Mewah chairman, CEO raise deemed interest

Published Mon, Apr 26, 2021 · 05:50 AM

FOR the five trading sessions that spanned April 16 to 22, the Straits Times Index (STI) gained 0.1 per cent while the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaged a 0.9 per decline. This has brought the STI's total return for the 2021 year to April 22 to 12.7 per cent.

Within the STI, Singapore Telecommunications, DBS, OCBC, Singapore Exchange and Sembcorp Industries received the highest net institutional inflows from April 16 to 22.

Outside the STI, Singapore Press Holdings, Top Glove, Nanofilm Technologies International, JEP Holdings and Yanlord Land Group saw the highest net institutional inflows for the five sessions. During this period, the iEdge S-Reit Leaders Index declined 0.8 per cent, bringing the total return for the 2021 year to April 22 to 2.3 per cent.

Share buybacks

There were six primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions with a total consideration of S$703,050, down from the S$23,615,439 in consideration for the previous week. Global Investments, GP Industries and Eurosports Global led the consideration tally.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions


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The five trading sessions saw fewer than 70 changes in director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for 35 primary-listed stocks. This included 12 company director acquisitions and three company director disposals, with substantial shareholders filing six acquisitions and 10 disposals.

Mewah International

On April 16, TC Stone Ltd acquired 642,600 shares of Mewah International (Mewah) on the open market for a consideration of S$273,156 at an average price of 42.5 cents per share.

Mewah chairman and executive director Cheo Tong Choon, executive director and CEO Michelle Cheo Hui Ning, and executive director and COO Bianca Cheo Hui Hsin are all deemed interested in the shares of TC Stone Ltd as beneficiaries of SG Kleinwort Hambros Trust Company (Channel Islands).

The acquisition by TC Stone on April 16 has taken Dr Cheo's total interest in Mewah from 47.98 per cent to 48.03 per cent. Ms Michelle Cheo and Ms Bianca Cheo Hui Hsin maintain respective total interests of 46.72 per cent and 46.84 per cent.

TC Stone's preceding acquisition of Mewah shares was on Oct 23, 2019, with 31.8 million shares acquired in a married deal at 30.0 cents per share.

The recent acquisition followed on from Mewah reporting a net profit of US$86.5 million in FY20 (ended Dec 31) which was up from US$11.6 million in FY19 and among its historical best performances.

Mewah is a global agri-business, focused on edible oils and fats with refineries and processing facilities in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, with established brands and sales to customers in over 140 countries.

As the chairman of Mewah, Dr Cheo is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the group. Under his direction over the past three decades, the group has expanded into refining, manufacturing and trading of palm oil and related products.

He also oversaw the expansion of the group into new businesses including biodiesel, rice, dairy and soap.

In FY20, Mewah was positioned to ride the strong demand from countries trying to guarantee sufficient internal supply of agri-commodities.

Dr Cheo noted that the group achieved a record sales volume of over 4.8 million tonnes in FY20 and observed concerns over tightening supplies in the edible oil complex led destinations to scramble for available stocks, pushing up the average selling price of crude palm oil by 29.6 per cent. Thin supply and increased demand in the second half of 2020 saw the price of crude palm oil surge to a nine-year high of RM3,841 (S$935) per tonne by the end of December 2020.

The two edible oil business segments of Mewah are the bulk segment, which accounted for 76.8 per cent of its FY20 revenue, and the consumer pack segment, which accounted for 23.2 per cent of its FY20 revenue.

The bulk segment produces and sells vegetable-based edible oil and fat products in bulk form primarily to distributors and factories involved in the production of confectionery, bakery products and other food items.

Ms Michelle Cheo noted that the group's nine-fold increase in profit excluding exceptional items in FY20 was primarily attributed to the robust palm oil refining margins leading to significant growth recorded in the bulk segment.

The consumer pack segment produces vegetable-based edible oil and fat products, in consumer pack form and sells under own brands and under the brands of third parties, primarily to importers and distributors at destination markets.

Ms Michelle Cheo added that during the year, the group's balance sheet and cash flows remained strong and healthy with its net debt to equity ratio improving from 0.65 in 2019 to a very conservative 0.34 in 2020.

She also noted that the robust balance sheet and well-balanced portfolio strategically places the group to embrace opportunities as they arise and explore possibilities that avail to increase value chain participation, manufacturing facilities diversification, or expand its geographical footprint.

