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INSIDE INSIGHTS

Buybacks and director acquisitions continue surge

FOR the five trading sessions spanning March 13 to 19, the Straits Times Index (STI) declined 13.3 per cent with the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaging an 11.7 per cent decline.

This has brought the STI's decline in total return for 2020 through to March 19 to 27.9 per cent, with the FTSE All World Index declining 22.9 per cent.

Share buybacks

There were 49 primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions ended March 19 with a total consideration of S$208.3 million, following the S$169.6 million in consideration for the preceding week.

DBS Group Holdings again led the consideration tally, with 9.3 million shares bought back at an average price of S$18.59 per share.

OCBC bought back one million shares at an average price of S$8.71 per share and United Overseas Bank bought back 360,000 shares at an average price S$19.49.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning March 13 to 19 saw as many as 230 changes in director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for 80 primary-listed stocks.

There were 130 company director acquisitions with one disposal filed, while substantial shareholders filed 39 acquisitions and two disposals.

UOL Group

Between March 13 and 16, Wee Investments (Pte) Ltd acquired 3.97 million shares of UOL Group for a consideration of S$26,305,751 at an average price of S$6.63 per share.

The transactions increased the total interest of UOL Group's chairman Wee Cho Yaw in UOL Group to 37.33 per cent. Likewise, UOL Group deputy chairman Wee Ee Lim and director Wee Ee Chao saw their interests in UOL Group increase to 14.70 per cent.

Mr Wee Ee Chao who also serves as UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director, increased his total stake in UOBKH between March 12 and 18, to 29.74 per cent.

He acquired 868,400 UOBKH shares for a consideration of S$996,863 at S$1.15 per share.

Raffles Medical Group

Between March 13 and 19, Raffles Medical Group executive chairman and co-founder Loo Choon Yong acquired 4,030,400 shares of the private healthcare provider for a consideration of S$3,318,861.

At S$0.82 per share, this increased Dr Loo's total interest in Raffles Medical Group from 51.70 per cent to 51.92 per cent.

On March 17, non-independent director Olivier Lim Tse Ghow, with a 0.01 per cent interest in Raffles Medical Group, acquired 120,000 shares for a consideration of S$100,440, at S$0.84 per share.

Olam International

Between March 16 and 17, Olam International executive director, co-founder and group CEO Sunny Verghese acquired 1.75 million shares of the leading food and agri-business for a consideration of S$2,621,050.

At S$1.50 per share, this increased Mr Verghese's direct interest in Olam International from 4.19 per cent to 4.25 per cent.

First Sponsor Group

On March 13, First Sponsor Group (FSGL) non-executive chairman Calvin Ho Han Leong increased his deemed interest in the property developer by 2.5 million shares for a consideration of S$2,875,000.

At S$1.15 per share, the married deal increased Mr Ho's total interest in FSGL from 45.63 per cent to 45.94 per cent.

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

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