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INSIDE INSIGHTS

Director activity continues to grow

FOR the five trading sessions spanning Nov 22 to 28, the Straits Times Index (STI) gained 0.3 per cent with the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaging a 1.8 per cent gain. This has brought the STI's 2019 total return through to Nov 28, to 8.4 per cent.

Share buybacks

There were 11 primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions ended Nov 28 with a total consideration of S$15.6 million. This followed on from S$17.5 million in buyback consideration for the preceding week.

OCBC led the consideration tally and as at Nov 28, had bought back 0.187 per cent of its issued shares (excluding treasury shares) on the current buyback mandate which was approved on April 29.

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Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning Nov 22 to Nov 28 saw 80 changes in director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for 40 primary-listed stocks. Director activity continues to grow after a seasonal pause during to the recent focus on earnings reports.

There were 19 company director acquisitions and two disposals filed, with substantial shareholders filing 14 acquisitions and seven disposals.

Wilmar International

On Nov 22, Wilmar International executive director Teo La-Mei exercised 250,000 share options of the listed company for a consideration of S$762,500. At S$3.05 per share, this took Ms Teo's direct interest in the leading agri-business group from 0.008 per cent to 0.012 per cent.

On June 18, 2015, Wilmar granted options to subscribe for a total of 52,400,000 ordinary shares at S$3.05 per share.

Ms Teo also holds another 750,000 share options of Wilmar International and prior to exercising the 250,000 share options, she disposed of 30,000 shares of Wilmar International for a consideration of S$4.15 per share.

Ms Teo was appointed to the board on Feb 21, and is responsible for overseeing the group's legal and corporate secretarial functions. She has been the group legal counsel and company secretary since August 2009 and has been a director of Shangri-La Hotel since June 2001.

Ms Teo's transactions followed on from Wilmar international reporting a 10 per cent increase in net profit to US$447.1 million for its Q3FY19 (ended Sept 30) with the stronger performance driven by better results in tropical oils and consumer products, and the recognition of a gain from the disposal of the group's discontinued operations in Brazil.

Wilmar International's largest shareholders are PPB Group Bhd, Archer Daniels Midland Asia Pacific Ltd and chairman and CEO Kuok Khoon Hong.

Perennial Real Estate Holdings

On Nov 20, HPRY Holdings Ltd acquired 636,800 shares of Perennial Real Estate Holdings (Perennial) at an average price of S$0.5204 per share. With a consideration of S$331,391 this increased its substantial shareholding in the integrated real estate and healthcare company from 27.96 per cent to 28.00 per cent.

This also increased the interest of Perennial chairman and non-independent director Kuok Khoon Hong in the listed company from 36.49 per cent to 36.53 per cent.

As a real estate owner, developer and manager, Perennial focuses strategically on large-scale mixed-use developments and has a presence in China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Ghana with a combined portfolio spanning over 65 million square feet in gross floor area.

JB Foods

Between Nov 27 and 28, JB Foods executive director Goh Lee Beng acquired 462,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$296,000. This took Mdm Goh's direct interest in JB Foods from 1.26 per cent to 1.41 per cent. JB Cocoa Group Sdn Bhd also maintains a 45.52 per cent interest in JB Foods, of which Mdm Goh has a deemed interest. This brings her total interest in JB foods to 46.93 per cent.

At JB Foods, she is responsible for procurement of raw materials and managing the cocoa trading positions, which includes sourcing of cocoa beans and cocoa ingredients, managing the group's cocoa hedging book, monitoring world cocoa trends, and marketing of cocoa butter.

Sinostar PEC

Between Nov 26 and 27, Intelligent People Holdings Ltd (IPHL) acquired 1.27 million shares of Sinostar PEC Holdings (Sinostar) for a consideration of S$267,660 at an average price of S$0.2108 per share. The acquisitions took IPHL's total interest in Sinostar from 57.20 per cent to 57.39 per cent.

Sinostar non-executive chairman Li Xiang Ping has a 100 per cent shareholding interest in IPHL. Mr Li has made multiple acquisitions of Sinostar shares via IPHL back in 2018 and in the 2019 year-to-date, increased his total interest from 52.190 per cent prior to Dec 27, 2017.

Silverlake Axis

On Nov 25, Silverlake Axis independent non-executive director Lim Kok Min acquired 200,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$83,500. At an average price of S$0.4175 per share, the acquisition increased his direct interest in Silverlake Axis to 0.038 per cent.

Mr Lim has more than 45 years of extensive senior management and over 30 years of board experience in the Asia-Pacific region.

He is also the chairman and a member of the audit committee of IReit Global Group Pte Ltd and the chairman of Boustead Projects. Mr Lim has been a director of Silverlake Axis since June 2006.

