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Boustead Singapore's substantial shareholder disposes entire stake in firm

SUBSTANTIAL shareholder and former deputy chairman of Boustead Singapore, Saiman Ernawan, has pared his entire stake in the company.

This comes after the infrastructure engineering company on Monday said that a substantial shareholder has expressed his intention to make an exit, in response to queries by the Singapore Exchange regarding a spike in its trading activity.

Boustead Singapore did not provide further details about this possible exit, noting that the substantial shareholder is obliged to disclose changes to his shareholding within two business days.

In filings to the Singapore bourse on Tuesday evening, it was revealed that Mr Ernawan had on March 9 sold 20.4 million shares worth S$15.5 million via both market and off-market transactions, reducing his interest in the company from 9.46 per cent, or 49.4 million shares to 5.57 per cent or 29 million shares.

This was followed by another share disposal on March 12, where his remaining shares were sold for S$22 million - bringing his stake in the firm to zero.

In both transactions, the sale price amounted to about 76 Singapore cents per share.

Boustead Singapore bought back most of these 29 million shares via two share buybacks on March 9 and March 12, at the same price that Mr Ernawan sold his shares for.

According to Boustead Singapore's latest SGX filing on Tuesday evening, its share buyback on March 9 has increased substantial shareholder FMR LLC's stake in the company from 9.99 per cent to 10.04 per cent.

As a result of this share buyback, FMR LLC's subsidiary, Fidelity Management & Research Company's stake in Boustead Singapore has also been raised from 6.63 per cent to 6.66 per cent.

Nonetheless, chairman and chief executive, Wong Fong Fui still holds the largest shareholding in the company, with a stake of 34.06 per cent before the share buyback, data from the firm's latest annual report show.

As at market close on Tuesday, shares of Boustead Singapore were trading down 1.24 per cent to 79.5 Singapore cents apiece, while shares in its 51 per cent owned subsidiary Boustead Projects were up 0.6 per cent to 83 Singapore cents apiece.