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INSIDE INSIGHTS

Buybacks surge amid market declines

FOR the five trading sessions spanning March 6 to 12, the Straits Times Index (STI) declined 11.3 per cent with the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaging a 12.5 per cent decline.

This has brought the STI's decline in total return for 2020 through to March 12 to 16.7 per cent, following its 9.4 per cent total return in 2019.

Share buybacks

There were 32 primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions ended March 12 with a total consideration of S$169.6 million, more than double the S$64.5 million in consideration for the preceding week.

DBS Group Holdings led the consideration tally, with 6.65 million shares bought back at an average price of S$21.272 per share.

As at March 12, DBS Group Holdings had bought back 0.5492 per cent of its issued shares (excluding treasury shares) as of the approval date of the current buyback mandate.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning March 6 to 12 saw 150 changes in director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for close to 60 primary-listed stocks.

There were 45 company director acquisitions with four disposals filed, while substantial shareholders filed 28 acquisitions and four disposals.

Oxley Holdings

Between March 6 and 12, Oxley Holdings executive chairman and chief executive officer Ching Chiat Kwong acquired 2.9 million shares of the developer for a consideration of S$817,490.

At an average price of S$0.282 per share, this took Mr Ching's total stake in the listed company to 42.22 per cent.

In addition, between March 9 and 12, Oxley Holdings deputy CEO & executive director Eric Low See Ching acquired 432,600 shares of the developer for a consideration of S$114,215.

At an average price of S$0.264 per share, this increased Mr Low's interest to 28.18 per cent.

On March 12, Oxley Holdings substantial shareholder Tee Wee Sien also acquired 250,000 shares at S$0.255 per share.

This acquisition increased his direct stake in the developer to 11.14 per cent.

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings

Between March 5 and 11, UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director, Wee Ee-Chao increased his total interest in UOBKH from 29.57 per cent to 29.64 per cent.

Mr Wee acquired 517,400 shares for a consideration of S$620,148 at an average price of S$1.1986 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 March 6 and 11, Ong Sek Chong & Sons Pte Ltd acquired 1,079,800 shares of Lian Beng Group.

The consideration of the acquisitions was S$498,708 at an average price of S$0.462 per share.

This took the total interest of Ong Sek Chong & Sons Pte Ltd in the homegrown construction group from 30.23 per cent to 30.45 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 Pte Ltd.

As at March 11, Mr Ong Pang Aik maintained a 36.12 per cent total interest in Lian Beng Group, with Ms Ong Lay Huan maintaining a total interest of 33.66 per cent.

Wing Tai Holdings

On March 11, Wing Tai Holdings chairman and managing director Cheng Wai Keung acquired 214,400 shares of the listed developer at an average price of S$1.913 per share.

With a consideration of S$410,194, the acquisition increased Mr Cheng's total interest in Wing Tai Holdings from 51.37 per cent to 51.42 per cent.

Thai Beverage Plc

On March 9, Thai Beverage Public Company Ltd (ThaiBev) director and executive vice-president Ueychai Tantha-Obhas acquired 400,000 shares of the listed company at S$0.75 per share.

The consideration of the transaction totalled S$300,000 and took his total interest in ThaiBev from 0.0041 per cent to 0.0057 per cent.

Mr Ueychai Tantha-Obhas' preceding acquisition was for 320,000 shares on Feb 28 at S$0.785 per share.

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