Keppel leads buybacks, while RE&S president increases stake

Published Mon, Feb 22, 2021 · 05:50 AM

FOR the four local trading sessions that spanned Feb 15 to 18, the Straits Times Index (STI) declined 0.6 per cent while the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaged a 0.1 per cent gain.

This has brought the STI's total return for the 2021 year to Feb 18 to 2.5 per cent.

Within the STI, United Overseas Bank, OCBC and Wilmar International have seen the highest net institutional inflows in the 2021 year to Feb 18, while outside the STI, the highest net institutional inflows remained drawn to technology trio Fu Yu Corporation, AEM Holdings and UMS Holdings.

Over the five sessions, the iEdge S-Reit Leaders Index also declined 0.7 per cent, bringing its total return for the 2021 year to Feb 18 to 0.1 per cent.

Among the business trusts, stapled trusts and Reits of the S-Reit sector, Keppel DC Reit, CapitaLand China Trust and ARA LOGOS Logistics Trust were recipients of the highest net institutional inflows in the 2021 year to Feb 18.

Share buybacks


Start and end each day with the latest news stories and analyses delivered straight to your inbox.


There were six primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the four sessions with a total consideration of S$6,674,559.

Keppel Corporation

Keppel Corporation led the buyback consideration tally over the four sessions, buying back 963,000 shares at an average price of S$5.13 per share.

As of Feb 18, Keppel Corporation had purchased 0.26 per cent of its issued shares (excluding treasury shares) on the current mandate.

The two preceding year mandates saw Keppel Corporation buy back 0.09 per cent and 0.22 per cent of its issued shares.

On Jan 28, Keppel Corporation reported a net loss of S$506 million for its FY20 (ended Dec 31), compared to a net profit of S$707 million in FY19, after impairments of S$952 million, mainly due to the offshore & marine business, the bulk of which was recognised in its Q2FY20.

With the results, Keppel Corporation announced that it was embarking on a comprehensive transformation of its wholly owned subsidiary, Keppel Offshore & Marine, to better align it to Keppel's Vision 2030.

As part of the transformation, Keppel Offshore & Marine's business will restructure into three parts that include a rig company, a development company and an operating company.

The rig company and the development company will be transient entities created to hold the approximately S$2.9 billion worth of completed and uncompleted rig assets.

The operating company will comprise the rest of Keppel Offshore & Marine, and be transformed into an asset-light and people-light developer and integrator of offshore energy and infrastructure assets.

Keppel's Vision 2030 will see the group refocus its portfolio to be an integrated business, providing end-to-end solutions for sustainable urbanisation, with an asset management arm to fund the group's growth and provide a platform for capital recycling.

Singapore Telecommunications

Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) bought back 672,151 shares at an average price of S$2.42 per share. This was the first buyback filed for its current mandate.

The preceding buyback mandate saw Singtel buy back just 945,055 of its issued shares.

On Feb 10, Singtel noted in a business update that its Q3FY21 (ended Dec 31) saw a second consecutive quarter of revenue recovery across the businesses, with the year-on-year performance impacted by ongoing pandemic and structural challenges in the carriage business.

The group noted robust growth in ICT services, led by NCS & Australia Enterprise as customers stepped up digitalisation efforts.

Meanwhile, mobile services remained subdued, with declines in roaming and prepaid revenues mitigated by the growth of Optus Choice plans in Australia, while strong results and operating momentum from Airtel drove a higher contribution from the regional associates.

Singtel also noted on Feb 17 that it had completed initial investigations into a recent breach on a third-party file sharing system and had begun reaching out to affected stakeholders.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The four trading sessions saw just 45 changes in director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for 23 primary-listed stocks.

This included two company director acquisitions, no filed director disposals, and substantial shareholders filing five acquisitions and eight disposals.

On Feb 15, Standard Life Aberdeen increased its Yoma Strategic Holdings substantial shareholding above the 6.00 per cent threshold, with its deemed interest increasing from 5.99 per cent to 6.36 per cent.

Meanwhile, the deemed interest of Eaton Vance Management and Boston Management and Research in Yoma Strategic Holdings fell below the 5.00 per cent substantial shareholding threshold due to selling activity.

Eaton Vance Management is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eaton Vance Corp and Boston Management and Research is a 99.9 per cent owned subsidiary of Eaton Vance Management.

