INSIDE INSIGHTS

Wilmar chair presses on with open market acquisitions

FOR the five trading sessions that spanned Nov 4 to 10, the Straits Times Index (STI) gained 2.3 per cent, with the Hang Seng Index also rising 2.3 per cent and the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI adding 0.5 per cent.

Overall, institutions were net buyers of Singapore stocks for the five sessions ended Nov 10, with S$277 million of net inflows, a similar pace to the net inflows for the preceding five sessions.

This brought the 2022 year to Nov 10 net institutional inflows to S$1 billion.

UOB, OCBC, DBS, CapitaLand Investment and Singtel led the net institutional inflows for the five sessions.

Meanwhile, Sats, Jardine Matheson Holdings, Keppel Reit, Nanofilm Technologies International and Frasers Logistic & Commercial Trust led the net institutional outflows for the same period.

Share buybacks

There were 19 primary-listed stocks conducting share buybacks over the five sessions ended Nov 10, with a total consideration of S$15.1 million, a similar pace to the consideration totals for the preceding three weeks.

Sembcorp Industries again led the five-session buyback consideration tally, purchasing 2.2 million shares at an average price of S$3.09 cents per share.

The company has bought back 0.4 per cent of its issued shares (excluding treasury shares) on the current mandate, as of Nov 10.

On Nov 9, Catalist-listed Acesian Partners conducted a share buyback of 5,127,700 shares at an average price of 3.8 cents per share, representing 1.03 per cent of its issued shares (excluding treasury shares).

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five trading sessions saw close to 50 changes to director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for about 25 primary-listed stocks.

This included nine company director acquisitions with one disposal filed, while substantial shareholders filed five acquisitions and two disposals.

Wilmar International

Between Nov 4 and 10, Wilmar International's chairman and CEO Kuok Khoon Hong increased his deemed interest in the stock.

HPRY Holdings, in which Kuok has deemed interest, acquired 2,279,200 shares of Wilmar at an average price of S$3.94 per share.

The consideration of the acquisitions totalled S$8,981,504 and increased Kuok's total interest in Wilmar from 12.96 per cent to 13 per cent.

The acquisitions followed on from HPRY Holdings acquiring 650,000 shares at S$3.88 on Nov 1 then and 36,700 shares, also at S$3.88 per share on Nov 2.

As Asia's leading agribusiness group, Wilmar has a multinational workforce of around 100,000 people with over 500 manufacturing plants and an extensive distribution network covering China, India, Indonesia and some 50 other countries and regions.

As Kuok noted earlier in the year, Wilmar International is developing comprehensive initiatives and targets to identify and reduce negative climate impacts from its value chain.

These include reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its operations and supply chains, addressing deforestation, halting biodiversity loss, and improving livelihoods of farmers and smallholders within these climate-smart production models.

On Nov 7, Wilmar announced that it had signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative in October 2022 with the aim of cementing its emission reduction targets while demonstrating progress that reflects the significance of its commitments.

This means that over the next 24 months, the group will develop timebound plans delineating its strategy and approach to achieve its near-term and net-zero emission reduction targets, with most of its undertakings revolving around Scope 3 emissions, with efforts well underway to identify its Scope 3 footprint and formulate comprehensive plans to address and reduce them.

Centurion Corporation

On Nov 3, Centurion Corporation executive director and joint chairman David Loh Kim Kang acquired 1,665,300 shares at 34 cents per share.

This increased his total interest in the company from 55.74 per cent to 55.94 per cent.

Loh is responsible for the formulation of corporate and business strategies of the company and leads the execution of strategic growth plans of the group.

His preceding acquisition was on Sep 19, with 2,549,8000 shares acquired through the Hong Kong listing at HK$2.24 per share.

Loh has marginally increased his total interest in the property owner, developer, and manager from 55.62 per cent at the end of 2017.

On Nov 1, Centurion Corporation provided a voluntary update of its Q3 2022 results.

The company said that group revenue increased by 26 per cent from S$35.3 million in Q3 2021 to S$44.3 million in Q3 2022.

Together with its subsidiaries, the group owns, develops, and manages quality, purpose-built workers accommodation assets in Singapore and Malaysia, and purpose-built student accommodation assets in Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

For the 9M 2022, Singapore assets contributing 68 per cent of the group's revenue, with the UK, Malaysia and Australia assets contributing much of the remaining revenue.

With the results, Centurion Corporation CEO Kong Chee Min highlighted that the group's financial performance continued to improve through Q3 2022, as Singapore and the UK enjoyed high occupancies while Malaysia and Australia recovered closer to pre-Covid levels of occupancy.

He added that rental rate reversions have been healthy, supported by strong demand across all markets, cushioning the effects of inflation and rising interest rates.

He also said that the group will continue the strategic review of its assets, assessing opportunities for capital recycling and portfolio expansion.

Keppel Pacific Oak US Reit

On Nov 9, Keppel Pacific Oak US Reit Management non-executive and independent director Lawrence David Sperling acquired 370,300 units of Keppel Pacific Oak US Reit at 54 US cents per unit.

This took his direct interest in the US office Reit to 0.04 per cent.

Sperling has over 30 years of experience in both the United States and Asia-Pacific real estate markets.

He is the founder of Meadpoint, a real estate management firm based in Singapore which specialises in investment management for commercial and multi-family properties in the Asia-Pacific Region.

On Oct 26, Keppel Pacific Oak US Reit reported that its adjusted distributable income for Q3 2022 was up 2.1 per cent year on year to US$14.6 million, supported by the acquisitions of Bridge Crossing in Nashville and 105 Edgeview in Denver that were completed in August 2021.

Kingsmen Creatives

On Nov 9, Kingsmen Creatives deputy chairman Simon Ong Chin Sim acquired 200,000 shares at 23.5 cents per share.

With a consideration of S$47,000 this increased his total interest in the leading communication design and production group from 23.19 per cent to 23.29 per cent.

Ong oversees the strategic planning and development of the group as well as its creative and brand standards.

He is one of the group's two founders and has contributed significantly to its growth.

A-Sonic Aerospace

Between Nov 7 and 8, A-Sonic Aerospace chief executive officer Janet LC Tan acquired 19,000 shares for a consideration of S$9,932, at an average price of 52.3 cents per share.

This took her direct interest in the company from 60.65 per cent to 60.67 per cent.

Her preceding acquisitions included 35,000 shares at 51.4 cents per share between Oct 20 and 27, and 10,000 shares at 54.6 cents per share on Oct 10.

She has gradually increased her total interest in A-Sonic Aerospace from 53.35 per cent at the end of 2018.

The company is engaged in two areas of businesses, aviation and logistics, operating in 28 cities in 16 countries, spanning Asia, North America and Europe.

Baker Technology

On Nov 8, Baker Technology executive director Benety Chang acquired 21,000 shares at 47 cents per share.

With a consideration of S$9,870, this increased his total interest in the company from 53.23 per cent to 53.24 per cent.

Chang's previous acquisitions included 301,700 shares at 47.5 cents per share on Aug 23, 115,000 shares at 46 cents per share on Aug 12 and 132,000 shares at 44.9 cents per share on Aug 2. He is the major shareholder of the company and has extensive experience in the offshore oil and gas industry.

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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