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Director acquisitions continue, Sasseur debuts with 12 cornerstone investors

FOR the four sessions ending March 28, the Straits Times Index (STI) declined 3.1 per cent compared to an average 2.8 per cent decline for the benchmarks of Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and the US. In terms of SGD total returns, the STI has continued to be the most resilient of the benchmarks in the 2018 year through to March 28, declining 0.2 per cent compared to their average decline of 4.2 per cent.

Share buyback value for the four sessions spanning March 23 to 28 matched the preceding week's momentum with another 13 stocks conducting buybacks. The buyback consideration totalled S$36.2 million following on from S$42.9 million for the five preceding sessions.

CapitaLand bought back S$20.6 million in share value, taking the number of shares bought back since Feb 20 to 36.5 million. CapitaLand is authorised to buy back as many as 84.9 million shares on the current mandate which ends on April 23.

Over the five sessions, 45 primary-listed stocks lodged 147 changes in director interests or substantial shareholders. There were 25 director acquisitions with three disposals filed, while substantial shareholders filed 20 acquisitions and 18 disposals.

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Ongoing director acquisitions

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director Wee Ee Chao acquired 608,200 shares of UOBKH at an average price of S$1.4068 per share. The multiple transactions spanned March 21 to 27 with a consideration of S$855,630. This took Mr Wee's total stake in UOBKH to 26.62 per cent. He has gradually increased his stake from 25.64 per cent in mid-March 2017, when UOBKH was trading at S$1.35 per share. In Singapore, UOBKH is the largest domestic broker based on the number of registered trading representatives employed and reported profit after tax grew 33.4 per cent yer on year (yoy) for its FY17 (ended Dec 31).

Yanlord Perennial Investment (Singapore) Pte Ltd (YPIL) continued to acquire shares of United Engineers (UEL). On March 23, YPIL acquired 220,000 shares of UEL, for a consideration of S$569,800. This took the deemed UEL interest of its executive chairman Zhong Sheng Jian to 33.72 per cent.

Tung Lok Restaurants (2000) non-independent and non-executive director Sam Goi increased his total stake in the stock to 19.574 per cent with the acquisition of 70,000 shares on March 23. Vicplas International (Vicplas) non-executive director Robert Gaines-Cooper acquired 220,000 shares of the stock on March 23. This took his direct stake in Vicplas from 2.61 per cent to 2.66 per cent and his total interest to 58.33 per cent. On March 23, Frencken Group chairman and non-executive non-independent director Gooi Soon Chai acquired 64,100 shares of the stock at S$0.605 per share. This took his total stake in the company to 23.04 per cent.

Hwa Hong Corporation

Veteran banker Steven Ong Kay Eng also continued to increase his total stake in Hwa Hong Corporation. With a current total stake of 13.018 per cent, Mr Ong has gradually grown his stake in the company from 10.804 per cent on Nov 28, 2016, and 7.38 per cent at the end of 2014.

In February, the company reported its net profit grew 13.1 per cent yoy for FY17 (ended 31 Dec). With the results, the group noted it will take into account both hard and soft Brexit outcomes when assessing investment proposals in the UK.

In Singapore, the group maintained that end-buyer sentiment in the residential market is improving and an option for purchase of a RiverGate apartment has been exercised, and expects to record a gain of approximately S$1.3 million upon successful completion.

Roxy-Pacific Holdings

Roxy-Pacific bought back 100,000 shares on March 23 at S$0.55 per share. Since commencing the buyback mandate on Feb 14 (which had been approved on April 11, 2017) it has bought back 3,105,000 shares.

Between March 22 and 26, executive chairman and CEO Teo Hong Lim acquired 647,900 shares of Roxy-Pacific Holdings (Roxy-Pacific) at an average price of S$0.5538 per share. The consideration of the three transactions totalled S$358,835. This has taken Mr Teo's total stake in the company to 61.43 per cent, which is up from 60.55 per cent on Nov 28, 2016.

Mr Teo has been a director of Roxy-Pacific since May 1993 and currently sets out the group's strategies and leads overall management.

Roxy-Pacific is an established property and hospitality group with an Asia-Pacific focus and a track record that extends back to May 1967.

For its FY17 (ended Dec 31) the group reported revenue of S$246.8 million, a 36 per cent yoy decline, while net profit for the year decreased 41 per cent yoy. It said its property development segment continued to be its key revenue driver, accounting for 78 per cent of total group revenue in FY17. Its comparatively lower revenue in FY2017 of S$191.8 million from S$326.6 million in FY2016 was mainly attributed to the absence of revenue recognised in FY16 on projects that had completed in 2016 and early 2017.

The company also noted that although projects in Australia and Malaysia had made good progress on sales and construction, revenue from these projects can only be recognised upon completion, unlike projects in Singapore that record revenue progressively.

Imperium Crown

On March 23 to 26, Henry Wee increased his substantial shareholding in Imperium Crown from 14.28 per cent to 14.67 per cent. With a total consideration of S$195,556, the 3,056,500 shares were acquired at an average price of S$0.0643 per share.

Imperium Crown has continued its strategic reallocation of capital to new projects.

In February the company reported its H1FY18 (ended Dec 31) revenue declined 66.8 per cent yoy coinciding with completing the divestment of its Japan properties.

The company noted that work is currently underway on the development of the Wonder Stone Park and the Wonder Stone Hotel.

New collaborations with potential business partners in tourism, hospitality and entertainment are being sought.

Sasseur Reit

Sasseur Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) debuted on March 28 with an initial portfolio of four retail outlet mall properties in Chongqing, Bishan, Hefei and Kunming. Sasseur Reit is Asia's first outlet mall Reit.

The strong line-up of cornerstone investors includes Adroit Ideology Ltd, Bangkok Life Assurance PCL, CKK Holdings Pte Ltd, Credit Suisse AG, DBS Bank, DBS Vickers Securities (on behalf of customers), Entrepolis, Great Achievement and Success, Haitong International Financial Products (Singapore), Secoo Holding, Sparkling Gateway and TMB Asset Management Company.

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