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INSIDE INSIGHTS

Over 40 director acquisitions filed in first week of March

FOR the first five trading sessions of March, the STI gained 0.5 per cent, with mixed performances across the region as the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 averaged a 1 per cent gain. This has brought the STI's 2019 total return through to March 7 to 5.4 per cent.

Share buybacks

There were 16 stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions ended March 7. The consideration totalled S$15.5 million, not far from the S$18.5 million for the preceding five sessions.

Buyback consideration was led by Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, Singapore Technologies Engineering, JAPFA, Global Investments and Sembcorp Industries.

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Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning March 1 to 7 saw close to 160 changes in director interests or substantial shareholdings filed for more than 60 primary-listed stocks. There were 43 company director acquisitions and one disposal filed, with substantial shareholders filing 17 acquisitions and three disposals.

UnUsUaL

On March 5, UnUsUaL executive director and CEO Leslie Ong Chin Soon acquired 20,408,164 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$5 million. This took Mr Ong's total interest in UnUsUaL from 76.997 per cent to 78.980 per cent.

With 20 years of experience in the production and promotion business, Mr Ong is responsible for the overall management operations, strategic planning and business development, and has been with the group since its inception in 1997.

UEL

On Feb 27, Yanlord Perennial Investment (Singapore) Pte Ltd (YPIL) acquired 6,105,000 shares of United Engineers Ltd (UEL) at an average price of S$2.512 per share.

The consideration of the transactions totalled S$15,335,760 and took the deemed UEL interest of its executive chairman, Zhong Sheng Jian from 34.32 per cent to 35.27 per cent.

He joined the UEL board and was appointed executive chairman in September 2017.

Mr Zhong serves as a member of the nominating committee and is also the founder, chairman and CEO of Yanlord Land Group.

Hong Lai Huat Group

Between March 1 and 6, Hong Lai Huat Group deputy chairman and CEO Ong Bee Huat acquired 2,086,600 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$523,070. This increased his direct interest in the stock to 17.996 per cent.

He is the founder of the group and is responsible for its overall strategic direction and planning as well as business development. He has gradually increased his direct interest in the group from 15.02 per cent in early May 2018.

DBS Group Holdings

On Feb 28, DBS Group Holdings independent director Olivier Lim Tse Ghow acquired 16,000 shares for a consideration of S$399,520, taking his direct interest in the listed company to 0.002 per cent.

Mr Lim was appointed to the board of directors of DBS Group Holdings Ltd and DBS Bank Ltd in November 2017.

He was previously with CapitaLand from 2003 to 2014 and served as group deputy CEO, group chief investment officer and group chief financial officer during his career there.

Hong Fok Corporation

Between March 4 and 5, Hong Fok Corporation joint chairman and joint managing director Cheong Sim Eng acquired 536,000 shares of the listed company. The transactions had a consideration value of S$385,420 and boosted his total interest in the stock from 19.056 per cent to 19.118 per cent.

Mr Cheong is principally involved in the group's overall operations and management with greater emphasis in Singapore and has over 33 years of experience in the property development business.

APAC Realty

On March 4, APAC Realty executive director and CEO Jack Chua Khee Hak acquired 20,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$11,450. This was the first filed acquisition for Mr Chua which brought his direct interest in APAC Realty to 0.006 per cent.

Mr Chua joined the APAC Realty Group in 1990 (under the previous holding company of its subsidiaries) and was the president of the group before being appointed as the CEO in 2013.

Prior to joining the group, he was with the Public Works Department of Singapore from 1984 to 1990, his last held position being head of building management and building development services.

Uni-Asia Group

On March 4, Uni-Asia Group executive director, Kenji Fukuyado acquired 10,000 shares of Uni-Asia Group for a consideration of S$12,510. This took his stake in the stock from 0.89 per cent to 0.92 per cent.

Mr Fukuyado was appointed an executive director of the company on March 1, 2018 and has over 30 years of experience in the finance industry, including structured finance such as tax lease, asset finance, loan syndication, corporate finance and asset management.

Uni-Asia Group is an alternative investment company with its targets mainly on cargo ships and properties.

On March 7, Uni-Asia Group executive director Masahiro Iwabuchi also acquired 10,000 shares of the alternative investment integrated service provider for a consideration of S$12,500. This took his stake in the stock from 0.15 per cent to 0.17 per cent.

Mr Iwabuchi joined the group when it was established in 1997 and was appointed as senior managing director on April 30, 2014 and now heads the property investment department.

JB Foods

On March 1, JB Foods CEO Tey How Keong acquired 206,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$131,840. The married deal took his total stake in JB Foods from 45.93 per cent to 45.99 per cent.

Mr Tey's preceding acquisition of JB Foods was on Feb 27, also via married deal, for 101,300 shares.

The majority of his holdings in JB Foods comprises a deemed interest in shares held by JB Cocoa Group Sdn Bhd.

Mr Tey was appointed to the board of JB Foods on Jan 3, 2012 and with over 25 years of experience in the cocoa business, is responsible for the overall strategic, management and business development of the group.

Sim Leisure Group

On March 1, Sim Leisure Group (SLG) made its debut on the Catalist board. Based in Malaysia, SLG is an established developer and operator of theme parks.

The group presently operates theme parks in Penang, Malaysia, namely the ESCAPE Adventureplay and ESCAPE Waterplay, as well as the upcoming ESCAPE Gravityplay which is expected to commence operations this year.

The retro-eco ESCAPE theme parks feature design elements inspired by traditional villages and pastimes in Malaysia, focusing on affordable quality fun for the mass market.

The majority shareholder of SLG is founder and CEO Sim Choo Kheng, with a 77.93 per cent direct interest in the listed company.

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