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STI up 5% in 2019 YTD; tech sector leaders conducting buybacks

FOR the 2019 year through to Jan 17, the Straits Times Index (STI) generated a 4.8 per cent gain, compared to average gains of 3.4 per cent for the Hang Seng Index, Nikkei 225 Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index.

For the five trading sessions ended Jan 17, the STI gained 1 per cent, in-line with the gains of the Hang Seng Index, Nikkei 225 index and S&P/ASX 200.

Share buybacks

There were 16 stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions ended Jan 17. The consideration totalled S$11.2 million, up from S$10.6 million the previous week.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, Venture Corporation, Silverlake Axis, Singapore Post and Hi-P International led the buyback consideration tally.

As at Jan 17, Venture Corporation had bought back 0.39 per cent of its outstanding shares from the commencement of the current buyback mandate.

Meanwhile Silverlake Axis has bought back 0.27 per cent of its outstanding shares and Hi-P International has bought back 1.148 per cent of its outstanding shares.

Venture Corporation, Silverlake Axis and Hi-P International are the three largest capitalised technology stocks listed on SGX.

The technology sector generated capitalised weighted returns of 6 per cent in the 2019 year through to Jan 17.

Following on from the share buyback conducted by Silverlake Axis on Jan 14, the reduction in the number of shares issued (and treasury shares) saw NTAsian Discovery Master Fund's direct interest in the listed company rise back above the substantial shareholder threshold, from 4.9995 per cent to 5.0023 per cent.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five sessions spanning Jan 11 to 17 saw 35 primary-listed stocks lodge more than 100 changes in director interests or substantial shareholdings.

There were 21 company director acquisitions and two disposals filed, with substantial shareholders filing 26 acquisitions and one disposal.

On Jan 11, GSH Corporation executive chairman Sam Goi Seng Hui acquired 104,042,700 shares of the property developer via a married deal for a consideration of S$32,253,237.

This followed his acquisition of 22,509,300 shares on Jan 10, and took Mr Goi's total interest in the listed company to 56.47 per cent.

On the other side of the Jan 10 married deal involving 22,509,300 shares was GSH Corporation independent director Sun Yu who reduced his stake in GSH Corporation from 1.2 per cent to 0.05 per cent.

He then sold his remaining 1,000,100 GSH Corporation shares on Jan 11.

On Jan 15, Prudential Plc increased its deemed interest in Frasers Logistics and Industrial Trust by 2,012,200 units which saw its deemed holdings in the Trust cross the substantial shareholder threshold, from 4.9269 per cent to 5.0264 per cent.

Prudential Plc's substantial shareholding is by virtue of its deemed interest in the units managed by its subsidiaries as fund managers.

On Jan 17, the Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust (LMIRT) manager sold 157,296,347 units of LMIRT to Bridgewater International Ltd (BIL).

BIL is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of PT Lippo Karawaci Tbk, the sponsor of LMIRT.

In an accompanying announcement, the manager noted that it is also indirectly wholly-owned by the sponsor.

The manager added that its key role is to manage LMIRT and not to hold excessive units, and hence the manager had sold the units to BIL.

This also allowed for the sponsor to consolidate its unitholdings in LMIRT, and took the manager's LMIRT holdings to 0.74 per cent of the total number of issued units.

As of the announcement, BIL held approximately 29.99 per cent of the total number of issued units of LMIRT, and the sale did not result in any change in the aggregate interest of the sponsor in LMIRT.

Khong Guan

On Jan 15, Khong Guan Development Pte Ltd acquired 1.258 million shares of Khong Guan for a consideration of S$2,390,200.

This increased its substantial shareholding in the listed company from 6.36 per cent to 11.23 per cent.

Khong Guan maintains a trading and distribution business in Malaysia dealing in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) products and food ingredients via its subsidiary holdings in Tong Guan Food Products Sdn Bhd and Swee Hin Chan Company Sdn Bhd.

Khong Guan also holds equity in United Malayan Flour (1996) Sdn Bhd, a diversified group dealing in wheat flour, oatmeal, pulses, cooking oils, cereals and other investments.

TEE International

Following on from reporting earnings for the period ended Nov 30, 2018 on Jan 11, TEE International's managing director and CEO increased his majority interest in the stock.

Between Jan 14 and 15, Phua Chian Kin acquired 2.5 million shares of the company for a consideration of S$410,000.

This took Mr Phua's total interest in TEE International from 60.98 per cent to 61.48 per cent.

Mr Phua has been the group CEO & managing director of TEE International since 2000.