Uni-Asia Group

Between Feb 10 and 15, Uni-Asia Group substantial shareholder Ham Yong Kwan continued to increase his direct interest in the company, acquiring 87,800 shares for a consideration of S$52,552.

At 60 cents per share, this increased his substantial shareholding in Uni-Asia Group from 5.63 per cent to 5.74 per cent.

Mr Ham maintained a 2.20 per cent interest in the company on March 16, 2020 with his direct interest reported to cross over the 5.00 per cent substantial shareholding threshold in a filing on Jan 27.

Uni-Asia Group will report its FY20 (ended Dec 31) results after trading on March 1.

In its Q3FY20 corporate update, the group noted total charter income had improved with better daily rates, with Q3FY20 charter income performing better than Q1FY20 and Q2FY20.

The Q3FY20 corporate update also highlighted that total assets (excluding right-of-use assets due to lease accounting) comprised maritime investments (63.3 per cent), property investments (18.8 per cent), cash and cash equivalents (15.7 per cent) and others (2.2 per cent).

RE&S Holdings

On Feb 15, RE&S Holdings (RE&S) executive director and president Hiroshi Tatara acquired 100,000 shares of the Catalist-listed company at 17 cents per share.

It took his total interest in RE&S from 61.88 per cent to 61.91 per cent.

This followed his acquisition of 67,100 shares in the company at 15 cents per share on Feb 9.

Mr Tatara is also the founder of RE&S and has always been active in overseeing the group's overall corporate strategy.

He relocated to Singapore from Osaka, Japan in 1976.

RE&S is a multi-concept owner and operator of food & beverage (F&B) outlets in Singapore and Malaysia, providing customers with authentic Japanese cuisine and dining experience.

Since its incorporation in 1988, RE&S has grown from a single restaurant into a network comprising its corporate headquarters building with an office, central kitchen and warehousing facilities in Tai Seng; a procurement office in Japan, and more than 70 F&B outlets.

On Feb 8, RE&S reported a turnaround performance in its H1FY21 (ended Dec 31) with a profit before tax of S$8.7 million, in contrast to a loss of S$3.6 million in H1FY20.

Offsetting the lower H1FY21 revenue generated in the full-service restaurants segment, was increased revenue which was contributed by the quick-service restaurants, convenience & others segment, reflecting the group's strategy in expanding its brand presence in the latter of the two segments.

RE&S declared an interim cash dividend and special cash dividend of 0.50 Singapore cent and 0.35 Singapore cent per share respectively, for H1FY21, scheduled to go ex-dividend on Feb 24.

RE&S executive director and CEO Fenton Foo Kah Lee noted with the results that as a team, the group has worked hard, exercised prudent cost control and quickly adjusted its businesses to adapt to the new norm in 2020.

He added that RE&S was, immensely heartened by the support of its loyal customers during this difficult period, and that the company's performance over the past few months has attested to the strength of its brands.

Mr Foo also highlighted that the group will continue to focus on creating signature experiences and quality products through its portfolio of brands.

Based on the most recent filings, Mr Foo maintains a 2.54 per cent interest in the company and as CEO is in charge of strategic planning of the group to drive new initiatives and partnerships to expand business portfolio while improving operational efficiency.

In the 2021 year through to Feb 18, the share price of RE&S has gained 71 per cent, from 10.4 cents to 17.8 cents.

Tai Sin Electric

On Feb 16, Tai Sin Electric substantial shareholder Joanna Guah Li Mei acquired 36,800 shares at 32.5 cents per share.

This took her total interest in Tai Sin Electric from 6.29 per cent to 6.30 per cent.

On Feb 8, Tai Sin Electric reported H1FY21 (ended Dec 31) profit before income tax at S$21.20 million, up from S$10.19 million in H1FY19, mainly attributed to a fair value gain on derivative financial instruments and grants extended by the Singapore government in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tai Sin Electric noted that its continued focus to accelerate digitalisation had reaped improvement in business activities and work processes, allowing its business arms to operate efficiently at lower capacity while complying with stringent safe distancing measures.

The group also noted that it would continue to stay vigilant, monitor and respond to copper price volatility, supply chain for materials and developments in the region, to mitigate uncertainties brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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

BT is now on Telegram!

For daily updates on weekdays and specially selected content for the weekend. Subscribe to

Companies & Markets


Get the latest coverage and full access to all BT premium content.


Browse corporate subscription here