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INSIDE INSIGHTS

Seven STI stocks conduct buybacks

FOR the 2018 year through to June 28, the Straits Times Index (STI) generated a 2.6 per cent decline in total return, compared to the Nikkei 225, Hang Seng and S&P/ASX 200 Indices averaging a one per cent gain in total return.

Meanwhile the Dow Jones has gained 1.3 per cent, in SGD terms. For the five trading sessions ended June 28, the STI generated a 0.9 per cent decline, with the three regional benchmarks averaging a 1.1 per cent decline.

Share buybacks

Buyback momentum was maintained over the five sessions ended June 28 with consideration totalling S$34.9 million. This followed a very similar consideration of S$37.3 million over the preceding four sessions. As was the case the previous week seven STI stocks conducted buybacks over the five sessions.

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Keppel Corp again led the tally with 1.25 million shares bought back for a consideration of S$8.92 million. Four stocks commenced new buyback mandates - Sembcorp Industries, Wing Tai Holdings, Tiong Seng Holdings and Annaik.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning June 22 to June 28 saw 50 primary-listed stocks lodge 100 changes in director interests or substantial shareholders' transactions. There were 30 company director acquisitions and no disposals filed, while substantial shareholders filed 18 acquisitions and 13 disposals.

Yanlord

Between June 20 and 25 Yanlord Land Group (Yanlord) founder chairman and CEO Zhong Sheng Jian purchased 4,393,300 shares of the stock for a consideration of S$7,198,252.

Mr Zhong, who is responsible for the overall management and strategy development of the group, increased his stake in the stock to 70.05 per cent. He has gradually increased his total stake in Yanlord from 68.37 per cent at the end of 2017.

With its Q1FY18 financial results released in May, Mr Zhong noted that the acquisition of Tulip Garden marked Yanlord's maiden entry into Singapore's residential market, and will offer chic urbanites a rare opportunity to own a home in one of Singapore's most sought after and vibrant addresses.

In April, Yanlord announced that Asia Radiant Pte Ltd, an entity under a jointly held entity with MCL Land Limited, a subsidiary of Hongkong Land Holdings Limited, successfully tendered S$906.9 million for the collective sale of Tulip Garden.

With a Masterplan plot ratio of 1.6, the site could potentially yield up to 670 prime residential units.

Last week Yanlord announced that it has through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Yanlord Land Pte Ltd acquired an additional interest of 40 per cent in Yanlord Property Pte Ltd.

As reported by The Business Times the purchase price comprises about 466.9 million yuan for the transfer of the 40 per cent shareholding interest in Yanlord Property, and about 579 million yuan for the transfer of the shareholder loan of an equivalent amount given by Reco to Yanlord Property.

UEL

Mr Zhong also serves as the executive chairman of United Engineers (UEL). On June 22, Yanlord Perennial Investment (Singapore) Pte Ltd (YPIL) acquired 305,000 shares of UEL at an average price of S$2.7949 per share. The consideration of the transaction totalled S$852,451 and took the deemed UEL interest of Mr Zhong to 34.25 per cent.

Substantial shareholder Oxley Holdings also acquired 545,800 shares of UEL for a consideration of S$1,526,985 via market transaction on June 26. This increased its stake in UEL to 19.05 per cent.

GSH

On June 27, GSH Corporation (GSH) executive chairman Sam Goi Seng Hui increased his stake in the property developer.

Mr Goi acquired two million shares of GSH Corporation, taking his direct stake in the stock to 49.96 per cent (from 49.86 per cent). These shares were acquired for a consideration of S$940,000, at S$0.47 per share.

Mr Goi's previous change of interest in GSH was on May 3 and involved a subscription of S$10,500,000 in aggregate principal amount of 5.15 per cent fixed rate notes due 2021 issued by GSH under its S$800,000,000 multi-currency medium term note programme.

For its Q1FY18 (ended March 31) profit for the period attributable to owners of the company was S$1.11 million against a loss of S$1.35 million a year ago.

Wilmar

On June 25, Wilmar International (Wilmar) non-executive director Kuok Khoon Hua acquired 222,000 Wilmar shares at an average price of S$3.080 per share.

The consideration of the acquisition totalled S$683,840 and took Mr Kuok's total stake in Wilmar to 0.844 per cent.

Mr Kuok was first appointed to the Wilmar board in July 2016, and also serves as the chairman of Kerry Holdings Limited, the main investment holding company of the Kuok Group in Hong Kong.

Earlier in June, Wilmar and OCBC Bank inked a deal that pegs the interest rate of the agribusiness group's existing US$200 million revolving credit facility to its sustainability performance.

This was the largest sustainability-linked bilateral loan by a Singapore bank that was funded by a single lender and in collaboration with the borrower on achieving sustainability targets.

UOBKH

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director Wee Ee Chao increased his total stake in UOBKH over the five sessions from 27.42 per cent to 27.48 per cent.

Mr Wee acquired a total of 449,300 shares over the five sessions for a consideration of S$579,070. The chairman has gradually increased his total stake in UOBKH from 26.51 per cent at the end of 2017.

