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INSIDE INSIGHTS

ST Engineering leads buybacks; Eric Lew takes 10% stake in Y Ventures

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Y Ventures' executive chairman and director Eric Lew acquired a 10 per cent deemed interest in the group from its managing director.

FOR the five trading sessions spanning Sept 20 to 26, the Straits Times Index (STI) declined 1 per cent with the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaging a 0.7 per cent decline.

Reits continued defensive momentum, and edged 0.3 per cent higher over the five sessions. This has brought the STI's 2019 total return through to September 26, to 5.5 per cent.

Share buybacks

There were 12 primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions ended Sept 26, with a total consideration of S$2.4 million, twice the amount filed for the preceding five sessions.

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ST Engineering led the tally with 400,000 shares bought back for a consideration of S$1.56 million. The shares were purchased at between S$3.88 and S$3.89 per share and took the total amount of shares bought back by ST Engineering to 3,670,700 since the current mandate was approved on April 18, 2019.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning Sept 20 to 26 saw close to 140 changes in director interests or substantial shareholdings filed for approximately 45 primary-listed stocks.

There were a total of 23 company director acquisitions and eight disposals filed, with substantial shareholders filing 20 acquisitions and nine disposals.

Y Ventures Group

On Sept 23, Catalist-listed Y Ventures Group announced that it would raise S$2 million via a proposed placement. Y Ventures Group executive chairman and director Eric Lew Chern Yong acquired a 10 per cent deemed interest in Y Ventures Group from major shareholder and its managing director, Adam Low Yik Sen. Mr Lew acquired 20.5 million shares for a consideration of S$1,664,600 at S$0.0812 per share.

The group intends to utilise the net proceeds to fund its business expansion via strategic joint venture partnerships and/or mergers & acquisitions (M&A).

The proceeds will also be used as working capital to continue to accelerate its core business-to-consumer e-commerce business.

The company will make periodic announcements on the utilisation of the net proceeds as and when the funds are materially disbursed.

The group noted that Mr Lew's acquisition was a strong sign of his confidence in Y Ventures Group, and aligns his interests with other members of the management team and shareholders, with the aim of driving the group to the next stage of growth.

The company added that the proceeds from the placement have also buoyed the group's financial resources to engage in mergers and acquisitions, going forward.

Mr Lew has close 20 years of diverse experience in corporate strategy & business development.

Fortress Minerals

On Sept 19, non-executive and non-independent director Teh Lip Kim acquired 3.7 million shares of Catalist-listed Fortress Minerals for a consideration of S$888,000 at S$0.24 per share. This took Ms Teh's deemed interest in the listed company from 32.45 per cent to 33.19 per cent.

Ms Teh is also the managing director and substantial shareholder of Selangor Dredging Berhad, a property development company listed on Bursa Malaysia and the holding company of SDB Mining, a controlling shareholder of Fortress Minerals.

Sinostar PEC

Between Sept 19 and 25, Intelligent People Holdings Ltd (IPHL) acquired 3,153,700 shares of Sinostar PEC Holdings (Sinostar) for a consideration of S$681,658 at an average price of S$0.2161 per share.

The prior five sessions saw IPHL acquire 986,500 shares at an average price of S$0.1931 per share.

The acquisitions took IPHL's total interest in Sinostar from 56.32 per cent to 56.82 per cent.

Sinostar non-executive chairman Li Xiang Ping has a 100 per cent shareholding interest in IPHL.

Mr Li had made multiple acquisitions of Sinostar shares via IPHL back in 2018, increasing his total interest from 52.190 per cent prior to Dec 27, 2017.

Ho Bee Land

Between Sept 20 and 24, Ho Bee Holdings Pte Ltd acquired 85,700 shares of Ho Bee Land for a consideration of S$195,658 at an average price of S$2.28 per share.

This took its direct stake in the company, in addition to the deemed interest of Chua Thian Poh, the founder of Ho Bee Group, to 75.0461 per cent.

Prior to this, Ho Bee Holdings Pte Ltd acquired 181,100 shares of Ho Bee Land at an average price of S$2.285 per share.

Mr Chua was appointed the chairman and CEO of the group in 1999 and is responsible for its strategic planning and direction, as well as its financial and investment decisions.

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings

Between Sept 19 and 25, UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director, Wee Ee Chao increased his total stake in UOBKH, which is now at 29.39 per cent.

Mr Wee acquired 162,500 shares for a consideration of S$195,000 at S$1.20 per share.

The UOBKH chairman has gradually increased his total stake in UOBKH from 26.51 per cent at the end of 2017.

Hai Leck Holdings

Between Sept 19 and 24, Hai Leck Holdings (Hai Leck) founder and executive chairman, Cheng Buck Poh acquired 333,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$169,995 at an average price of S$0.5105 per share. This took his total interest in the integrated services provider from 84.19 per cent to 84.35 per cent.

He started Hai Leck Engineering as a sole proprietorship in 1971 and is currently responsible for charting the corporate directions and strategies for Hai Leck.

Mr Cheng's total interest in Hai Leck was 83.34 per cent at the end of August 2018.

ESR Reit

On Sept 23, ESR Reit's independent non-executive director Stefanie Yuen Thio acquired 146,156 units of the Reit which invests in quality income-producing industrial properties.

The two transactions had a combined consideration of S$78,193 at S$0.535 per unit and took her total interest in ESR Reit to 0.0043 per cent.

Ms Yuen Thio is the joint managing partner of TSMP Law Corporation and heads its corporate practice.

She has over 25 years of legal experience in mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets, corporate transactions and regulatory advice.

Hong Fok Corporation

On Sept 19, Hong Fok Corporation executive director and joint CEO Cheong Sim Eng acquired 63,000 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$51,975 at S$0.825 per share.

This took his total interest in Hong Fok Corporation to 19.563 per cent.

Mr Chong's preceding acquisition of Hong Fok corporation shares comprised 60,000 shares at S$0.845 per share on Sept 2.

He has gradually increased his total interest in the property developer from 19.056 per cent at the end of 2018.

He is principally involved in the group's overall operations and management with greater emphasis in Singapore and has over 34 years of experience in the property development business.

Noel Gifts International

Between Sept 18 and 24, Noel Gifts International managing director Alfred Wong Siu Hong acquired 88,500 shares of the listed company for a consideration of S$19,380 at an average price of S$0.219 per share.

This took his total stake in Noel Gifts International from 45.42 per cent to 45.51 per cent.

His preceding acquisition of the company's shares was on Aug 29 with 100,100 shares acquired at S$0.20 per share.

Mr Wong is the founder of Noel Gifts International, and has been its managing director since its commencement.

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