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UMS Holdings ups stake in JEP Holdings to 29.5 per cent

MAINBOARD-LISTED UMS Holdings has bought another 22.02 per cent stake in JEP Holdings for around SS$22.5 million - in addition to an earlier 7.48 per cent stake it bought earlier on Tuesday for S$5.7 million.

Of the second round of investment, 21.96 per cent or 320 million JEP shares were purchased through a "married deal" and 0.06 per cent or 864,300 shares were bought on the open market.

This brings UMS's overall shareholdings in JEP, a precision machining firm, to 29.5 per cent, or 429.9 million ordinary shares, for which it paid a total of S$28.2 million.

UMS said in a statement on Wednesday that the acquisition, made fully in cash and funded by internal resources, comes as part of the group's strategy to diversify its revenue and income base into "high-growth sectors beyond the semiconductor industry" - specifically the aerospace industry.

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The investment will offer UMS "direct and immediate capacity" into the aerospace industry, said UMS chairman and chief executive Andy Luong, noting that about 80 per cent of JEP's business is in aerospace, with the remainder coming from the semiconductor and oil and gas industries.

"This will enable us to increase our customer base beyond semiconductor players and tap the wealth of growth opportunities in these new sectors," he said.

Headquartered in Singapore, JEP operates out of four facilities equipped with high-tech machinery for manufacturing and the provision of secondary processes related to engineering services.

Its main operating unit, JEP Precision Engineering, has built a solid track record as a reliable contractor for aerospace components since it started operations in 1990, and is now part of the global supply chain for the world's leading aircraft manufacturers.

JEP recently opened a new 200,000 sq ft facility in Seletar Aerospace Park, which also offers UMS additional production capacity for immediate expansion to capitalise on the current semiconductor industry boom, UMS said.

"The aerospace industry has a long runway for growth. With our investment in JEP, which has both an excellent track record and strong customer base in aerospace, we are well-placed to accelerate our diversification strategy and grow our revenues in the coming years," added Mr Luong.

"Both UMS and JEP can combine our strengths and maximise operational synergies to capture growth opportunities in new markets such as China. JEP has already set up a joint-venture company in Kunshan, China to provide precision machining and engineering services to the bullish aerospace sector in China."

JEP shares were the most heavily traded on the Singapore Exchange on Wednesday, jumping 13.3 per cent or 0.8 Singapore cent to close at 6.8 Singapore cents.

UMS shares finished 1 per cent or one Singapore cent down at $1.03, before the announcement was made.

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