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INSIDE INSIGHTS

Fewer director purchases and buybacks; STI surges

FOR the five trading sessions that spanned May 29 to June 4, the Straits Times Index (STI) climbed 7.6 per cent with the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaging a 3.5 per cent gain. This has brought the STI's decline in total return for the 2020 year to June 4 to 14.6 per cent.

Over the five sessions, the iEdge S-Reit Index gained 6.1 per cent, bringing its decline in total return for the 2020 year to June 4 to 6.6 per cent.

Share buybacks

There were nine primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions than spanned May 29 to June 4 with a total consideration of S$1.5 million, less than the S$6.0 million for the preceding week.

Global Investments led the tally and its current buyback mandate has seen the company buy back 7.93 per cent of its issued shares (excluding treasury shares as of the date of the approved buy back resolution on April 25, 2019). Global Investments' share price declined by 1.4 per cent in the 2020 year through to June 4.

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Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five trading sessions spanning May 29 to June 4 saw approximately 120 changes in director interests and substantial shareholdings, filed for more than 40 primary-listed stocks.

This included 12 company director acquisitions, with eight disposals filed, and substantial shareholders filing 14 acquisitions with eight disposals.

Serial System

Between June 1 and 2, Serial System executive chairman and group chief executive officer Derek Goh Bak Heng acquired 6.7 million shares of the electronic components distributor for a consideration of S$471,644.

At an average price of 7.04 cents per share, the acquisitions increased his total interest in Serial System from 39.66 per cent to 40.41 per cent.

He founded Serial System as a sole proprietorship in 1988, incorporated Serial System in 1992 and was the founding chairman and CEO when Serial System listed in 1997.

He maintains overall management responsibilities for the group, including leading the board in charting the future direction for the group.

With 25 offices and 13 warehousing facilities in key Asian markets - Singapore, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam - Serial System has one of the largest and most extensive distribution networks in the region.

Major suppliers of consumer products distributed by Serial System include AMD, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Gigabyte, Canon and Samsung.

In the FY19 Serial System annual report, Mr Goh noted that Serial System is continuing to focus its efforts to increase and diversify its revenue streams to recover the business it had lost after a 2018 cessation of a longstanding distribution agreement with Texas Instruments, while at the same time, remaining mindful of the state of the Asian markets.

Mr Goh also acknowledged that the health crisis and the oil shock felt in Q120 would continue to impact economic sentiment at least through the rest of its FY20 (ending 31 Dec).

He added that Serial System would redouble its efforts in its core semiconductor business while looking out for other opportunities which leverage its strengths and network, and would not be over-pessimistic, noting that Serial System had emerged stronger after each crisis faced in the last three decades.

Mr Goh also maintained the belief that there will always be demand for semiconductors due to the plethora of essential and infrastructural electronic devices that use them as building blocks.

He added that the proliferation of applications in Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), mobility services and autonomous vehicles promises to supercharge the semiconductor industry in the next decade.

Dutech Holdings

Between May 29 and June 2, Dutech Holdings' independent, non-executive director Hedda Juliana im Brahm-Droege increased her interest in the global manufacturer of high security products from 8.06 per cent to 8.16 per cent.

The acquisition of the 348,200 shares totalled S$94,423 at an average price of 27.12 cents per share.

Dr im Brahm-Droege is the co-founder and the deputy chairperson of the supervisory board of Droege Group AG, an independent advisory and investment company.

She is also a member of the board of trustees of Kunstsammlung North Rhine-Westphalia and a member of the Erich Gutenberg Association.

Dutech Holdings' UL- and CEN-certified products include ATM safes, banking safes, commercial safes, and cash handling systems.

The group's headquarters is located in Shanghai, which serves as the centre for research and development, marketing, customer service, corporate development, as well as financial management.

Hwa Hong Corporation

Between May 28 and June 1, Hwa Hong Corporation (Hwa Hong) substantial shareholder David Ong Eng Hui acquired 133,800 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$40,277 at 30.10 cents per share.

Dr Ong has gradually increased his total interest in Hwa Hong from 5.32 per cent at the end of 2018, to 6.23 per cent as of June 1.

The acquisitions also increased the deemed and hence total interest of Dr Ong's father, Steven Ong Kay Eng, in Hwa Hong, to 16.12 per cent.

Boldtek

Between May 28 and June 2, Yi Investment Pte Ltd acquired 370,600 shares of Boldtek for a consideration of S$39,871 at an average price of 10.76 cents per share.

Yi Investment shareholders are Boldtek executive director and CEO Phua Lam Soon (50 per cent) and executive director Ong Siew Eng (50 per cent). Mr Phua and his spouse Ms Ong are also the co-founders of the group. Mr Phua is in charge of setting out strategic plans, steering business development and the overall management and day-to-day operations for the group, and he has more than 30 years of experience in Singapore's building construction industry.

Ms Ong oversees the group's human resource management and administrative functions.

The couple's combined interest in Boldtek is 64.59 per cent.

JEP Holdings

On June 3, JEP Holdings executive director Zee Hoong Huay acquired 50,000 shares of the Catalist-listed company for a consideration of S$9,800.

At an average price of 19.6 cents per share, the acquisitions increased his total interest in JEP Holdings from 15.48 per cent to 15.49 per cent.

Mr Zee's previous acquisitions were between May 21 and 27, with 100,400 shares acquired at 18.5 cents per share.

He is a veteran in the metal tooling and precision engineering industries with over 30 years of industrial experience and capabilities.

Mr Zee, the co-founder and managing director of JEP Industrades Pte Ltd, joined the company as executive director on Aug 27, 2015.

He has gradually increased his total interest in JEP Holdings from 14.77 per cent on July 7, 2019.

Federal International (2000)

Between May 28 and June 2, Federal International (2000) (Federal) executive chairman and chief executive Koh Kian Kiong acquired 34,900 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$6,431.

At an average price of 18.4 cents per share, this took his total interest in Federal from 19.73 per cent to 19.76 per cent.

His total interest in Federal has gradually increased from 15.77 per cent at the beginning of 2016.

Mr Koh is one of the founders of the group and has more than 45 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. He oversees the formulation of the group's corporate strategies and expansion plans and holds directorships in various subsidiaries and associated companies of the group.

  • 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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