manufacturing and design industry for more than 40 years.

He is responsible for the group's overall management and operations, including formulating the group's strategic directions and expansion plans.


On Dec 10, Assets Nominees (Asing) Sdn Bhd purchased 17,700 shares of GuocoLand for a consideration of S$30,798.

HL Management Co Sdn Bhd (HLMC) is a beneficiary of Assets Nominees (Asing) Sdn Bhd and non-independent executive director Quek Leng Chan is deemed to be interested in the shares of GuocoLand held by HLMC.

Mr Quek maintains a total stake of 70.36 per cent in GuocoLand and is also the chairman and CEO of Hong Leong Company (Malaysia) Berhad.

Hanwell Holdings

On Dec 17, Hanwell Holdings substantial shareholder Sam Goi Seng Hui acquired 100,000 shares of Hanwell Holdings for a consideration of S$18,900. This took his total interest in the stock to 17.00 per cent.

Mr Goi has gradually increased his total interest in the manufacturer, distributer and marketer of consumer products from 15.13 per cent on March 14, 2018.

Hanwell Holding's largest shareholder is Violet Profit Holdings Ltd with a 24.23 per cent interest as at March 2018.

Executive chairman Allan Yap and his spouse executive director Tang Cheuk Chee maintain a 17.88 per cent interest in Hanwell Holdings.


Biolidics debuted on the Catalist board on Dec 19. Biolidics was incorporated in 2009 and is a spinoff from integrated healthcare group Clearbridge Health that listed on Catalist one year prior.

Biolidics is a Singapore-based medical technology company primarily involved in the development and sale of its fully automated IVD medical device, known as the ClearCell FX1 system, and the accompanying CTChip FR1 biochips.

Biolidics' ClearCell FX1 System allows users of the system to perform liquid biopsies to test for the presence of cancer cells (specifically circulating tumour cells, or CTCs) in blood samples or perform further analysis on cancer cells.

With the increased prevalence of cancer, the global market for cancer diagnostics is expected to reach an estimated value of US$168.6 billion by 2020.

Following the placement of 27.5 million shares, some of Biolidics' main shareholders include Clearbridge Health with a 24.8 per cent interest and Seeds Capital which maintains 10.67 per cent interest.

Seeds Capital is wholly owned by Spring Entity Investments which is owned by statutory board Enterprise Singapore.

In addition, Xie Tian, dean of the Department of Medical Oncology, Holistic Integrative Oncology Institute and Holistic Integrative Cancer Center of Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine in Hangzhou Normal University, maintains a 0.64 per cent interest in the stock.

Net proceeds from the placement will be used to expand Biolidic's clinical services applications and clinical services customer segment, advance its pipeline products in addition to general corporate and working capital purposes.

  • The writer is the market strategist at Singapore Exchange (SGX). To read SGX's market research reports, visit
  • The Inside Insights column will be taking a break and will resume in mid-January.