SGX Market Updates

Earnings Focus Reduces Buybacks & Director Acquisition Filings

Publish date: Mon, 26 Feb 2024, 11:24 AM
Earnings Focus Reduces Buybacks & Director Acquisition Filings

INSTITUTIONS were net sellers of Singapore stocks over the five trading sessions through to Feb 22, with S$141 million of net institutional outflow, as 10 primary-listed companies conducted buybacks with a total consideration of S$3.1 million.

The Hour Glass led the buyback consideration tally, buying back 795,000 shares at an average price of S$1.55 per share over two sessions.

The company has now bought back 1.12 per cent of its issued shares excluding treasury shares under its current mandate.

Digital Core Reit Management also bought back 750,000 units of Digital Core Reit at an average price of US$0.59 per unit on Feb 22.

This took the total amount of units acquired on the current mandate to 7,485,700, representing 0.67 per cent of the total issued units as at the date of the buyback mandate.

Leading the net institutional outflow over the five sessions were Singapore Airlines, UOB, Sembcorp Industries, CapitaLand Investment, Sats, Mapletree Logistics Trust, Frasers Logistics & Commercial Trust, Singtel, Jardine Cycle & Carriage and Genting Singapore.

Meanwhile, OCBC, Seatrium, CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust, DBS, Singapore Technologies Engineering, Singapore Exchange, UOL, Thai Beverage, UMS and Frencken led the net institutional inflow over the five sessions.

This was on the back of the local technology sector booking the highest net institutional inflow, at S$28 million, since the strong NODX report was released prior to the Feb 16 open.

The five trading sessions saw more than 50 changes to director interests and substantial shareholdings filed for close to 30 primary-listed stocks.

Directors or CEOs filed eight acquisitions and one disposal while substantial shareholders filed three acquisitions and two disposals.

Wing Tai Holdings

Wing Tai Holdings chairman and managing director Cheng Wai Keung has continued to build his deemed interest in the company, through his spouse Helen Chow acquiring shares.

Between Feb 16 and 22, Cheng increased his deemed interest in the leading real estate developer and lifestyle retailer by 296,900 shares.

Cheng now maintains a 61.44 per cent total interest in the company. This has increased from 60.92 per cent, prior to Chow’s recent sequence of acquisitions that began in September 2023.

Wing Tai Holdings has four main business segments – development properties, investment properties, retail and other operations comprising mainly investing, central management and administrative activities.

For its H1FY2024 (ended Dec 31), Wing Tai Holdings recorded a total revenue of S$97.7 million as compared to the S$260.8 million of revenue in H1FY2023. This decrease was mainly due to the lower contribution from development properties.

Revenue for the current period was largely attributable to the progressive sales recognised from The M at Middle Road in Singapore and the sale of residential units in Jesselton Hills in Malaysia.

The group added that its net asset value per share, as at Dec 31, 2023, was S$4.05 compared to S$4.13, as at June 30, 2023. Its net gearing ratio, as at Dec 31, 2023, was 0.03 times compared to 0.08 times as at June 30, 2023.

Netlink NBN Trust

On Feb 16, NetLink NBN Management executive director and CEO, Tong Yew Heng, acquired 100,000 units of NetLink NBN Trust at S$0.845 per unit. This increased his direct interest in the business trust from 750,000 units to 850,000 units.

His preceding acquisition was in December 2023 at S$0.835 per unit, and prior to that at S$0.97 per unit, back in October 2020. The price-to-book ratio of NetLink NBN Trust was around the 1.3 times level at the time of all three acquisitions.

Tong has been the CEO of the trustee-manager since January 2016 and is responsible for the overall leadership and performance of the trust. Prior to joining NetLink Trust as CEO in 2016, he was the executive vice-president, corporate & market development, for Singapore Technologies Electronics. Before that, Tong was the CEO of CitySpring Infrastructure Trust, now known as Keppel Infrastructure Trust.

With a market capitalisation of S$3.3 billion, NetLink NBN Trust has ranked among the 50 most traded Singapore stocks this year and just outside the 50 Singapore stocks that booked the highest net institutional inflow this year.

The business trust also presently maintains a 6.2 per cent dividend yield at a unit price of S$0.844, while the Refinitiv consensus estimate target price is S$0.978 as at Feb 21. Refinitiv consensus estimates represent the average of individual estimates provided by analysts covering the stock and estimates typically represent an analyst’s opinion of the company performance over the next 18 months.

On Feb 6, the trustee-manager provided a business update for its 9MFY24 (ended Dec 31), highlighting that its revenue increased by 3.2 per cent, compared to its 9MFY23. This was mainly attributed to higher connection revenue across all segments and higher installation-related revenue.

The business trust maintains a multipronged strategic focus. This first includes improving network reach, densification, and capability in support of NetLink’s fibre-to-anywhere (FTTX). In line with the FTTX strategy, the trustee-manager noted last year that NetLink NBN Trust’s next phase of growth also requires it to efficiently support the deployment of IoT and other devices fitted on street furniture such as traffic lights, lamp posts and bus stops.

The second port of call in the strategic focus involves the improving competitiveness of NetLink’s fibre in the enterprise and government segments.

Other areas of focus include providing expertise and infrastructure to support the upgrade of the Nationwide Broadband Network, and exploring opportunities to invest in telecoms infrastructure businesses overseas that are likely to generate a stable cashflow and create brand affinity with end-users.

Tai Sin Electric

Between Feb 19 and 20, Tai Sin Electric chairman, non-executive and non-independent director, Bobby Lim Chye Huat, acquired 50,100 shares at an average price of S$0.40 per share. With a consideration of S$19,790 this increased Lim’s interest in Tai Sin Electric from 6.66 per cent to 6.67 per cent.

For its H1FY24 (ended Dec 31) the group reported revenue of S$195.745 million, a decline of 14.8 per cent from its H1FY23. The decline in revenue was across all the segments except for the testing and inspection segment.

The group noted that while the business environment is expected to remain challenging, the growth prospects of the local manufacturing and trade-related sectors are expected to improve in tandem with the turnaround in global electronics demand.

Casa Holdings

On Feb 19, Casa Holdings chairman and independent non-executive director Lai Hock Meng acquired 186,400 shares at an average price of S$0.075 per share. This increased his direct interest in the distributor of electrical and electronic home appliances, property holdings and property development from 0.43 per cent to 0.52 per cent.

Lai started his career as an officer with the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He has more than 40 years of experience in regulatory agency, treasury management, education, investment banking, asset management, corporate governance, and real estate investment trust.

He has also held various senior management positions in banking institutions and has been an independent director of listed companies in UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.

Back in January, Casa Holdings also expressed confidence for the electrical appliances segment of the business as the market was primarily driven by the need for household items to be replaced every six to eight years.

The group added that with almost one million households in Singapore and the strong industry experience of the company, which has been in the market for 14 years, it believes its team of managers, specialising in different brands, is well-equipped to navigate and perform in the market.

Lai also noted back in January that while the market the group operates in continues to be confronted with intense competition, cost pressures, high interest rates and volatile currency exchange rate, it remains focused on streamlining operations, enhancing brand awareness, improving customer service, and building new revenue streams to improve profitability.

He added that the Malaysia real estate industry has seen encouraging signs of recovery and that the group is exploring possibilities and opportunities to develop properties on existing land it owns in Malaysia.


Between Feb 20 and 21, Accrelist executive chairman and managing director Terence Tea Yeok Kian acquired 144,900 shares at an average price of S$0.04 per share. With a consideration of S$6,396 this increased his total interest in the Catalist-listed company from 25.26 per cent to 25.30 per cent. 

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

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