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Buybacks and director acquisitions surge

FOR the five trading sessions spanning Feb 28 to March 5, the Straits Times Index (STI) declined 3.0 per cent with the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaging a 1.6 per cent decline.

This has brought the STI's decline in total return for 2020 through to March 5 to 6.2 per cent, following its 9.4 per cent total return in 2019.

The iEdge S-Reit Index benefited from the cut in US interest rates, gaining 3.3 per cent for the five sessions.

Share buybacks

There were 20 primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions ended March 5 with a total consideration of S$64.5 million, adding to the S$40.2 million in consideration for the preceding week.

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DBS Group Holdings, Golden Agri-Resources, OCBC, Silverlake Axis and Singapore Exchange led the consideration tally.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning Feb 28 to March 5 saw 160 changes in director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for close to 70 primary-listed stocks.

There were 38 company director acquisitions with four disposals filed, while substantial shareholders filed 19 acquisitions and nine disposals.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (Holdings)

On March 2, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (Holdings) CEO Ren Letian acquired 163,697,370 shares of the leading shipbuilder for a consideration of S$153,875,528.

At 94 cents per share, the married deal took his total interest in the listed company from 0.054 per cent to 4.23 per cent. He acquired the shares from Hengyuan Asset Investment.

Mr Ren helms the group's overall shipbuilding operations, and is the son of Ren Yuanlin, the executive chairman of the group.

Chuan Hup Holdings

On March 4, Chuan Hup Holdings executive director Peh Kwee Chim acquired 18,330,100 shares of the investment company for a consideration of S$4,032,622.

At S$0.22 per share, the married deal increased his total interest in the listed company from 53.61 per cent to 55.58 per cent. Mr Peh was one of the founders of Chuan Hup Holdings in 1970.

United Global

On March 3, United Global executive director and CEO Jacky Tan Thuan Hor acquired 3 million shares of the Catalist-listed company at S$0.47 per share, and a consideration of S$1.41 million.

The married deal took his total interest in the Singapore-based lubricant manufacturer and trader from 36.01 per cent to 36.96 per cent.

His preceding acquisition was on Dec 13, 2019, when 2 million shares were also acquired at S$0.47 per share. Mr Tan's spouse, executive director Ety Wiranto, also maintains a total stake of 36.96 per cent in United Global.

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings

Between Feb 28 and March 4, UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director, Wee Ee-Chao increased his total interest in UOBKH from 29.54 per cent to 29.57 per cent.

Mr Wee acquired 227,400 shares for a consideration of S$277,424 at S$1.22 per share.

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

Lian Beng Group

Between Feb 27 and March 2, Ong Sek Chong & Sons Pte Ltd acquired 565,400 shares of Lian Beng Group. The consideration of the acquisitions was S$277,045 at an average price of S$0.49 per share.

This took the total interest of Ong Sek Chong & Sons in the homegrown construction group from 30.12 per cent to 30.23 per cent.

Lian Beng Group chairman and managing director, Ong Pang Aik, and Ms Ong Lay Huan maintain deemed interests in Ong Sek Chong & Sons.

As at March 2, Mr Ong maintained a 35.90 per cent total interest in Lian Beng Group, with Ms Ong maintaining a total interest of 33.44 per cent.

Thai Beverage Plc

On Feb 28, Thai Beverage Public Company Ltd (ThaiBev) director and executive vice-president Ueychai Tantha-Obhas acquired 320,000 shares of the listed company at S$0.785 per share.

The consideration of the transaction totalled S$251,200 and took his total interest in ThaiBev from 0.0028 per cent to 0.0041 per cent.

Mr Ueychai Tantha-Obhas has been a director of ThaiBev since July 8, 2005.

JEP Holdings

JEP Holdings is a leading solution provider of precision machining and engineering services, with a primary focus on the aerospace industry.

Between Feb 28 and March 5, JEP Holdings executive director Zee Hoong Huay acquired 827,000 shares of the Catalist-listed company for a consideration of S$174,170.

At an average price of S$0.2106 per share, the open market transactions increased his total interest in JEP Holdings from 14.28 per cent to 14.48 per cent.

Mr Zee is a veteran in the metal tooling and precision engineering industries with over 30 years of industrial experience and capabilities.

Uni-Asia Group

On March 4, Uni-Asia Group executive director Masahiro Iwabuchi acquired 103,000 shares of the alternative investment integrated service provider for a consideration of S$65,920.

At S$0.64 per share, this took Mr Iwabuchi's total interest in Uni-Asia Group from 0.25 per cent to 0.38 per cent.

On March 2, Uni-Asia Group executive director, Kenji Fukuyado acquired 47,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$30,550.

At an average price of S$0.65 per share, this took Mr Fukuyado's total interest from 1.02 per cent to 1.08 per cent.

Oxley Holdings

On Feb 28, Oxley Holdings deputy chief executive officer & executive director Eric Low See Ching acquired 200,000 shares of Oxley for a consideration of S$62,000.

At S$0.31 per share, this increased his direct stake in the homegrown property developer from 28.16 per cent to 28.17 per cent.

Mr Low is responsible for the operation of the group including sales and marketing, project development, business development and financial management.

Mr Low also assists the CEO in charting and executing the strategic plans for the group.

Q & M Dental

Q & M Dental Group (Singapore) founder and group chief executive officer Ng Chin Siau resumed increasing his total interest in stock, which is now 57.06 per cent.

Between Feb 28 and March 3, Dr Ng acquired 133,900 shares for a consideration of S$60,734 at an average price of S$0.4536 per share.

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

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