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INSIDE INSIGHTS

S$23m in buybacks; 3 Hong Fok directors increase interests

FOR the 2018 year through to Dec 6, the Straits Times Index (STI) has generated a 5.2 per cent decline in total return, amid regional moves that have ranged from a 1.5 per cent decline for the Nikkei 225 Index to a 21.8 per cent decline for China's CSI 300 Index.

For the five trading sessions ended Dec 6, the STI was again one of the strongest benchmarks across the region, gaining 0.2 per cent, while the Hang Seng Index, Nikkei 225 index and S&P/ASX 200 all weakened, averaging 2.3 per cent declines.

Share buybacks

There were 16 stocks conducting buybacks over the five sessions ended Dec 6, down from 20 stocks the preceding week. The consideration totalled S$23.1 million, up from S$16.2 million filed for the preceding week. United Overseas Bank, Keppel Reit Management, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, Sembcorp Industries and Stamford Land Corporation led the consideration tally. Federal International (2000) commenced a buyback mandate, acquiring 100,000 shares on Dec 6.

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Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning Nov 30 to Dec 6 saw just over 50 primary-listed stocks lodge approximately 130 changes in director interests or substantial shareholdings. There were 24 company director acquisitions and one disposal filed, while substantial shareholders filed 15 acquisitions and five disposals. In the month of November, buyback consideration totalled S$108.8 million, which was up from S$59.9 million in October.

Hong Fok Corporation

On Dec 3, Hong Fok Corporation joint chairman and joint managing director Cheong Sim Eng acquired 5 million shares of the stock via a married deal. The transaction had a consideration value of S$3,750,000 and took Cheong Sim Eng's total interest in the stock to 18.807 per cent. Mr Cheong Sim Eng 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.

On Dec 6, joint chairman and joint managing director Cheong Pin Chuan also acquired 5 million shares of the stock via a married deal with a consideration value of S$3,750,000 and taking his total interest in the stock to 19.263 per cent. Mr Cheong Pin Chuan is principally involved in the group's overall operations and management with greater emphasis in Hong Kong and has over 46 years of experience in property development at both management and board levels in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Executive director and chief operating officer Cheong Hooi Kheng also acquired 651,100 shares of Hong Fok Corporation via a married deal on Dec 3 for a consideration of S$488,325. This took Ms Cheong's direct stake in the stock to 1.704 per cent. Ms Cheong is principally involved in the group's development of properties. She also oversees the project management in relation to the development and construction of properties, the leasing and marketing of the group's real estate properties and major financial affairs of the group in Singapore.

Lian Beng Group

Last week Lian Beng Group chairman and managing director, Ong Pang Aik stepped up his acquisition stance on the stock, acquiring 954,600 shares between Nov 29 and Dec 4. The consideration of the four transactions totalled S$445,162. This took his total stake in the stock from 35.04 per cent to 35.23 per cent.

He has made six acquisitions of Lian Beng Group shares since Nov 21, which have followed an acquisition of 2.2 million in shares via a married deal in May.

Mr Ong joined Lian Beng Group in 1978 and was instrumental in growing the business from its early days as a subcontractor into an A1-graded building construction enterprise registered with BCA today. The group is one of Singapore's major home- grown main contractors with integrated civil engineering and construction support service capabilities, and has been listed on the SGX Mainboard since 1999.

HMI

On Dec 3, Kabouter Management, LLC (Kabouter) increased its deemed interest in Health Management International (HMI), acquiring 502,700 shares for a consideration of S$278,117. This took Kabouter's stake in HMI back above the 6 per cent threshold, from 5.973 per cent to 6.033 per cent.

Kabouter is deemed to be interested in the shares of HMI which are held through funds managed by Kabouter which is an investment management company located in Chicago, Illinois.

Q & M Dental

Q & M Dental Group - Singapore (Q & M) founder and group CEO Ng Chin Siau continued to increase his total stake in the stock, which is now 53.07 per cent. Between Nov 22 and 28, he acquired 520,000 of the group for a consideration of S$258,501. Dr Ng began 2018 with a 49.88 total per cent stake in Q & M.

He is responsible for the corporate direction of the group, leading it in all aspects of its business strategies, policy planning and business development in Singapore and overseas.

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings

Between Nov 29 and Dec 3, UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director Wee Ee Chao increased his total stake in UOBKH which now stands at 27.83 per cent.

