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STI remains comparatively resilient; 32 director acquisitions filed
THE Straits Times Index (STI) has maintained a comparatively resilient performance, generating a dividend inclusive gain for the 2018 year through to April 5, of 0.4 per cent. This compared to a decline of 2.1 per cent for the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index. The three benchmarks of Japan, Hong Kong and Australia all declined in the 2018 year through to April 5, with a comparative average loss of 3.4 per cent in SGD terms, while the Dow Jones has declined 1.8 per cent.
For the month of March, a total of 26 stocks repurchased 86 million shares for a total consideration of S$222 million. The buyback consideration was up 65 per cent from S$134 million in February 2018 and the highest reported consideration since September 2015.
The momentum continued over the first four sessions of April, with a dozen companies filing buybacks that totalled S$48.1 million. CapitaLand has now bought back 1.102 per cent of its shares on the current mandate which ends later this month.
Over the first four sessions of April, 64 primary-listed stocks lodged 160 changes in director interests or substantial shareholders. There were 32 director acquisitions with two disposals filed, while substantial shareholders filed 21 acquisitions and 10 disposals.
UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director Wee Ee Chao acquired 156,200 shares of UOBKH at an average price of S$1.4035 per share. The multiple transactions spanned March 29 to April 4 with a consideration of S$219,230. This took Mr Wee's total stake in UOBKH to 26.65 per cent. Mr Wee has gradually increased his stake from 25.64 per cent in mid-March 2017, when UOBKH was trading at S$1.35 per share.
On April 3 and 4, Centurion Corporation non-executive directors David Loh Kim Kang and Han Seng Juan increased their direct stakes in the stock. Mr Loh acquired 4.95 million shares taking his direct stake in Centurion Corporation to 3.167 per cent, while Mr Han acquired 1.2 million shares, taking his direct stake in Centurion Corporation to 1.772 per cent.
Mr Loh and Mr Han also maintain shareholding interests in Centurion Global Ltd, and its wholly-owned subsidiary Centurion Properties Pte Ltd. This boosts the respective total interests of Mr Loh and Mr Han in Centurion Corporation to 56.208 per cent and 55.734 per cent.
Between April 3 and 4, GSH Corporation (GSH) executive chairman Sam Goi Seng Hui increased his stake in the property developer. Mr Goi acquired 3,463,400 shares of GSH Corporation, taking his direct stake in the stock to 49.85 per cent (from 49.67 per cent). These shares were acquired for a consideration of S$1.629 million, at S$0.47 per share.
With CEO Gilbert Ee, Mr Goi noted in the recently published FY17 Annual Report that growth in the property business saw the group close FY17 on a high note. This was largely attributed to unit sales at Eaton Residences in Kuala Lumpur, and the continued high occupancy rates at the two hotels in Kota Kinabalu.
Looking forward, the two key executives reiterated that GSH will continue to be on the lookout for good properties in the region and in China, while honing its two-pronged strategy of finding prime locations in key city gateways and creating premium signature designs. Mr Ee maintains a 5.41 per cent deemed interest in GSH.
From March 29 to April 3, Henry Wee increased his substantial shareholding in Imperium Crown from 14.67 per cent to 16.73 per cent. With a total consideration of S$1,035,101, the 16.221 million shares were acquired at an average price of S$0.06381 per share. In the preceding sessions of March 23 to 26, Mr Wee increased his acquired 3,056,500 shares at an average price of S$0.0643 per share.
As noted last week, Imperium Crown has continued its strategic reallocation of capital to new projects. In February the company reported its H1FY18 (ended Dec 31) revenue declined 66.8 per cent year on year (yoy) coinciding with completing the divestment of its Japan properties.
Between April 3 and 4, Roxy-Pacific Holdings (Roxy-Pacific) bought back 350,000 shares at S$0.55 per share. From commencing buyback mandate on Feb 14 (which had been approved back on April 11, 2017) to April 5, the company has bought back 3,455,000 shares.
Between April 2 and 4, Kian Lam Investment Pte Ltd acquired 2,016,000 shares of Roxy-Pacific at an average price of S$0.5522 per share. Roxy-Pacific executive chairman and CEO Teo Hong Lim has a deemed interest in Kian Lam Investment Pte Ltd. The consideration of the three transactions totalled S$1,113,217 and followed on from Kian Lam Investment Pte Ltd's multiple acquisitions of Roxy-Pacific shares in March. These transactions have taken Mr Teo's total stake in the company to 61.64 per cent, which is up from 60.55 per cent on Nov 28, 2016.
Mr Teo has been a director of Roxy-Pacific since May 1993 and currently sets out the group's strategies and leads overall management. As noted last week the company is an established property and hospitality group with an Asia-Pacific focus and a track record that extends back to May 1967.
GRP executive director Kwan Chee Seng has been increasing his stake in the company, and filed one of the largest director acquisitions last week by consideration value. On April 2, Mr Kwan acquired 1,069,800 GRP shares for a consideration of S$213,693 at S$0.20 per share. This took Mr Kwan's direct interest in GRP from 32.52 per cent to 33.07 per cent.
In addition to property development, GRP's core businesses include the trading and distribution of precision measuring instruments and equipment; and supply and servicing of industrial/marine hoses, fittings and related products.
In February the group reported H1FY18 revenue increased 30.1 per cent yoy to S$17.8 million; with a smaller loss (after income tax write back) of S$1.0 million for its H1FY18 (ended Dec 31) compared to a loss of S$2.8 million in H1FY17.
Hwa Hong Corporation
Veteran banker Steven Ong Kay Eng also continued to increase his total stake in Hwa Hong Corporation. On March 29, Mr Ong acquired 320,000 shares of Hwa Hong Corporation for a consideration of S$105,600 at S$0.33 per share.
With a current total stake of 13.067 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. In February, the company reported its net profit grew 13.1 per cent yoy for FY17 (ended 31 Dec).
- The writer is the market strategist at Singapore Exchange (SGX). To read SGX's market research reports, visit sgx.com/research.