INSIDE INSIGHTS

LHT’s Yap Mui Kee takes interest above 16%

FOR the five trading sessions that spanned Oct 14 to 20, the Straits Times Index (STI) declined 0.6 per cent, with the Hang Seng Index falling 1.4 per cent and the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI gaining 3.1 per cent.

Overall, institutions were net sellers of Singapore stocks for the five sessions ended Oct 20, with close to S$40 million of net outflows. This trimmed the 2022 year to Oct 20 net institutional inflows to just over S$560 million. Singapore Exchange, Frasers Logistics and Commercial Trust, Singapore Technologies Engineering, CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust and Sats led the net institutional outflows for the five sessions.

Share buybacks

There were 21 primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions ended Oct 20, with a total consideration of S$14.3 million, compared with the preceding week's S$18.5 million. Yangzijiang Financial Holding led the five-session buyback consideration tally, buying back 16 million shares at an average price of 35.1 cents per share. The company has bought back 6.26 per cent of its issued shares (excluding treasury shares) on the current mandate, as of Oct 20.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five trading sessions saw approximately 40 changes to director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for 18 primary-listed stocks. This included more than 20 company director acquisitions with two disposals filed, while substantial shareholders filed two acquisitions.

LHT Holdings

On Oct 18, LHT Holdings managing director, Yap Mui Kee, acquired 460,700 shares at 70 cents per share. With a consideration of S$322,490, this took her direct interest in the homegrown pallet manufacturer from 15.21 per cent to 16.08 per cent. Her preceding acquisitions were on Oct 10 with 21,200 shares acquired at 72.46 cents per share and Sep 29 with 12,300 shares acquired at 68.0 cents per share.

Yap has gradually increased her direct interest in LHT Holdings from 14.12 per cent in August 2021. She has been the executive director of the company since January 1988 and is in charge of the sales and marketing functions of the group. She was appointed acting managing director in February 2016 and was re-designated the chairman, managing director, and CEO in February 2017. With over 35 years of experience in sales and marketing, she plays a key role in exploring opportunities in new markets. Part of her responsibility is also to monitor market developments and streamline the company's product development efforts according to market demands.

On Aug 12, LHT Holdings reported H1 2022 gross profit of S$6.85 million, an increase of 8.3 per cent from H1 2021 on a higher gross profit margin of 38 per cent in H1 2022, compared to 36.3 per cent in H1 2021. The higher gross margin was due to better product mix and intensified effort in sourcing for cheaper raw materials.

Yap noted earlier this year that the group's achievements depend largely on its core business of manufacturing and sale of pallets and packaging cases, and that the ability to increase market share while maintaining profit margin is key to the business.

Asian Pay Television Trust

Between Oct 12 and 17, Dai Yung Huei, non-executive director of the trustee-manager of Asian Pay Television Trust (APTT) increased his deemed interest from 18.27 per cent to 18.44 per cent.

This saw 3,226,700 units of APTT acquired by Araedis Investment for a consideration of S$307,686 at an average price of 9.5 cents per unit. His preceding acquisitions were in January, with 3.6 million units acquired at 13.85 cents per unit in January. He has gradually increased his deemed interest in APTT from 16.72 per cent prior to his appointment as non-executive director of the trustee-manager of APTT on Aug 13, 2021.

Dai is the chairman of Da Da Digital Convergence Co, and the founder of Dafeng TV - the first publicly traded cable TV provider in Taiwan, which operates in domestic markets including New Taipei City and Kaohsiung City. Between 1996 and 2019, he was the chairman of Dafeng TV and under his stewardship, Dafeng TV obtained its cable television license in Taiwan, and successfully listed the company on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in 2002.

AEM Holdings

On Oct 18, AEM Holdings lead independent director James Toh acquired 11,200 shares at S$3.09 per share. He maintains a 3.95 per cent stake in the local provider of semiconductor test solutions. He is a founding director of Novo Tellus Capital Partners, and for the last 25 years, has been managing director of ACT Holdings, a private Singapore group investing in property and private equity in Asia and the US.

Grand Venture Technology

On Oct 14, Grand Venture Technology (GVT) executive chairman Ricky Lee Tiam Nam acquired 40,000 shares at an average price of 50.5 cents per share. With a consideration of S$20,200, this increased his direct interest in the innovative precision manufacturer from 15.34 per cent to 15.35 per cent. His preceding acquisition of 50,000 shares at 76.8 cents per share was between Jun 13 and 15.

Lee was one of the founding directors of the company. He is responsible for the overall strategic direction and development of the group. He has over 38 years of experience in the manufacturing, assembly/servicing and precision engineering industries, beginning his career in 1982 as a machinist in Pan-World Precision Engineering.

On Aug 10, GVT reported a 1H22 revenue of S$67.1 million, a 25.3 per cent improvement from H1 2021, on higher contributions from all business segments. At S$7.1 million, GVT's 1H22 net profit declined 16.2 per cent from H1 2021, with Lee noting the profit contraction was in part due to significant investments in capability enhancement as part of GVT's strategic positioning for future growth, with these investments reflecting management's optimism of future demand for services from existing customers and those to be onboarded.

OxPay Financial

Between Oct 13 and 17, OxPay Financial managing director Henry Tan Chee Keong acquired 119,700 shares at an average price of 12.7 cents per share. With a consideration of S$15,182, this increased his direct interest in the O2O financial services technology provider from 0.15 per cent to 0.20 per cent. With extensive experience in the payments space, Tan was the head of payments consulting for Singapore, Thailand & the Global Client Group for the Apac region at American Express, leading a team of payment consultants to develop strategy and manage the delivery of new payment platforms and products across the region.

Prior to his appointment at American Express, Tan was the group head of commercial cards & merchant acquiring at Citibank Singapore where he led the team entering B2B payments, collaborating with fintech partners and key global merchants.

On Aug 10, OxPay Financial reported a turnaround net profit of S$1.7 million, with the group maintaining that it remains well-positioned to benefit from the digitalisation movement in South-east Asia and rising digital consumption. At the same time, Tan noted that the group will continue to focus on expanding its customer base, enhancing product offerings, and expanding its geographical reach through partnerships and acquisitions.

Union Steel Holdings

Between Oct 13 and 17, Union Steel Holdings co-founder and executive director Ang Yew Chye acquired 17,700 shares of the company for a consideration of S$10,266 at 58 cents per share. This took his direct interest from 10.39 per cent to 10.44 per cent. His preceding acquisition on Sep 29 saw Ang acquire 11,000 shares also at 58 cents per share. Prior to this, his preceding acquisition was back on Nov 1, 2021, with 380,000 shares acquired at 70 cents per share.

Ang is the co-founder of the group and was appointed executive director in August 2004. He is responsible for the day-to-day operation and management of the companies, and he has more than 30 years of experience in the scrap metal recycling business.

For its FY22 (ended Jun 30), Union Steel Holdings' revenue rose to S$80.1 million, a 4 per cent increase from FY21, attributable to the growth in the metal division and the scaffolding segment. Geographically, Singapore remains the main contributor to the group's revenue, accounting for 85 per cent or S$68.3 million of group sales in FY22 while overseas sales dipped by 21 per cent or S$3.1 million in FY22, mainly due to fewer regional offshore marine activities, which meant fewer overseas projects won by the group. The group's gross profit margin in FY2022 of 23.2 per cent was in line with FY2021 of 23.7 per cent. It posted a net profit of S$7.3 million in FY22, comparable to FY21, despite the lower contribution from the engineering sector.

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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