Mr Wee acquired 119,400 UOBKH shares for a consideration of S$143,480. The UOBKH chairman has gradually increased his total stake from 26.51 per cent at the end of 2017.

UIC

On Dec 3, UOL Equity Investments Pte Ltd acquired 40,900 shares of United Industrial Corporation (UIC) for a consideration of S$114,712 at an average price of S$2.805 per share. This took the total stake in UIC that is held by its chairman, Wee Cho Yaw, to 50.0962 per cent.

No Signboard

Between Nov 30 and Dec 4, GuGong Pte Ltd acquired 742,600 shares of No Signboard Holdings for a consideration of S$104,283. No Signboard Holdings executive chairman and CEO Sam Lim Yong Sim maintains a 93.64 per cent stake of GuGong. This means his stake in No Signboard Holdings has increased from 74.15 per cent to 74.31 per cent.

Mr Lim joined the group in 1998 and has spearheaded its development and expansion over the past two decades.

Frencken Group

On Nov 29, Frencken Group chairman and non-executive non-independent director Gooi Soon Chai acquired 204,900 shares for a consideration of S$84,009, increasing his total interest in the stock to 23.31 per cent.

He has been the chairman of Frencken Group since August 2016 and is also a board member of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority.

Oxley Holdings

On Dec 5, Oxley Holdings deputy CEO & executive director Eric Low See Ching acquired 200,000 shares of Oxley Holdings for a consideration of S$59,000. This increased his direct stake in the home-grown property developer to 27.81 per cent. Mr Low is responsible for business development, as well as supporting CEO Ching Chiat Kwong in the formulation of corporate strategies and future direction of the group. Mr Low is also a non-executive director of Hafary Holdings where he previously served as CEO.

PropNex

On Dec 5, PropNex co-founder, executive chairman and CEO Mohamed Ismail Gafoor acquired 100,000 shares of the stock for a consideration of S$52,500. The acquisition took his total interest in PropNex to 63.77 per cent. The majority of his deemed stake is via his 62 per cent ownership of P&N Holdings Pte Ltd.

Envictus International

Between Nov 29 and Dec 4, Envictus International Holdings non-executive director and vice-chairman Sam Goi Seng Hui increased his deemed interest in the stock from 22.94 per cent to 23.07 per cent.

Tee Yih Jia Food Manufacturing Pte Ltd acquired 331,000 shares for a consideration of S$49,060. Mr Goi is the executive chairman of Tee Yih Jia Group in addition to Mainboard-listed GSH Corporation.

Envictus International Holdings started as a manufacturer and distributor of sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk and has since evolved into a diversified F&B player by way of several acquisitions.

Pursuant to the recent rights cum warrants Issue, an aggregate of 105,195,904 rights shares and 105,195,904 warrants were issued and allotted by Envictus International Holdings on Nov 28. Envictus International Holdings undertook the rights cum warrants issue to strengthen the financial position and capital base of the group.

The offer information statement also noted the intention that a portion of the net proceeds raised from the rights cum warrants issue would be used to fund the company's proposed expansion of existing businesses, which may include among others, the construction of a factory building in Pulau Indah for the manufacturing of condensed milk and the purchase of related plant and machinery in connection with the acquisition under the group's dairies division, the construction of a bakery manufacturing plant and the purchase of related equipment under the group's food processing division and the expansion of the Texas Chicken business in Indonesia and San Francisco Coffee outlets in Malaysia under the group's food services division.

Abundance International

Between Nov 28 and 29 Abundance International managing director Sam Kok Yin acquired 1.2 million shares of the Catalist-listed stock at a consideration of S$20,400. This took his total interest in Abundance International from 16.78 per cent to 16.97 percent.

Mr Sam is responsible for the overall business operations and management of the group's business, particularly in the new chemical and investment business.

FOP

Between Nov 30 and Dec 3, Fuji Offset Plates Manufacturing Ltd (FOP) executive director and chairman David Teo Kee Bock, acquired 15,000 shares of the stock for a consideration of S$3,125. He maintains a total interest of 24.07 per cent in FOP.

Mr Teo has been involved in the printing industry for more than 30 years and has been the main driving force behind the growth of the company.

His areas of responsibilities include business development, strategic planning and marketing.

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