Buybacks surge, Mapletree’s Chua Tiow Chye adds to MIT stake

FOR the 5 trading sessions that spanned Jun 10 to 16, the Straits Times Index (STI) declined 3.5 per cent, with the FTSE China A50 Index gaining 1.2 per cent, the Hang Seng Index falling 4.5 per cent and the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI sliding 2.2 per cent. 

Overall, institutions were net sellers of Singapore stocks over the 5 sessions with S$166 million of net outflow, following the S$52 million of net outflow for the preceding 5 sessions. UOB, OCBC, Singapore Airlines, Thai Beverage and Keppel DC Reit led the net institutional outflows for the 5 sessions through to Jun 16.

Share buybacks

There were 26 primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the 5 sessions ended Jun 16, with a total consideration of S$122.8 million, more than doubling the previous week's consideration tally. Wilmar International and Keppel Corporation led the consideration tally, buying back shares at average prices of S$4.08, and S$6.75 respectively.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The 5 trading sessions saw over 100 changes to director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for close to 50 primary-listed stocks. This included 19 company director acquisitions with 2 disposals filed, while substantial shareholders filed 15 acquisitions and 12 disposals.

AEM Holdings

The Employees Provident Fund Board's (EPF) deemed interest in AEM Holdings (AEM) has once again crossed above the 5.00 per cent substantial shareholder threshold.  The EPF had reduced its deemed interest in AEM below the 5.00 per cent threshold on Feb 4 to 4.87 per cent when it sold some shares, but on Jun 9, it bought shares again and raised its deemed interest to 5.05 per cent.  EPF's latest purchase of 550,000 shares at S$4.39 per share, is at a lower average price than the S$4.53 per share it had received when it sold shares and reduced its deemed interest in AEM to below the substantial shareholder threshold in February.

On Jun 16, AEM announced that it would create more than 300 additional jobs with the expansion of its Singapore, Malaysian and US operations. AEM's Penang expansion will include an R&D lab that will enable it to boost its R&D capabilities, while it will also double its headcount in Malaysia to support the expansion, including new roles for technicians, engineers, customer support group, and supply chain management. AEM is also a Gold Sponsor and the sole sponsor of the SEMICON University Program at SEMICON SEA 2022, scheduled this week in Penang.

Separately, with effect from Jul 1, Andre Andonian will join the board of AEM as an independent director. At McKinsey & Company, Andonian serves as a member of the global board, senior partner for the Singapore office, chairman of Japan and the managing partner for Korea. Back on May 5, AEM reported its highest quarterly revenue in its history at S$261.9 million for Q1 2022 (ended Mar 31), a 226.4 per cent year-on-year increase, while upwardly revising its FY22 revenue guidance to between S$700 million and S$750 million.

Mapletree Industrial Trust 

Between Jun 10 and 13, Mapletree Industrial Trust Management non-executive director Chua Tiow Chye acquired 250,000 units of Mapletree Industrial Trust (MIT) at an average price of S$2.49 per unit.

With a consideration of S$621,382, this increased his deemed interest from 0.05 per cent to 0.06 per cent. It followed his acquisition of 200,000 units at S$2.49 per unit on Feb 7 and 200,000 units at S$2.60 per unit on Jan 26.

Chua is also the deputy group CEO of Mapletree Investments, the sponsor of MIT. He focuses on driving the sponsor's strategic initiatives including expanding and directing the sponsor's international real estate investments and developments. He also directly oversees the sponsor's global lodging sector as well as the private capital management function.

For the FY22 (ended Mar 31), MIT reported its gross revenue and net property income increased 36.4 per cent and 34.5 per cent year on year to S$610.1 million and S$472.0 million respectively. MIT owns 141 properties, comprising 85 properties in Singapore and 56 properties in North America, which includes 13 data centres in North America held through the joint venture with the sponsor.

