SGX Market Updates

Aztech Global Executive Chair Adds to Stake

Publish date: Mon, 22 May 2023, 04:24 PM
Share buybacks by primary listed companies 12 - 18 May 2023

For the trading sessions that spanned May 12 to 18, the Straits Times Index declined 1.5 per cent while the Hang Seng Index gained 1.3 per cent and the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI declined 0.2 per cent.

Institutions were net sellers of Singapore stocks over the five sessions with S$270 million of net outflow. DBS, Genting Singapore, UOB, CapitaLand Investment and Thai Beverage led the net institutional outflow for the five sessions.

Meanwhile, Keppel Corporation, Wilmar International, Singtel, and Mewah International led the institutional inflow over the five sessions.

Share buybacks

There were 18 companies conducting share buybacks over the five trading sessions through to May 18, with a total consideration of S$40.6 million, following the S$22.2 million filed for the preceding five sessions.

Director and substantial shareholder transactions

The five trading sessions saw 130 changes to director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for more than 40 primary-listed stocks.

This included 13 company director acquisitions with five disposals filed, while substantial shareholders filed six acquisitions and four disposals.

United Hampshire US Reit

On May 17, the CEO of United Hampshire US Reit Management, Gerard Yuen Wei Yi, acquired 200,000 units in United Hampshire US Reit (UHReit) at US$0.45 per unit.

This represents a 0.035 per cent interest in Asia’s first US grocery-anchored shopping centre and self-storage real estate investment trust (Reit).

Yuen was appointed CEO of the manager of UHReit with effect from May 1, 2023. This followed his appointment as chief financial officer of the manager prior to the listing of UHReit in March 2020, where Yuen played a pivotal role in the successful listing of the trust.

Yuen has over 20 years of experience in investment banking, finance, and the public sector and prior to joining the manager of UHReit, he was a managing director with Nomura Singapore.

He is now responsible for planning the future strategic development of UHReit, the overall day-to-day management and operations, as well as working closely with the investment, asset management, financial and compliance personnel to meet the strategic, investment and operational objectives of UHReit.

On May 12, the manager of UHReit announced that its gross revenue and net property income for the first quarter of FY23 (ended Mar 31) rose 11.8 per cent and 13.5 per cent from Q1 FY22, to US$18.1 million and US$12.9 million, respectively.

Yuen highlighted the strong operational performance was backed by robust leasing momentum at UHReit’s existing properties as well as continued positive contributions from Upland Square. Completed in July 2022, Upland Square was UHReit’s third and largest acquisition.

Yuen added that the committed occupancy at the Grocery & Necessity Properties had further increased to 97.0 per cent, backed by a diversified, cycle-agnostic tenant base providing day-to-day necessity goods and services.

In December 2022, UHReit completed the refinancing of its term loans that were scheduled to mature in 2023 and 2024. As a result, UHReit has no significant refinancing requirements until November 2026, assuming the loan extension option is fully exercised, with only a US$21.1 million mortgage loan due for refinancing in 2024.

This means that as of Mar 31, 80.2 per cent of the Reit’s total loans are either fixed-rate loans or floating-rate loans that have been hedged using interest rate swaps.

Aztech Global

On May 16, Aztech Global executive chairman and CEO Michael Mun Hong Yew acquired 500,000 shares at S$0.70 per share.

With a consideration of S$350,000, the purchase increased his deemed interest in the technology enabler from 70.24 per cent to 70.30 per cent.

With more than 45 years of experience in the electronics industry, Mun is responsible for steering the group’s strategic growth.

In addition to identifying and implementing business growth strategies, he is also responsible for overseeing the operating functions and growth platforms of the group.

Aztech Global is a key technology enabler focused on providing one-stop design and manufacturing services with key products spanning Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, data-communication products, and niche LED lighting products.

For Q1 FY23 (ended Mar 31) Aztech Global reported revenue of S$161.6 million, a 26.3 per cent improvement from Q1 FY22.

This was mainly driven by a 27.7 per cent increase in sales of IoT devices and data-communication products, with the segment achieving revenue of S$158.0 million in Q1 FY23, contributing 97.8 per cent of the group’s total revenue.

The group’s LED lighting and other electrical products reported a combined revenue of S$3.6 million for the period.

Mun began his career in 1975 with the Singapore office of Rank O’Connors, a British consumer electronics distributor, before the founding of Aztech in 1986.

He has successfully transformed the group from a PC manufacturer to a multi-disciplinary business that designs, manufactures, and sells IoT devices, data-communication, niche LED lighting and other electrical products today.

With the Q1 FY23 results, Mun noted the establishment of the Pasir Gudang facility in Johor, Malaysia will support the group’s growth and production diversification strategy for its customers.

He added that the lead and nimble group, with appropriate cost control measures in place, remains ready to seize meaningful opportunities amid the reported bright prospects of the IoT industry.

Marco Polo Marine

On May 12, Marco Polo Marine Group CEO Sean Lee Yun Feng acquired one million shares of the marine logistic group for a consideration of S$44,000.

At S$0.044 per share, the acquisition took Lee’s total interest in Marco Polo Marine from 4.56 per cent to 4.57 per cent. His preceding acquisition was back on Jan 12, with 2.5 million shares acquired at S$0.04 per share.

Lee is the key co-founder of the group and is responsible for the overall management and day-to-day operations, as well as the formulation of the business directions, strategies, and policies of the group.

He has also spearheaded the shipyard operations since their commencement in December 2005.

Lee also started the Offshore Ship Chartering Operation in 2011, of which, the operation has been remained as the main growth engine.

Lee’s acquisition of one million shares followed Marco Polo Marine reporting its first-half FY23 (ended Mar 31) revenue doubled to S$55.9 million, from S$27.6 million in H1 FY22.

This was attributed to the outstanding performance of both the Ship Chartering and Ship Building & Repair Operations.

With the results, Lee noted that the offshore windfarm sector continues to present vast potential for the group and this positive momentum will continue into the second half of 2023 and beyond, while delivering sustainable growth and value to stakeholders.

Under its chartering operations, the group has diversified its activities beyond the oil and gas industry to include the support of offshore windfarm projects.

The group maintains that the burgeoning offshore wind energy industry in Asia is at a nascent stage where structures are in the process of being installed, which presents tremendous opportunities for the group whose fleet can support the development of these projects.

ARA US Hospitality Trust

On May 15, ARA Trust Management (USH) non-independent, non-executive director Lin Daqi acquired 58,000 stapled securities in ARA US Hospitality Trust (ARA H-Reit) at US$0.345 per stapled security.

Lin maintains a 0.015 per cent direct interest in ARA H-Reit, which is a hospitality stapled group comprising ARA US Hospitality Property Trust and ARA US Hospitality Management Trust.

ARA H-Reit invests in income-producing real estate assets used primarily for hospitality purposes located in the US and maintains a portfolio currently comprising 37 select-service hotels with a total of 4,826 rooms across 19 states in the country.

Lin is currently the investment manager of Haiyi Holdings, and is responsible for the evaluation and execution of the group’s investments across industries and geographies.


On May 16, YKGI executive chairman and executive director Seah Boon Lock acquired 37,100 shares at an average price of S$0.136 per share.

With a consideration of S$5,046, this increased his deemed interest in the Catalist-listed food-and-beverage (F&B) player from 76.91 per cent 76.92 per cent.

This followed his acquisition of 350,000 shares at an average price of S$0.144 per share between May 4 and May 10.

Seah has more than 30 years of relevant experience in the F&B industry and was a founder of the group.

Inside Insights is a weekly column on The Business Times, read the original version.

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