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INSIDE INSIGHTS

Wilmar and Yangzijiang continue buybacks

FOR the first four sessions of 2021, the Straits Times Index (STI) gained 2.2 per cent, with the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaging 1.7 per cent gains.

The iEdge S-Reit Leaders Index gained 0.8 per cent.

Share buybacks

There were nine primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the four sessions with a total consideration of S$6.1 million.

The consideration was led by two STI stocks: Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (Holdings) and Wilmar International.

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Yangzijiang Shipbuilding bought back four million shares at an average price of 97.62 Singapore cents per share, while Wilmar International bought back 252,000 shares at an average price of S$4.85.

As of Jan 7, the current buyback mandate had seen Yangzijiang Shipbuilding buy back 70,249,200 shares, or 1.79 per cent of its issued shares (excluding treasury shares) as of the date of the current share buyback resolution.

The company began buying back its shares on this current mandate on May 30, 2020.

On that day, the buybacks were transacted at between 90 Singapore cents and 91.50 cents per share.

As of Jan 6, the current mandate had seen Wilmar International buy back 44,968,400 shares or 0.71 per cent of its issued shares (excluding treasury shares) as of the date of the current share buyback resolution.

Wilmar International began buying back shares on the current mandate on Nov 2.

On that day, the buybacks were transacted at between S$4.11 and S$4.28 per share.

For 2020, 100 Singapore Exchange (SGX) primary-listed stocks conducted buybacks with a total consideration of S$1.03 billion, with 12 of the current STI stocks accounting for 82 per cent of the total transaction consideration.

Of the 100 stocks, Wilmar International filed the second-largest buyback consideration, while Yangzijiang Shipbuilding filed the fourth- largest buyback consideration for the 2020 calendar year.

Both these stocks are also the largest constituents of the FTSE ST China Index.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The four trading sessions saw close to 50 changes in director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for 23 primary-listed stocks.

These included four company director acquisitions, with one disposal filed, and substantial shareholders filing seven acquisitions and one disposal.

Ho Bee Land

On Dec 31, 2020, Ho Bee Holdings (Pte) Ltd acquired 49,300 shares of Ho Bee Land for a consideration of S$118,268, at an average price of S$2.40 per share.

This took the deemed interest of Chua Thian Poh, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Ho Bee Land and founder of the Ho Bee Group, from 75.46 per cent to 75.47 per cent.

The acquisition followed Ho Bee Holdings acquiring 77,300 shares at S$2.38 per share on Dec 29, 2020, and 253,800 shares acquired at S$2.37 per share on Dec 24, 2020.

Prior to the December transactions, Ho Bee Holdings had made two acquisitions of Ho Bee Land shares in October and two acquisitions in August.

Prior to August, Ho Bee Holdings maintained a 75.20 per cent interest in Ho Bee Land.

Mr Chua is responsible for the strategic planning and direction of Ho Bee Land, as well as its financial and investment decisions.

On Aug 13, 2020, Ho Bee Land reported a net profit after tax and non-controlling interests of S$90.6 million for the first half of its FY20 (ended June 30), representing a year-on-year increase of 115 per cent.

Mr Chua noted at the time that in the midst of the pandemic, Ho Bee Land was fortunate to have a portfolio of prime offices in Singapore and London, as these offices had remained 100 per cent occupied.

He also noted that the recurring income base contributed to the resilience of the group during the challenging times.

Based on past filings, investors expect the company to report its FY20 results at the end of February.

The real estate development and investment company has a portfolio that covers many quality residential, commercial and high-tech industrial projects.

UOB-Kay Hian Holdings

On Jan 5, UOB-Kay Hian Holdings (UOBKH) chairman and managing director Wee Ee-Chao acquired 125,100 shares of the company for a consideration of S$180,144, at S$1.44 per share.

This increased his total interest in UOBKH from 30.83 per cent to 30.85 per cent.

Mr Wee's total interest in UOBKH has gradually increased from 29.49 per cent at the end of 2019, and increased from 27.98 per cent at the end of 2018.

For its H1FY20 (ended June 30), UOBKH recorded pre-tax profit of S$87.2 million and after-tax profit of S$76.7 million - an increase of 174.7 per cent and 167.1 per cent respectively.

UOBKH also reported that commission income increased from S$98.0 million to S$186.3 million, up by 90 per cent mainly due to active retail participation across regional and US markets, coinciding with market volatility.

Based on past filings, investors expect the company to report its FY20 results at the end of February.

Roxy-Pacific Holdings

On Dec 30, 2020, Roxy-Pacific Holdings independent director Winston Tan Tien Hin acquired 25,000 shares of the company for a consideration of S$8,750.

His total interest in the established property and hospitality group is 0.91 per cent.

Mr Tan is also executive chairman of Serrano and non-executive director of Plastoform Holdings.

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

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