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Stocks to watch: SGX, Venture Corp, Starhill Global Reit, Hong Leong Finance, Union Gas, Nico Steel

THE following companies saw new developments that may affect trading of their shares on Friday:

Singapore Exchange (SGX): SGX reported on Thursday that its third-quarter net profit slipped 0.8 per cent year on year to S$99.7 million, even as the derivatives business continued to power ahead. Operating revenue rose 2.9 per cent to S$228.8 million for the three months ended March 31. SGX and India’s National Stock Exchange have also agreed on a way forward in the dispute involving the latter’s Nifty index futures contract, SGX chief executive officer Loh Boon Chye said at a media and analyst briefing. SGX shares closed at S$7.26 on Thursday, down two Singapore cents.

Venture Corporation: The electronics manufacturing services firm’s first-quarter net profit rose 8.6 per cent to S$90.9 million despite pricing pressures and intense competition in the business environment. For the period ended March 31, revenue rose 8.5 per cent to S$928.8 million, on the back of broad-based growth across the group's portfolio of technology domains, as well as "solid execution" of its customers' programmes, Venture Corporation announced on Thursday.

Starhill Global Reit: The real estate investment trust (Reit) on Thursday posted a 0.9 per cent rise in distribution per unit to 1.1 Singapore cents for the third quarter ended March 31. Gross revenue declined 0.9 per cent from the year-ago period to S$51.3 million, and net property income shrank by 1.8 per cent to S$39.6 million. Income available for distribution fell 1.4 per cent to S$25 million for the quarter. Starhill Global Reit units closed flat at S$0.755 on Thursday.

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Hong Leong Finance: The financial services arm of Hong Leong Group saw a 1.5 per cent increase in net profit to S$26.2 million for its first quarter ended March 31, it said on Thursday after the market closed. Revenue rose 18.4 per cent to S$95.2 million. Hong Leong Finance said its interest income and hiring charges were driven by loan growth and a higher average loan yield. But interest expense rose 42.3 per cent due to a larger deposits base and higher funding cost, which led to a smaller magnitude of increase in the company's bottom line. Earnings per share was 23.54 Singapore cents. The counter closed one cent higher at S$2.80 on Thursday

Union Gas Holdings: Fuel products provider Union Gas Holdings on Thursday evening named Teo Hark Piang as its new chief executive officer, following his appointment as an executive director and director of sales (commercial and industrial) last November. Mr Teo is the son of Teo Kiang Ang, the non-executive chairman and controlling shareholder of the company. Union Gas shares closed 0.5 Singapore cent higher at S$0.26 on Thursday.

Nico Steel: Metals supplier Nico Steel Holdings on Friday posted a full-year net profit of US$243,000 for the year ended Feb 28, slightly over seven times its net profit of US$34,000 a year ago. In a separate regulatory filing on Friday, it also said it will apply to the Singapore bourse for a 12-month extension from the expiry date of Sept 4, 2019 to exit the financial watch list. Nico Steel was placed on the SGX watch list on Sept 5, 2016 under the financial criteria, and again on June 5, 2017 under the minimum trading price (MTP) criteria on June 5, 2017. It has until June 4, 2020 to cure that status, or it could be forced to delist. Nico Steel shares closed flat at 0.5 Singapore cent on Thursday.