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings

Between Nov 21 and 27, UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director, Wee Ee Chao increased his total stake in UOBKH, which is now at 29.44 per cent. He acquired 59,900 shares for a consideration of S$73,078 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.

AEI Corporation

On Nov 21, New Impetus Strategy Fund (NISF) disposed of 82,500 shares of AEI Corporation for a consideration of S$67,188. At an average price of S$0.8144 per share, this reduced NISF's direct interest in AEI Corporation from 52.50 per cent to 52.35 per cent.

AEI Corporation's non-executive chairman Sun Quan maintains a controlling interest in the fund manager of NISF. Mr Sun has more than 20 years of investment and management experience in the Greater China region, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, covering a variety of business areas including high technology, pharmaceuticals, electronics, real estate, natural resources and the chemical industry.

GL

On Nov 25, GL substantial shareholder Hong Leong Company (Malaysia) Bhd increased its deemed interest in the stock with the acquisition of 80,000 shares for a consideration of S$62,800.

Transacted at a price of S$0.785 per share, this took Hong Leong Company (Malaysia) Bhd's deemed interest in GL to 70.02 per cent.

GK Goh Holdings

On Nov 22, GKG Investment Holdings Pte Ltd (GKGI) acquired 65,400 shares of GK Goh Holdings for a consideration of S$54,936 at a price of S$0.84 per share.

This took GKGI's total interest in the listed company from 60.62 per cent to 60.64 per cent.

GKGI's preceding acquisition of GK Goh Holdings shares was between Sept 13 and 16, with 262,300 shares acquired at an average price of S$0.814 per share

GK Goh Holdings executive chairman Goh Geok Khim, and executive director Goh Yew Lin have controlling interests in GKGI. Mr Goh Geok Khim is also the chairman of the boards of Boardroom Ltd, Temasek Foundation International CLG Ltd and Federal Iron Works Sdn Bhd.

Mr Goh Yew Lin is an alternate director to Mr Goh Geok Khim for Boardroom Ltd, and serves as a non-executive director on the board of Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd.

He is the chairman of Seatown Holdings Pte Ltd and Singapore Symphonia Company Ltd, and is the chairman of Duke-NUS Medical School. (amendment note)

Tai Sin Electric

On Nov 22, substantial shareholder Joanna Guah Li Mei acquired 140,000 shares of Tai Sin Electric for a consideration of S$45,500. At S$0.325 per share, the acquisition increased Ms Guah's total interest in Tai Sin Electric from 5.419 per cent to 5.450 per cent.

Tai Sin Electric's business is streamlined into four business segments, namely cable & wire, electrical material distribution, switchboard and test & inspection.

Ms Guah is the spouse of Benedict Lim Boon Hoh, a manager at Tai Sin Electric. Mr Lim is the son of Tai Sin Electric chairman Bobby Lim Chye Huat and brother of CEO Bernard Lim Boon Hock.

Despite reporting lower revenue for its Q1FY20 (ended Sept 30), gross profit for the period climbed 24 per cent year on year with higher margins attributable to the drop in copper prices during the period and lower deliveries for the low margin infrastructure projects secured two to three years ago that are nearing completion.

AnnAik

Between Nov 22 and 27, AnnAik executive director and COO Ng Kim Keang acquired 1.2 million shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$72,000. At a price of S$0.06 per share, this took his direct interest in AnnAik from 1.61 per cent to 2.02 per cent.

Mr Ng is responsible for managing the overall operations and the finance and accounting matters. He joined the company in January 2003 as financial controller, and was promoted to executive director in January 2005 and COO in March 2015.

A-Smart Holdings

On Nov 25, A-Smart Holdings CEO and non-independent director Lim Huan Chiang acquired 30,000 shares for a consideration of S$9,300 at S$0.31 per share.

This increased his direct interest from 0.56 per cent to 0.59 per cent.

Mr Lim joined as the CEO on Oct 26, 2015.

Hai Leck Holdings

On Nov 26, Hai Leck Holdings (Hai Leck) founder and executive chairman, Cheng Buck Poh acquired 18,600 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$9,114 at S$0.49 per share. This took his total interest in the integrated services provider to 84.36 per cent.

His preceding acquisitions were between Sept 19 and 2, acquiring 333,000 shares at an average price of S$0.5105 per share and 20,000 shares on April 3 at S$0.52 per share.

Mr Cheng started Hai Leck Engineering as a sole proprietorship in 1971 and is currently responsible for charting its corporate directions and strategies. His total interest in Hai Leck was 83.34 per cent at the end of August 2018.

  • The writer is the market strategist at Singapore Exchange (SGX). To read SGX's market research reports, visit sgx.com/research.
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Amendment note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Goh Yew Lin is chairman-designate of Duke-NUS Medical School. Mr Goh is in fact the chairman of Duke-NUS with effect from Oct 1, 2019. The article above has been revised to reflect this.