Buybacks rise and SLA plc adds to its AEM stake

FOR the 2018 year through to Oct 11, the Straits Times Index (STI) has generated a 7.4 per cent decline in total return, which is perched in the middle of regional moves that have ranged from a 4.2 per cent total return for the Nikkei 225 Index to a 22.8 per cent decline for China's CSI 300 Index.

For the five trading sessions ended Oct 11, the STI declined 5.7 per cent, in line with the Dow Jones Index which declined 6.2 per cent.

The Oct 11 trading session accounted for more than half of the decline for the five sessions, in addition to more than a third of the buybacks filed, and almost 90 per cent of the buyback consideration.

Share buybacks

There were 18 stocks conducting buybacks over the five sessions ended Oct 11.

The consideration totalled S$34 million which was up more than tenfold from S$3 million the preceding week.

The buyback tally was led by DBS Group Holdings which bought back one million shares on Oct 11.

GP Industries and The Straits Trading Company also commenced share buyback mandates.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning Oct 5 to 11 saw close to 40 primary-listed stocks lodge 130 changes in director interests or substantial shareholdings.

There were 22 company director acquisitions and four disposals filed, while substantial shareholders filed 15 acquisitions and five disposals.

On Oct 10, Standard Life Aberdeen plc (SLA plc) again increased its deemed stake in AEM Holdings, acquiring 1,864,900 shares.

This increased the deemed stake of SLA plc in AEM Holdings to 7.19298 per cent.

As discussed last week, between Sept 28 and Oct 2, SLA plc increased its deemed stake in AEM Holdings from 4.7647 per cent to 6.1249 per cent.

SLA plc is the parent company of Aberdeen Asset Management plc.

On Oct 8, United Engineers Limited (UEL) substantial shareholder Ching Chiat Kwong acquired 466,000 shares of UEL for a consideration of S$1,254,968.

Mr Ching holds an interest of 41.45 per cent of the total issued shares (excluding treasury shares) of Oxley Holdings, and is hence deemed to have an interest in the shares of UEL held by Oxley Holdings.

On Oct 5, First Eagle Investment Management, LLC reduced its substantial shareholding in Haw Par Corporation to just below the 12 per cent threshold.

On Oct 8, Schroders plc reduced its deemed substantial shareholding in Mapletree Commercial Trust (MCT) to just below the 9 per cent threshold.

Schroders plc noted the MCT units were sold on behalf of clients as investment managers.

Sinostar Pec

Intelligent People Holdings Ltd (IPHL) continued to acquire more shares of Sinostar Pec Holdings.

Between Oct 4 and 11 IPHL acquired 2,443,200 shares of the stock for a consideration of S$559,942.

This took the deemed interest of Sinostar non-executive chairman Li Xiang Ping from 54.18 per cent to 54.56 per cent.

Mr Li has made multiple acquisitions of Sinostar shares in 2018, growing his stake via Intelligent People Holdings Ltd, from 52.19 per cent prior to Dec 27, 2017.

Allied Technologies

Allied Technologies executive director Kenneth Low Si Ren acquired 8 million shares of the stock for a consideration of S$136,880.

This has taken Mr Low's direct holdings in the manufacturer of precision stamped metal parts to 60 million shares, representing a stake of 3.39 per cent.

Mr Low was appointed to the board of directors on June 27, 2018 and his responsibilities include managing and overseeing the group's strategic investments and corporate development activities.

Silverlake Axis

Between Oct 8 and 11, Silverlake Axis CEO & group managing director Kwong Yong Sin increased his deemed interest in the 200,000 shares for a consideration of S$84,000.

This took his total stake in Silverlake Axis to 0.703 per cent.

He has over 36 years of experience in information technology, business transformation and solution implementation in financial services, utilities and technology industries.

Dr Kwong was appointed as non-executive director of Finzsoft Solutions Ltd, an associate company of Silverlake Axis in April 2015.

Finzsoft is listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

Dr Kwong started his professional career as a senior systems analyst at Pacific Power (Australia) from 1979 to 1983.

