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INSIDE INSIGHTS

Neo Group chairman ups stake after resilient results

FOR the five local trading sessions that spanned July 24 to 30, the Straits Times Index (STI) declined 3.0 per cent, with the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaging a 1.5 per cent decline. This has brought the STI's decline in total return for the 2020 year to July 30 to 19.4 per cent.

Over the five sessions, the iEdge S-Reit Index declined 0.2 per cent, bringing its decline in total return for the 2020 year to July 30 to 5.7 per cent.

Share buybacks

With the earnings season in full swing, there were three primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions that spanned July 24 to 30 with a total consideration of S$24,193, less than the S$206,298 consideration for the preceding week.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

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The five trading sessions through to July 30 saw more than 80 changes in director interests and substantial shareholdings, filed for more than 40 primary-listed stocks. This included 11 company director acquisitions, with one disposal filed, and substantial shareholders filing six acquisitions and seven disposals.

Neo Group

On July 24, Neo Group founder, chairman and CEO Neo Kah Kiat increased his direct interest in the Catalist-listed stock via two married deals. He acquired 2,653,300 shares for a consideration of S$1,114,386, at 42 cents per share. One of the married deals saw independent director Kevin Ng How Hwan dispose of his 453,300 shares.

On July 29, Mr Neo acquired another 100,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$38,500 on the open market. The three acquisitions saw him increase his total interest from 77.63 per cent to 79.49 per cent. Back on Feb 13, he acquired 5.2 million shares at 30 cents per share.

Mr Neo is an industry veteran with over two decades of leadership experience in catering and food and beverage management, and led and grew the group into Singapore's largest catering provider and top events caterer. He continues to helm and steer the group's future strategic direction and expansion to become an integrated food and catering solutions provider.

As the spouse of Mr Neo, executive director Sally Liew Oi Peng, also increased her deemed interest in Neo Group with the acquisition. Ms Liew maintains a 5.473 per cent direct interest in Neo Group. She has been instrumental in growing the group's food catering business and helms Deli Hub Catering, and with the deemed interests, also maintains a 79.49 per cent total interest in Neo Group.

On July 23, Neo Group announced a 21.2 per cent increase in net profit to S$6.3 million for its FY20 (ended March 31), from S$5.2 million in FY19. The strong bottom-line growth was backed by a 2.7 per cent increase in revenue to S$185.9 million, boosted by substantial revenue growth from the group's core food catering business.

Mr Neo noted that the group's strategy of nurturing diversity through the build-up of its highly synergistic business segments over the last few years, and by having a multi-brand platform, has continued to deliver resilient performances.

Mr Neo also added that the group was encouraged to see good growth momentum, notwithstanding the challenging macro environment brought on by the global pandemic.

First Sponsor Group

Between July 27 and 28, First Sponsor Group (FSGL) non-executive chairman Calvin Ho Han Leong increased his deemed interest in the mixed property developer by 319,958 shares for a consideration of S$399,819. The average price per share of the acquisitions was S$1.25. This increased his deemed interest in FSGL from 45.99 per cent to 46.03 per cent.

Appointed as the non-executive chairman in April 2015, he was non-executive vice-chairman since October 2007. Mr Ho has also been instrumental in assisting the group's senior management in the conceptualisation and setting of the strategic direction and corporate values of the group.

He has accumulated extensive experience during his CEO tenure of Singapore-incorporated Tai Tak Estates Sdn Bhd (Tai Tak), having been involved in its businesses, including in plantations, listed and private equities, and property holding and development.

Between July 23 and 28, FSGL alternate director to non-executive chairman, Ho Han Khoon, acquired 195,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$244,798. At S$1.26 per share, this increased his total interest in FSGL from 36.08 to 36.11 per cent.

Appointed as an alternate director to Mr Calvin Ho in May 2014, he is also the executive vice-president of Tai Tak, where he is responsible for overseeing Tai Tak group's overall business and financial strategy, investments and operations.

On July 23, FSGL reported that in its H1FY20 (ended June 30), the group achieved a net profit of S$58.1 million, a 49.4 per cent growth from H1FY19.

The board has approved an interim tax-exempt (one-tier) cash dividend of 1.1 Singapore cents per share for FY20, matching that of last year. The company will also undertake a one-for-four bonus issue of free warrants to reward shareholders for their continuing support and participation.

Each warrant is exercisable into one new share at the exercise price of S$1.08 at any time from the date falling six months from the date of listing of the warrants and ending on the date immediately preceding 8.5 years from the issue of the warrants.

The principal business activities of the group are property development, property holding and property financing.

PropNex

Between July 23 and 24, PropNex executive director Kelvin Fong Keng Seong increased his interest in PropNex. He acquired 322,800 shares for a consideration of S$170,774, at an average price of 52.90 cents per share.

This followed his acquisition of 80,100 shares at an average price of 52.47 cents between July 21 and 22.

Mr Fong oversees the group's training development curriculum, and administers the development of IT strategies and technology innovations to improve its competitive edge in the industry.

Mr Fong's total interest in PropNex is now 8.15 per cent.

Sats

On July 28, Sats chairman Euleen Goh Yiu Kiang acquired 30,000 shares of the leading provider of food solutions and gateway services for a consideration of S$82,800. At S$2.76 per share, this took her direct interest in Sats to 0.01 per cent.

Ms Goh is also the deputy chairman and senior independent director of Royal Dutch Shell plc and a non-executive director of DBS Group Holdings.

She is also the chairman of the governing council of the Singapore Institute of Management and non-executive director of Singapore Health Services Pte Ltd, both of which are not-for-profit organisations.

Also on July 28, Sats director Achal Agarwal acquired 28,600 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$78,650 at S$2.75 per share.

JB Foods

Between July 22 and 23, JB Foods non-independent, non-executive director and vice-chairman Sam Goi Seng Hui acquired 100,300 shares of the cocoa ingredient producer and seller for a total consideration of S$55,124.

At an average price of 54.96 cents per share, this increased his total interest in JB Foods from 24.11 per cent to 24.14 per cent.

This followed his acquisitions of 191,000 shares at 54.91 cents per share between July 1 and 2 and 30,000 shares between June 23 and 25 at 50 cents per share.

Mr Goi is also the executive chairman of global food and beverage group Tee Yih Jia Group, and GSH Corporation, a regional developer of premium residential and commercial properties, in addition to being vice-chairman of Envictus International Holdings.

Union Steel Holdings

Between July 23 and 24, Union Steel Holdings co-founder and executive director Ang Yew Chye acquired 51,500 shares of the mainboard listed company for a consideration of S$19,900.

At an average price of 38.64 cents per share, this increased his direct interest in Union Steel Holdings from 8.92 per cent to 9.05 per cent.

This followed his acquisition of 68,500 shares at an average price of 39.76 cents per share on July 21.

Mr Ang has more than 30 years of experience in the scrap metal recycling business.

  • 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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