Uni-Asia Group

On Jun 13, Uni-Asia Group executive chairman Michio Tanamoto acquired 150,000 shares of the company for a consideration of S$156,000. At an average price of S$1.04 per share, this increased his total interest in the company from 3.24 per cent to 3.44 per cent. This closely followed his acquisition of 50,000 shares at S$1.09 per share on Jun 9. Tanamoto was appointed the executive chairman of Uni-Asia Group in April 2020.

The Straits Trading Company

On Jun 13, The Straits Trading Company independent and non-executive director Tan Tiong Cheng acquired 30,000 shares of the company for a consideration of S$90,300, at an average price of S$3.01 per share. This increased his direct interest in the conglomerate-investment company from 0.03 per cent to 0.04 per cent. He is also the lead independent director of Heeton Holdings and a non-executive independent director of Amara Holdings. (*see amendment note)

The same session also saw Straits Trading Company independent and non-executive director Chua Tian Chu acquire 7,000 shares of the company at S$3.00 per share.

Chua last acquired shares in the company in March, and both directors acquired shares in the company in January. 

GKE Corporation

On Jun 15, GKE Corporation executive director and CEO Neo Cheow Hui acquired 500,000 shares of the company, for a consideration of S$52,000 at 10.4 cents per share. This increased his total interest in the provider of integrated warehousing and logistics solutions from 3.60 per cent to 3.67 per cent.

Neo has extensive experience in the warehousing and logistics industry which has played a pivotal role in developing high level strategies for the group and making major corporate investments over the last 20 years.

Hong Fok Corporation

On Jun 10, Hong Fok Corporation executive director and joint CEO Cheong Sim Eng acquired 43,000 shares of the company, for a consideration of S$41,925 at 98.0 cents per share. Cheong maintains a 20.27 total interest in the property developer.

He is principally involved in the group's overall operations and management, with greater emphasis in Singapore and he has over 37 years of experience in the property development business.

Grand Venture Technology

Between Jun 13 and 15, Grand Venture Technology (GVT) executive chairman Ricky Lee Tiam Nam acquired 50,000 shares of the company at an average price of 76.8 cents per share. With a consideration of S$38,375, this increased his direct interest in the innovative precision manufacturer from 15.33 per cent to 15.34 per cent. 

Responsible for the overall strategic direction and development of the group, Lee was one of the founding directors of the company.

He has over 38 years of experience in the manufacturing, assembly/servicing and precision engineering industries, beginning his career in 1982 as a machinist in Pan-World Precision Engineering.

On Jun 15, GVT executive director and CEO Julian Ng Wai Yuen also acquired 10,000 shares at an average price of 76.5 cents per share. This increased his direct interest in the company from 3.54 per cent to 3.55 per cent. Ng has more than 20 years of experience in the manufacturing and precision engineering industries

In early May, GVT reported 19.5 per cent year-on-year growth in Ebitda and 8.9 per cent growth in net profit after tax for Q1 FY2022 (ended Mar 31), on the back of a 41.0 per cent revenue increase from S$23.0 million in Q1 FY2021 to S$32.5 million in Q1 FY2022.

Lee noted with the results that robust demand from the semiconductor industry saw GVT make good progress in its discussions with potential customers engaged in the manufacture of metrology and inspection, etching, and wafer deposition equipment. Lee added that when fully onboarded, these customers are expected to be the key drivers for the front-end semiconductor activities of GVT in the near future. In Q1 FY2022, the semiconductor sector contributed 67.2 per cent to the group's total revenue, comparable with the 71.1 per cent contribution in FY21 and 68.7 per cent contribution in 2020.

Oxley Holdings

Between Jun 14 and 15, Oxley Holdings executive director and deputy CEO Eric Low See Ching acquired 100,000 shares of the company at 17.1 cents per share.

Low maintains a 28.13 per cent direct interest in the firm and is responsible for the operation of the group including sales and marketing, project development, business development and financial management. He also assists the CEO in charting and executing strategic plans.

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

*Amendment note: A previous version of the article stated Tan Tiong Cheng as an independent and non-executive director of UOL Group. Tan had retired as a director of UOL Group on May 27, 2022.


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