Ong Sek Chong & Sons adds to Lian Beng stake

FOR the 5 trading sessions that spanned Sep 9 to Sep 15, the Straits Times Index (STI) gained 1.1 per cent, with the FTSE China A50 Index gaining 0.9 per cent, the Hang Seng Index gaining 0.4 per cent and the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI declining 2.6 per cent.

Overall, institutions were net buyers of Singapore stocks for the 5 sessions ending Sep 15, with S$220 million of net inflows. OCBC, DBS, Singtel, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding and Genting Singapore led the net institutional inflows for the 5 sessions.

Share buybacks

There were 18 primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the 5 sessions ending Sep 15, with a total consideration of S$38 million, less than the preceding week's S$67 million. OCBC led the 5-session buyback consideration tally, buying back 1.0 million shares at an average price of S$12.23 per share. OCBC has bought back 0.32 per cent of its issued shares (excluding treasury shares) on the current mandate, as of Sep 15. Shares purchased under OCBC's buyback programme are held as treasury shares, which are recorded as a deduction against share capital, and may be subsequently cancelled, sold, or used to meet delivery obligations under employee share schemes.

During 2021, OCBC purchased 34.3 million ordinary shares for S$406 million as part of its share buyback programme, while 13.8 million treasury shares were delivered to meet obligations under its employee share schemes.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The 5 trading sessions saw less than 60 changes to director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for more than 20 primary-listed stocks. This included 21 company director acquisitions with 1 disposal filed, while substantial shareholders filed 8 acquisitions and no disposals.

Lian Beng Group

Between Sep 12 and Sep 14, Ong Sek Chong & Sons acquired 7,291,000 shares of Lian Beng Group. At an average price of 53.5 cents per share, the consideration for the two married deals totalled S$3,899,230. The transactions took the total interest of Ong Sek Chong & Sons in the homegrown construction group from 56.56 per cent to 58.02 per cent.

Lian Beng Group chairman and managing director Ong Pang Aik, and executive director Ong Lay Huan maintain deemed interests in Ong Sek Chong & Sons. Ong Pang Aik joined the group in 1978 and was instrumental in having grown the business from its early days as a subcontractor into that of an A1-graded building construction enterprise registered with BCA today.

Ong Lay Huan joined the group in 1991 and heads the group's Contracts Department. With more than 20 years of experience in the construction industry, she oversees key aspects of the Group's construction operations, including all tender submissions, the management and review of project costs and budget, key materials procurement, and the award of contracts to sub-contractors.

For its FY 2022 (ended May 31), Lian Beng Group registered a 53.2 per cent improvement in group revenue to S$788.3 million, from S$514.5 million in FY 2021 with gross profit increasing 39.2 per cent to S$83.2 million, from S$59.8 million in FY 2021.

As of Jul 27, 2022, the group's construction order book stood at S$1.7 billion, which is expected to sustain its activities through FY 2026. The group also noted it will selectively tender for public and private sector projects, taking into consideration the prevailing market conditions.

Enviro-Hub Holdings

On Sep 13, Enviro-Hub Holdings executive chairman Raymond Ng acquired 594,100 shares of the company at 4.4 cents per share. This took his total interest in the environmental management solutions group from 28.20 per cent to 28.24 per cent. His preceding acquisitions included 74,100 shares at 5.1 cents per share on Jul 6, 400,000 shares at 5.0 cents per share on Jun 24 and 922,300 shares at 7.1 cents per share on Feb 25.

On Aug 11, Enviro-Hub Holdings reported a 43.2 per cent year-on-year increase in H1 2022 attributable net profit. This was on the back of a 29.0 per cent rise in revenue and an expansion in gross margins from 17.1 per cent in H1 2021 to 24.1 per cent in H1 2022. The rise in revenue was mainly attributed to the recycling business which grew in sales by 14.6 per cent year-on-year, with consistent sales revenue of S$3.3 million from its healthcare segment following the acquisition of Pastel Glove in October 2021.