Ms Michelle Cheo joined the group in 2003 and is responsible for the formulation and execution of the overall strategy of the group, new business development, project execution, corporate risk and factory operations.

Ms Bianca Cheo joined the group in 2004 and heads the consumer pack segment over which she has overall responsibility.

Earlier this year, on Feb 24, Mewah appointed A Ghani Bin Othman as non-executive and independent director. He currently sits on the board of Trustees of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research and was former chairman of Sime Darby Plantation, Sime Darby, and Sime Darby Property. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Islamic Economic Forum between 2013 and 2020, and served 18 years as Chief Minister of Johor, chairman of Johor Corporation and co-chairman of Iskandar Regional Development Authority from 1995 to 2013.

The share price of Mewah has gained 24.2 per cent to 41.0 cents in the 2021 year to April 22, from 33.0 cents at the end of 2020. At the same time, the average daily turnover of the stock has grown more than fivefold from 2020 levels.

Low Keng Huat (Singapore)

On April 16, Low Keng Huat (Singapore) executive director Alvin Teo Poh Kheng acquired 201,200 shares of the company for a consideration of S$98,588, at 49.0 cents per share.

This took his deemed interest in the property development, hotel and investment business and from 0.45 per cent to 0.47 per cent. This followed his acquisition of 790,000 shares at 46.7 cents per share between April 8 and 13.

Recently appointed to the board of Low Keng Huat (Singapore) on April 5, Mr Teo is responsible for the group's property business in Singapore.

Tye Soon

Between April 19 and 21, Tye Soon managing director David Chong Tek Yew acquired 244,600 shares of the company for a consideration of S$75,734.

At an average price of 31.0 cents per share, this increased his total interest in the independent automotive parts distributor from 1.59 per cent to 1.87 per cent.

Mr Chong has been with the group since 1998. Joining as group general manager/executive director, Mr Chong was appointed deputy managing director in 2002, before being appointed managing director in February 2014.

Prior to his appointment in Tye Soon, he was assistant director, corporate finance at the investment-banking arm of Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore.

On April 21, Tye Soon deputy managing director Kelvin Ong Eng Chian acquired 93,500 shares of the company for a consideration of S$28,985. At 31.0 cents per share, this increased his total interest in Tye Soon from 0.81 per cent to 0.91 per cent.

Mr Ong has been with the group since 1999. He started as marketing executive before progressing to become marketing manager, and was appointed executive director in 2006 and became deputy managing director in February 2014.

Second Chance Properties

On April 2, Second Chance Properties founder and CEO Mohamed Salleh Marican acquired 207,000 shares of the company for a consideration of S$56,925.

At 27.5 cents per share, this increased Mr Salleh's total interest in the properties and securities investor, apparel and gold retailer, from 68.39 per cent to 68.42 per cent.

On March 30, Second Chance Properties reported its H1FY21 (ended Feb 28) revenue increased to S$16.42 million from S$13.52 million in H1FY20.

The company noted that the revenue from the gold business increased substantially to S$12.34 million in H1FY21 from S$7.36 million in H1FY20, possibly attributed to pent-up demand during the period.

Econ Healthcare (Asia) IPO

On April 19, Econ Healthcare (Asia), a private nursing home operator in Singapore and Malaysia, listed on the Catalist Board.

This marks the return of the group to SGX, after privatising nearly a decade ago in 2012.

Econ Healthcare (Asia) primarily provides residential nursing care, home care, rehabilitation, clinical as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine services in 10 medicare centres and nursing homes in Singapore and Malaysia.

The group has also expanded into China with the establishment of Chongqing Nursing Home, expected to commence operations in 2021.

Econ Healthcare (Asia) has been appointed as an operator under the Singapore government's build-own-lease scheme for two upcoming nursing homes in Henderson and Jurong East, which are expected to be operational in the second half of 2022 and in 2025, respectively.

The IPO attracted noteworthy interest from investors with all 48.2 million placement shares validly subscribed for while the public offering was 86.9 times subscribed. The overall IPO of 50 million shares was 4.1 times subscribed and raised net proceeds of S$11.5 million.

Founder, executive chairman and CEO, Ong Chu Poh, established his first nursing home more than 30 years ago and has since managed the expansion and business of Econ Healthcare (Asia).

Mr Ong is the controlling shareholder of the group with 80.5 per cent deemed interest in the company.

Ms Ong Hui Ming serves as executive director and deputy CEO for Singapore, and has been with the group for 14 years.

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

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