Mr Wee also serves on the board of Haw Par Corporation and UOL Group as a non-executive director and is also a director of Kheng Leong Co Pte Ltd and Wee Investment Group.

No Signboard

Between June 20 and 28, GuGong Pte Ltd acquired 1,987,000 shares of No Signboard Holdings for a consideration of S$386,450.

No Signboard Holdings executive chairman and CEO Sam Lim Yong Sim (Lin Rongsen) maintains a 93.64 per cent stake of GuGong Pte Ltd. This means Mr Lim's stake in No Signboard holdings has increased from 73.63 per cent to 74.06 per cent.

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

ABR

ABR Holdings (ABR) through its outlets, franchisees and licensees, manages and operates some of the most successful F&B brands in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and China.

The Swensen's brand, with over 25 restaurants in Singapore, remains one of the market leaders in the Western casual dining category.

Between June 22 and 27, ABR managing director Ang Yee Lim acquired 451,900 shares of the stock for a consideration of S$376,923.

The acquisitions were transacted at an average price of S$0.8341 and Mr Ang maintains almost a 50 per cent direct interest in the company.

Mr Ang's preceding acquisition was back on Dec 29, 2017, with that acquisition of 553,000 shares transacted at a lower price of S$0.8183 per share.

Mr Ang has held his managing director position at ABR for the past 14 years and has over 10 years of experience in the F&B business and more than 30 years of experience in property development and investment in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

ABR's group profit after tax for Q1FY18 (ended March 31) was almost S$1.0 million, 20.9 per cent lower than the S$1.2 million recorded in Q1FY17.

This followed the group recording a FY17 profit after tax of approximately S$6.8 million, an increase of 20.3 per cent when compared to S$5.6 million for FY16.

Management noted in the FY17 Annual Report that amid the F&B Industry challenges, the group will continue to focus on improving cost efficiency, in particular on procurement of raw materials and manpower utilisation.

Hwa Hong

On June 20, veteran banker Steven Ong Kay Eng continued to increase his total stake in Hwa Hong Corporation (Hwa Hong) with the acquisition of 258,000 shares.

The consideration of the transaction totalled S$83,873 and has taken Mr Ong's stake in Hwa Hong to 13.356 per cent.

Mr Ong has gradually grown his stake in the company from 10.804 per cent on Nov 28, 2016, and 7.38 per cent at the end of 2014.

Vicplas

Vicplas International (Vicplas) non-executive director Robert Gaines-Cooper continued to increase his stake in the stock, taking his direct stake in Vicplas to 3.33 per cent.

He acquired 703,000 shares for a consideration of S$71,003 on June 21.

Mr Gaines-Cooper also maintains a deemed interest of 280,852,441 shares in Vicplas, through Venner Capital SA, which brings his total stake in Vicplas to 58.55 per cent.

Sing Holdings

On June 20, Sing Holdings managing director and CEO Lee Sze Hao continued to acquire more shares of the company, taking his total stake up to 38.97 per cent.

The 119,000 shares were acquired at S$0.42 per share and a consideration of S$49,980.

Since reporting its FY17 results in February, Mr Lee has gradually increased his stake in the company from 38.45 per cent.

For its Q1FY18 (ended March 31) the group recorded a profit attributable to shareholders of S$3.0 million.

Revenue for the quarter comprised recognition of sales proceeds from property under development, as well as rental income from lease of an investment property.

SMG

On June 27, Singapore Medical Group (SMG) independent director Ho Lon Gee acquired 100,000 shares of the stock for a consideration of S$46,000. This took Mr Ho's stake in SMG to 0.02 per cent.

Mr Ho is also the current CEO of Tricor Singapore Pte Ltd, where he oversees the management of Tricor Group of companies in Singapore.

Substantial shareholder Red Ancient Global Ltd also acquired 20,000 shares of SMG taking its direct stake in the stock to 0.08 per cent and total stake to 9.16 per cent.

UnUsUaL

UnUsUaL executive director and CEO Johnny Ong Chin Leong acquired 100,000 shares of the company at an average price of S$0.4486 per share. The consideration of the transaction at S$44,860 took Mr Ong's total stake in UnUsUaL to 76.82 per cent.

Last weekend, UnUsUaL reported a wholly-owned subsidiary, UnUsUaL Entertainment Pte Ltd and Sliding Door Entertainment Pte Ltd, will be presenting "Walking with Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular" in an Asia Tour comprising 117 shows across a total of 11 cities and expected to commence in the second half of 2019.

UnUsUaL's gross profit was S$17.9 million in FY18 compared to S$11.9 million in FY17.

ayondo

On June 27, ayondo chairman and co-founder Thomas Winkler acquired 149,000 shares of the company for a consideration of S$11,920. This took Mr Winkler's stake in the stock to 5.98 per cent.

ayondo offers both a sophisticated online trading platform for experienced individuals investing in CFDs and spread betting, in addition to a Social Trading platform.

It was the first FinTech company to list on the SGX via the Catalist Board in March 2018.

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