The acquisition of the Malaysian glove manufacturer marked Enviro-Hub Holdings' foray into the glove manufacturing and healthcare consumables sector. The group also noted back in April that it also had plans to further expand the healthcare segment by investing in the synergistic pharmaceutical retail business in Malaysia.

As the executive chairman, Ng is responsible for the group's overall management, business development, investment decisions as well as strategic direction and planning. He has accumulated over 35 years of experience in the recycling and e-waste management & recovery business. He is also an accomplished property developer with more than 20 years of industry experience and is spearheading the group's new business transformation into an environmental hub. 

The group maintains a diverse portfolio that includes trading, recycling and refining of e-waste/metals, piling contracts, construction, rental and servicing of machinery, property investments and management, as well as plastics to fuel refining.

Separately, last month, The Business Times reported Ng had acquired taxi firm Premier Taxis through a unit of property development firm BS Capital Group, which he owns. With BS Capital Group subsidiary Carros Project Management purchasing 100 per cent of the shares in Premier Corporation, Ng takes control of Premier Taxis, a holder of a street-hail service operator licence and Class 2 ride-hail service operator licence, along with its other subsidiaries.

XMH Holdings

Between Sep 9 and Sep 13, XMH Holdings chairman and managing director Tan Tin Yeow acquired 218,100 shares at 23.0 cents per share at a consideration of S$50,163. As a result, his direct interest in the company increased from 41.68 per cent to 41.88 per cent.

Tan was appointed as chairman and chief executive officer in 2010 and was re-designated as chairman and managing director in 2016. He bears overall responsibility for the XMH Group as well as strategy formulation, corporate planning, business development and potential acquisition. He was also responsible for establishing the distribution arm and securing the exclusive distributorships for the group and has more than 30 years of experience in the marine and industrial diesel engines industry.

For its FY 2022 (ended Apr 30), the diesel engine, propulsion and power generating solutions provider reported a revenue increase of 12.0 per cent to S$71.9 million from FY 2021, while gross profit increased by 24.1 per cent to S$19.6 million from FY 2021. This resulted in a greater gross profit margin of 27.3 per cent in FY 2022.

XMH Holdings' business activities include the distribution and provision of value-added products and services; after sales services and trading; and projects, which comprise the assembly and installation of standby generator sets and provision of related services.

In its quarterly update, pursuant to its placing on the watch-list due to Financial Entry Criterion, with effect from Dec 4, 2019, XMH Holdings noted that although the XMH Group has achieved an increase in revenue and profits for Q1 FY 2023 (ended Jul 31), the XMH Group maintains a cautious outlook given that the conflict in Europe coupled with the global uncertainties brought about by the ongoing geopolitical tensions continue to disrupt the supply chain and costs of materials.

Rex International Holding

On Sep 12, Rex International Holding independent non-executive director Christopher Atkinson acquired 100,000 shares at 25.0 cents per share. He also serves as an independent board member of Masirah Oil Ltd and Lime Petroleum AS, subsidiaries of the group. He is a professional geologist with over 30 years of experience in the upstream oil and gas (O&G) sector. In addition, he is the founder and director of Worldwide Petroleum Services and a director of Helios Aragon.

Prior to this, Atkinson was a founding investor in several exploration and production startup ventures in South-east Asia, the United Kingdom and Canada. He has also worked for Shell International Petroleum Company and was a 15-year career veteran with the Atlantic Richfield Company, where his last held position was vice-president of exploration, Europe/North Africa.

Rex International Holding has interests in exploration and production licences in Oman, Norway and Malaysia, and holds operatorship for the assets in Oman and Malaysia. On Aug 12, the oil exploration and production company reported H1 2022 revenue of US$99.45 million and profit after tax of US$6.04 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) is a commonly used metric for upstream O&G companies. For H1 2022, the company reported Ebitda of US$41.3 million.

The group also de-risks its portfolio of exploration and development assets using its proprietary liquid hydrocarbon indicator Rex Virtual Drilling technology, which can identify liquids in the sub-surface using seismic data.

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


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