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INSIDE INSIGHTS

Food Empire's CEO increases interest following Q3 results

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Food Empire's CEO Sudeep Nair acquired 1,340,700 shares of the company on Nov 12, taking his total stake from 11.08% to 11.33%.

FOR the five trading sessions spanning Nov 8 to Nov 14, the Straits Times Index (STI) declined 1.6 per cent with the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaging a 1.9 per cent decline.

This has brought the STI's 2019 total return through to Nov 14, to 9.3 per cent.

Share buybacks

There were nine primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions ended Nov 14 with a total consideration of S$14.7 million. This followed on from S$4.0 million in buyback consideration for the preceding week.

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As of Nov 14, Keppel Reit Management had bought back a total of 40,987,600 units of Keppel Reit representing 1.204 per cent of its issued units as of the April 23 start date for the current mandate.

The previous year's mandate saw Keppel Reit Management buy back 1.004 per cent of the units of Keppel Reit.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

Lower than the preceding weeks with earnings squarely in focus, the five sessions spanning Nov 8 to Nov 14 saw less than 50 changes in director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for 25 primary-listed stocks.

There were seven company director acquisitions and no disposals filed, with substantial shareholders filing 11 acquisitions and seven disposals.

Yoma Strategic Holdings

On Nov 13, Yoma Strategic Holdings (Yoma) entered into a placement agreement with Ayala Corporation (Ayala).

Ayala, through an indirect wholly-owned Singapore subsidiary, has agreed to subscribe for, and Yoma has agreed to allot and issue to Ayala, an aggregate of 474,680,104 new ordinary shares in the capital of the company.

The proposed placement is planned to be in two tranches, the first tranche comprising 332,500,000 placement shares and the second tranche comprising 142,180,104 placement shares.

This will amount to an aggregate consideration of US$155 million, at an issue price of S$0.45 per placement share, on the terms subject to the conditions of the placement agreement.

If fully allotted and issued, the first tranche placement will represent approximately 14.90 per cent of the enlarged issued and paid-up share capital of Yoma after completion.

Assuming the first completion has taken place, the second placement shares, if fully allotted and issued, will represent approximately 5.10 per cent of the enlarged issued and paid-up share capital of Yoma after completion.

The proposed placement will help fund the growth and expansion of the group's various businesses with over half of the placement proceeds being earmarked for its real estate division and the remainder primarily to refinance its existing indebtedness and for general corporate purposes.

Ayala wishes to be a strategic investor in Yoma and agreed to subscribe for the placement shares as part of its business strategy to diversify into Asia.

Food Empire Holdings Group

On Nov 12, Food Empire Holdings Group (Food Empire) CEO Sudeep Nair acquired 1,340,700 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$750,658. At a price of S$0.56 per share, this took Mr Nair's total stake in Food Empire from 11.08 per cent to 11.33 per cent.

Mr Nair has gradually increased his stake in the stock from 8.82 per cent at the end of 2016.

Food Empire has also bought back a total of 400,000 shares or 0.075 per cent of its outstanding shares, on the current share buyback mandate, which was approved on April 24.

Mr Nair's acquisition on Nov 12 followed on from the group reporting its Q3FY19 (ended Sept 30) and 9MFY19 financial results after the close of the preceding session.

On Nov 11, the group reported that its 9MFY19 net profit jumped 37.9 per cent with a higher net profit margin of 9.7 per cent per cent.

The increase in Food Empire's net profit after tax to US$20.8 million in the 9MFY19 was mainly due to rationalisation of underperforming businesses coupled with lower foreign exchange loss partly offset by higher manpower cost.

Mr Nair is responsible for the group's day-to-day operations and was appointed group CEO in October 2012.

Food Empire also highlighted recently that market diversification, streamlining of business operations and strategic mergers & acquisitions continue to be the group's key focus, going forward. The products of the global branding and manufacturing company in the food and beverage sector include instant beverage products, frozen convenience food, confectionery and snack food.

Kori Holdings

On Nov 12, Kori Holdings substantial shareholder Foo Tiang Ann acquired 726,200 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$214,229. The married deal, transacted at S$0.295 per share increased Foo's total interest in the listed company from 9.33 per cent to 10.06 per cent.

Kori Holdings is a multi-national Singapore-based BCA-registered licensed specialist builder in structural steel works, piling works, ground support and stabilisation works.

The substantial shareholder's total interest in Kori Holdings crossed above the 9.00 per cent threshold back on July 16, via a married deal at S$0.30 per share.

Note that substantial shareholder acquisitions or disposals are filed if interests in voting shares of listed corporations cross a percentage level.

Previously Foo's total interest crossed above the 7.00 per cent threshold on Aug 3, 2018 and above the 5.00 and 6.00 per cent threshold on April 16, 2018.

Fuji Offset Plates Manufacturing

Between Nov 7 and 11 Fuji Offset Plates Manufacturing (FOP) executive director and chairman David Teo Kee Bock, acquired 377,800 shares of the Catalist-listed company for a consideration of S$165,649. This increased Mr Teo's total interest in FOP from 27.26 per cent to 28.01 per cent.

The two acquisitions were transacted at an average price of S$0.438 per share.

Mr Teo has been involved in the printing industry for more than 30 years and has been the main driving force behind the growth of the company. His areas of responsibilities include business development, strategic planning and marketing.

Hwa Hong Corporation

Between Nov 6 and 13, Hwa Hong Corporation (Hwa Hong) substantial shareholder David Ong Eng Hui increased his direct stake in Hwa Hong from 5.966 per cent to 5.986 per cent. Dr Ong acquired 135,000 shares of the property rental investor and developer for a consideration of S$42,295 at an average price of S$0.313 per share.

This also increased the deemed and hence total Hwa Hong interest of Dr Ong's father, Steven Ong Kay Eng, to 15.639 per cent.

Dr Ong's preceding acquisitions of Hwa Hong shares were between Oct 30 and Nov 1 at an average price of S$0.314 per share and on Oct 22 at S$0.313 per share.

Dr Ong has gradually increased his total interest in Hwa Hong from 5.316 per cent at the end of 2018.

Union Gas Holdings

On Nov 7, Union Gas Holdings executive director and CEO Teo Hark Piang acquired 26,400 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$6,468, at a price of S$0.245 per share.

This took Mr Teo's direct interest in the provider of fuel products to 3.66 per cent.

His preceding acquisitions were on Sept 9 at S$0.242 per share and on June 26 at S$0.245 per share.

Mr Teo has more than 16 years of experience in the manufacture of gas, distribution of gaseous fuels through mains, and the general wholesale trade in Singapore.

Katrina Group

On Nov 11 Katrina Group (Katrina) founder, executive chairman and CEO Alan Goh Keng Chian acquired 40,000 shares of the Catalist-listed stock at an average price of S$0.144 per share.

The consideration of the transaction totalled S$5,744. This took Mr Goh's total interest in the F&B group with multi-cuisine concepts to 87.51 per cent.

Mr Goh has gradually increased this interest from 84.58 per cent. He heads the formulation of the group's strategic directions and expansion plans in Singapore and overseas markets, and manages the group's overall business development.

Madaline Catherine Tan Kim Wah is the co-founder, executive director of the group and spouse of Mr Goh. Ms Tan is responsible for the formulation and introduction of the group's new concept ideas and menus for new and existing brands.

She also assists Mr Goh in managing the group's overall business development and operations and is actively involved in formulating strategies to improve the processes in the group's restaurants and cafes.

Among its nine own proprietary brands, restaurants under four of its own proprietary brands namely Bali Thai, So Pho, Streats and Indobox, are certified halal in Singapore.

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