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Founder and chairman buys S$455,800 worth of Hai Leck's shares from open market

THE founder and chairman of engineering services firm Hai Leck Holdings recently acquired about S$455,800 worth of shares from the open market in the weeks following the release of the company's Q4 and full year earnings on Aug 24, according to filings with the Singapore Exchange on Friday. 

Since Sept 3, Hai Leck chairman Cheng Buck Poh has bought shares from the open market in six instances (Sept 3, Sept 4, Sept 5, Sept 6, Sept 10 and Sept 12). In total, about 767,800 shares have been purchased for S$455,800. 

The average per-share price was 56.98 Singapore cents on Sept 3, 57.87 Singapore cents on Sept 4, 57.72 Singapore cents on Sept 5, 57.67 Singapore cents on Sept 6, 58 Singapore cents on Sept 10, and 59.45 Singapore cents on Sept 12.

These equate to an overall average price of 58.06 Singapore cents per share. Hai Leck's shares closed on Aug 24 at 57 Singapore cents.

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Following the purchases, Mr Cheng increased his direct stake in Hai Leck to 45.8 per cent or roughly 94.2 million of the company's ordinary/voting shares. Prior to the open market purchases by Mr Cheng in September, he had a direct holding of 45.4 per cent or about 93.4 million of shares.

Mr Cheng also has a deemed interest in 78 million ordinary/voting shares in the company, by virtue of a 52 per cent ownership of Cheng Capital Holdings, which holds the said shares.

In a filing with the Singapore Exchange on Aug 14, the mainboard-listed firm said it expected to post a loss for Q4 2018 on lower revenue due to market conditions. It added that despite its Q4 performance, the company is expected to remain profitable for FY2018.

For Q4, the company sank into the red, recording a net loss of S$1.4 million, from a net profit of S$878,000. Revenue tumbled 41.8 per cent to S$19.5 million from the preceding year.

For the full year, net profit plunged 82.9 per cent to S$1.4 million, and revenue dropped 19.7 per cent to S$87.7 million from the year-ago period.

Since earnings were released, Hai Leck's shares have been relatively stable, it traded at a peak of 59 Singapore cents on Sept 7. It traded at 58 Singapore cents as at 2.58pm on Friday, just under the overall average price per share paid by Mr Cheng of 58.06 Singapore cents.