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INSIDE INSIGHTS

Non-exec chair raises United Global stake

FOR the five trading sessions that spanned June 26 to July 2, the Straits Times Index (STI) gained 1.8 per cent with the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaging a 1.1 per cent gain. This has brought the STI's decline in total return for the 2020 year to July 2 to 16.3 per cent. Over the five sessions, the iEdge S-Reit Index gained 2.1 per cent, bringing its decline in total return for the 2020 year to July 2 to 7.1 per cent.

Share buybacks

There were 11 primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions that spanned June 26 to July 2 with a total consideration of S$433,943. This was much less than the S$3.2 million from the preceding week and was among the smallest consideration tallies in recent years, with no STI stocks conducting buybacks. Choo Chiang Holdings commenced a new buyback mandate, buying back 9,000 shares at 21 cents per share.

In the first six months of 2020, 81 Singapore primary-listed stocks conducted buybacks with a total consideration of S$663 million, up from S$325 million in H1 2019, and less than S$836 million in H1 2018. The S$663 million buyback consideration represented less than 0.1 per cent of the total market value of all stocks listed in Singapore, which stood at S$817 billion on June 30.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

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The five trading sessions spanning June 26 to July 2 saw more than 100 changes in director interests and substantial shareholdings, filed for more than 50 primary-listed stocks. This included 15 company director acquisitions, with two disposals filed, and substantial shareholders filing 16 acquisitions with 15 disposals.

United Global

On June 30, United Global non-executive chairman Edy Wiranto acquired 4 million shares of the Catalist-listed company at 41 cents per share, with a consideration of S$1.64 million. The married deal took his total interest in the Singapore-based lubricant manufacturer and trader from 3.78 per cent to 5.04 per cent.

He is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the group, and was appointed to the board of United Global on Aug 1, 2017. Over the past 30 years, he has held top management positions in mining, shipping, construction and heavy equipment leasing businesses, giving him relevant technical knowledge and leadership experience in a wide range of industries. He played a major role in his family's own quarry and shipping business in Indonesia.

In 2019, United Global embarked on a partnership with leading Spanish oil major Repsol. As part of the collaboration, Repsol now holds 40 per cent ownership in the United Oil Company subsidiary.

For its FY19 (ended Dec 31), United Global achieved US$66.5 million in net profit attributable to shareholders, a significant increase from financial year 2018's US$7.7 million, mainly due to the gain on the partial disposal of UOC Group to Repsol. United Global has an extensive network of distributors covering more than 30 countries.

SLB Development

On June 26, controlling shareholding Lian Beng Group acquired 12 million shares of SLB Development (SLB) for a consideration of S$1.44 million. At 12 cents per share, this took its total interest in SLB, its Catalist-listed property developer spin-off, from 76.24 per cent to 77.56 per cent. Ong Sek Chong & Sons Pte Ltd, Ong Pang Aik and Ong Lay Huan are the controlling shareholders of Lian Beng Group.

The married deal followed Lian Beng Group's acquisition of 3,936,500 shares of SLB at 11.9 cents per share back on June 8.

On June 16, SLB announced it had exercised its option to subscribe to a 20 per cent equity stake for £90,000 on a willing buyer-willing seller basis in fund manager Pinnacle Investment Management Ltd, which aims to build a series of funds focused on the private rented sector across the UK.

Dutech Holdings

On June 30, Dutech Holdings' independent, non-executive director Hedda Juliana im Brahm-Droege increased her interest in the global manufacturer of high security products from 8.44 per cent to 8.58 per cent. The 484,700 shares were acquired for a consideration of S$142,471, at an average price of 29.39 cents per share.

Dr im Brahm-Droege is the co-founder and the deputy chairperson of the supervisory board of Droege Group AG, an independent advisory and Investment company. She is also a member of the board of trustees of Kunstsammlung North Rhine-Westphalia and a member of the Erich Gutenberg Association.

JEP Holdings

Between June 25 and 30, JEP Holdings executive director Zee Hoong Huay acquired 250,000 shares of the Catalist-listed company for a consideration of S$48,850. At an average price of 19.5 cents per share, the acquisitions increased his total interest in JEP Holdings from 15.60 per cent to 15.66 per cent.

This followed his acquisition of 204,200 shares of JEP Holdings at an average price of 19.18 cents per share between June 11 and 15.

Mr Zee is a veteran in the metal tooling and precision engineering industries with over 30 years of industrial experience and capabilities. He has gradually increased his total interest in JEP Holdings from 14.77 per cent on July 7, 2019.

QAF

Between June 29 and 30, QAF joint group managing director and executive director Lin Kejian acquired 47,600 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$37,128 at 78 cents per share. He maintains a 48.22 per cent total interest in QAF.

First appointed as a non-executive director of QAF in December 2007, in October 2010 he became an executive director holding the post of operations director. He assumed the position of deputy group managing director of the QAF Group in September 2014 and thereafter joint group managing director of the QAF Group with effect from Jan 1, 2017.

Mr Lin is the son of Andree Halim, a director and vice-chairman of QAF. For its FY19 (ended Dec 31), QAF recorded revenue growth in all segments, resulting in group revenue growth of 6 per cent and Ebitda growth of 67 per cent.

Katrina Group

On June 30, Katrina Group founder, executive chairman and CEO Alan Goh Keng Chian acquired 285,000 shares of the Catalist-listed company at an average price of 10.93 cents per share. The consideration of the transaction totalled S$31,151. This took his total interest in the F&B group, with multi-cuisine concepts, from 88.59 per cent to 88.71 per cent.

This followed his acquisition of 169,100 shares at 11.63 cents per share between June 12 and 15. Mr Goh has gradually increased this total interest from 84.60 per cent as of the IPO on July 26, 2016.

Mr Goh heads the formulation of the group's strategic directions and expansion plans in Singapore and overseas markets, and manages the group's overall business development.

The acquisition also increased the total interest of Madaline Catherine Tan Kim Wah in Katrina Group. Ms Tan is the co-founder, executive director of the group and spouse of Mr Goh.

JB Foods

On June 25, JB Foods non-independent, non-executive director and vice- chairman Sam Goi Seng Hui acquired 29,100 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$14,550. At 50 cents per share this increased his total interest in JB Foods from 24.04 per cent to 24.05 per cent.

This followed a similar sized acquisition between June 23 and 24, also at 50 cents per share. Mr Goi is also the executive chairman of global food and beverage group Tee Yih Jia Group.

Southern Alliance Mining

On June 26, Southern Alliance Mining, an established producer of high-grade iron ore products in Malaysia, listed on Catalist. The company is principally involved in the exploration, mining and processing of iron ore. It is currently operating the Chaah Mine in Johor, Malaysia, with the rights to carry out exploration and mining operations at three exploration assets in Johor.

Southern Alliance Mining received strong interest from investors and raised gross proceeds of S$19 million. The IPO was priced at approximately 6.13 times price-to-earnings based on the group's audited profit before tax for its FY19 (ended July 31, 2019), which excludes a one-off tax credit in FY19.

  • 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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