Silverlake Axis Group executive chairman Goh Peng Ooi founded the group in 1989 and maintains a 66.26 per cent deemed interest in the stock through Intelligentsia Holding Ltd, a company wholly-owned by him.

The current share buyback mandate of Silverlake Axis was approved on Oct 26, 2017 and has seen a total of 183.2 million stocks bought back, with the most recent transaction on Sept 28.

The 183.2 million shares represent 6.92 per cent of Silverlake Axis' issued shares excluding treasury shares as of the date of the share buyback resolution in 2017.

Hwa Hong Corporation

Steven Ong Kay Eng continued to increase his total stake in Hwa Hong Corporation with the acquisition of 253,100 shares.

The transactions on Oct 8 and 9 had a total consideration value of S$80,297, and increased his stake in Hwa Hong Corporation to 13.912 per cent.

Mr Ong has gradually grown his stake in the company from 10.80 per cent on Nov 28, 2016 and 7.38 per cent at the end of 2014.

Hai Leck Holdings

Between Oct 3 and 8, Hai Leck Holdings (Hai Leck) founder and executive chairman, Cheng Buck Poh acquired 122,500 shares of the stock for a consideration of S$71,033.

This took his total interest in the integrated services provider to 83.83 per cent.

Mr Cheng is responsible for charting corporate directions and strategies for the group.

This brings the number of filed acquisitions in Hai Leck by Mr Cheng, from Sept 3 to Oct 8, to 11, which has seen his stake increase from 83.34 per cent.

Prior to this, his two most recent filed acquisitions were in April 2017 and September 2016.

Spackman Entertainment Group

Between Oct 4 and 8, Spackman Entertainment Group Limited (SEGL) executive director and interim CEO Richard Lee acquired 900,000 shares of the Catalist-listed stock.

The consideration of the acquisitions was S$39,100 and increased his direct stake in the entertainment production group from 0.013 per cent to 0.114 per cent.

Mr Lee is responsible for managing and overseeing the overall business and investment activities of SEGL.

He is also chairman and CEO of Spackman Equities Group Inc, executive director of Spackman Media Group Limited, and also serves on the boards of a number of the group's portfolio companies.

Executive director and CFO Kay Na also acquired 500,000 shares of SEGL for a consideration of S$21,500 on Oct 8.

This took his direct stake in SEGL from 0.059 per cent to 0.116 per cent.

Mr Na is responsible for managing and overseeing the financial related activities of the group, including accounting, financing and taxation matters.

Prior to joining the group in 2013, Mr Na worked with KPMG Korea and KPMG Singapore, providing audit, tax and advisory services to many private and public companies over a period of nine years.

The largest shareholders of SEGL as at Sept 4, include Spackman Equities Group Inc which maintained a 16.79 per cent direct stake, and Tan Chong Koay who held a 7.97 per cent deemed interest in SEGL for the shares held by his Malaysia and Singapore asset management companies, Pheim Asset Management Sdn Bhd and Pheim Asset Management (Asia) Pte Ltd.

The current share buyback mandate of SEGL was approved on April 26 and has seen a total of 1.75 million shares bought back, with the most recent transaction on July 4.

BM Mobility

Between Oct 8 and 9, BM Mobility executive chairman Koo Ah Seang acquired 2.05 million shares of the stock for a consideration of S$22,550.

This took Mr Koo's stake in the stock from 14.49 per cent to 14.90 per cent.

He has more than 20 years of experience and knowledge in general and financial management and corporate restructuring.

Q & M Dental

Q & M Dental Group - Singapore (Q & M) founder and group CEO Ng Chin Siau continued to increase his total stake in stock, which is now 51.92 per cent.

The majority of Dr Ng's interest in Q & M Dental Group (Singapore) is by virtue of his 43.91 per cent direct shareholding in Quan Min Holdings Pte Ltd. He began 2018 with a 49.88 per cent stake in Q & M.

Dr Ng is responsible for the corporate direction of the group, leading it in all aspects of its business strategies, policy planning and business development in Singapore and overseas.

Q & M's share buyback mandate was approved on April 19 and has seen a total of 9.2 million shares bought back, with the most recent transaction on Sept 20.

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

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