With over 30 years of experience in the engineering business, he spearheads the expansion and growth of TEE Group and is also responsible for its overall management, investment decisions, direction and policy decision-making.

TEE Land

In June 2013, TEE International's wholly-owned real estate subsidiary, TEE Land was listed on SGX.

The regional real estate developer and investor has a growing presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

On Jan 14, TEE Land non-executive chairman and independent director Lee Bee Wah, increased her interest in the stock from 0.42 per cent to 0.45 per cent.

This involved the acquisition of 108,000 shares for a consideration of S$18,628.

She is a licensed professional engineer who made history at the Institution of Engineers Singapore (IES) by becoming its first woman vice-president in 2000 and later the first IES woman president in 2008.

She is also an elected Member of Parliament since 2006 and is currently an MP for Nee Soon GRC.

Hwa Hong Corporation

Substantial shareholder David Ong Eng Hui increased his direct stake in Hwa Hong Corporation from 5.325 per cent to 5.422 per cent between Jan 10 and 16.

Dr Ong acquired 631,900 shares for a consideration of S$171,048.

This also increased the deemed and hence the total interest of Dr Ong's father, Steven Ong Kay Eng, in Hwa Hong Corporation to 14.922 per cent.

Mr Steven Ong has gradually grown his stake in the company from 10.8 per cent on Nov 28, 2016 and 7.38 per cent at the end of 2014.

Lum Chang Holdings

Lum Chang Holdings (LCH) managing director David Lum Kok Seng has continued to build his interest in the construction and property development stock, boosting his total interest in the counter to 20.954 per cent.

Mr Lum, who has more than 40 years of industry experience, has led the expansion of the group's property development activities in Singapore and Malaysia.

He is also actively spearheading the group in property investment projects in the United Kingdom.

Between Jan 10 and 16, Beverian Holdings Pte Ltd acquired 429,700 shares of LCH for a consideration of S$150,867.

Mr Lum is deemed interested in the LCH shares held by Beverian Holdings Pte Ltd.

Kim Heng Offshore & Marine Holdings

On Jan 9, KH Group Holdings Pte Ltd acquired 1,474,400 shares of Kim Heng Offshore & Marine Holdings (Kim Heng) for a consideration of S$119,574.

The married deal took the total interest of Kim Heng executive chairman & CEO Thomas Tan in the listed company up from 42.78 per cent to 42.99 per cent.

Mr Tan joined the group in 1978, and from 1998 he has been responsible for overall operations, sales and marketing activities, customer service, securing new projects and negotiating contracts for the group.

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings

On Jan 15, UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director Wee Ee Chao increased his total stake in UOBKH, which stands at 28 per cent as of Jan 17.

Mr Wee acquired 65,400 UOBKH shares for a consideration of S$78,480.

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


Back on Jan 3, GL substantial shareholder Quek Leng Chan increased his deemed interest in the stock with the acquisition of 85,200 shares for a consideration of S$63,048.

This took his total interest in GL to 68.04 per cent. He was previously a director and chairman of GL before stepping down from the role in September 2016.

JEP Holdings

Between Jan 10 and 11, UMS Holdings acquired 282,200 shares of JEP Holdings for a consideration of S$38,279.

This took UMS Holdings' total interest in JEP Holdings to 28 per cent.

The chairman and CEO of UMS Holdings, Andy Luong, holds 20.58 per cent of the company's issued share capital.

In January 2018, UMS Holdings became a substantial shareholder of Catalist-listed JEP Holdings.

At the time, Mr Luong noted that about 80 per cent of JEP Holdings' business was in aerospace, with the remainder coming from the semiconductor and oil and gas industries, enabling UMS Holdings to diversify its customer base.

Following JEP Holdings executive director Zee Hoong Huay converting JEP Holdings Warrants on Jan 11, Ellipsiz's substantial shareholding in JEP Holdings was reduced from 11.06 per cent to 10.98 per cent, as was the deemed interest by Beverian Pte Ltd and its sole shareholder David Lum Kok Seng.

No Signboard

Between Jan 10 and 11, GuGong Pte Ltd acquired 262,000 shares of No Signboard Holdings for a consideration of S$33,489.

No Signboard Holdings executive chairman and CEO Sam Lim Yong Sim holds a 93.64 per cent shareholding in GuGong Pte Ltd. Mr Lim's acquisitions over the past 10 months have seen his total interest in No Signboard Holdings gradually increase from 72.97 per cent in mid-March 2018 to 74.91 per cent.

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

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