SGX Market Updates

Wilmar and Raffles Medical Chairmen Continue Buying Spree

Publish date: Mon, 20 May 2024, 11:11 AM

Wilmar and Raffles Medical chairmen continue buying spree

Institutions were net sellers of Singapore stocks over the five trading sessions through to May 16, with S$28.5 million of net institutional outflow, as 25 primary-listed companies conducted buybacks with a total consideration of S$32.5 million.

Leading the net institutional outflow over the five sessions were Seatrium, UMS Holdings, Singapore Airlines, Mapletree Logistics Trust, Wilmar International, DBS, AEM Holdings, Jardine Matheson Holdings, Jardine Cycle & Carriage and City Developments.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, Singapore Technologies Engineering, OCBC, Singtel, Great Eastern, Riverstone, UOB, CapitaLand Investment, Hongkong Land  and Samudera Shipping Line led the net institutional inflow over the five sessions.

In the five trading sessions, almost 90 changes to director interests and substantial shareholdings were filed for nearly 50 primary-listed stocks. Directors or chief executive officers filed 22 acquisitions and three disposals; substantial shareholders filed 10 acquisitions and seven disposals.

Wilmar International

Between May 9 and 16, Wilmar International chairman and CEO Kuok Khoon Hong increased his deemed interest in the global agri-business by 4,041,000 shares. This increased his total interest from 13.85 per cent to 13.91 per cent.

HPRY Holdings, Longhlin Asia, Hong Lee Holdings and Jaygar Holdings each acquired 1,010,250 shares at an average price of S$3.16 per share. Kuok has been gradually increasing his total interest in Wilmar from 12.94 per cent in October 2022.

Raffles Medical Group

Between May 9 and 15, Raffles Medical Group executive chairman Loo Choon Yong acquired 2.6 million shares at an average price of S$1.03 per share. This raised his total interest from 53.95 per cent to 54.09 per cent. Since late February, Dr Loo has been gradually increasing his total stake in the group from 53.02 per cent.

United Hampshire US Reit

On May 15, United Hampshire US Reit Management CEO Gerard Yuen Wei Yi acquired 100,000 units of United Hampshire US Reit (UHReit) at US$0.425 per unit. This increased his direct interest from 0.07 per cent to 0.09 per cent.

As CEO, he collaborates with the board to set UHReit’s strategic direction. His responsibilities encompass the comprehensive management of daily operations and close coordination with teams across investment, asset management, finance, investor relations and compliance to achieve UHReit’s strategic, investment and operational goals.

He has been CEO since May 2023, and was previously the chief financial officer, playing a pivotal role in the listing of UHReit in March 2020.

On May 10, UHReit reported that its first quarter FY24 (ended Mar 31) gross revenue increased 2.3 per cent from Q1 FY23 to US$18.5 million, supported by new leases and rental escalations from existing leases. The Q1 FY24 net property income of US$12.7 million was 1.3 per cent lower than for Q1 FY23, partly attributable to the absence of a contribution from Big Pine Center, which was divested in August 2023.

Yuen noted that the Reit’s strong leasing momentum in 2023 had carried over into 2024, and the Reit manager had executed long-term lease renewals with Home Depot and LA Fitness at three properties. He added that this had increased the weighted average lease expiry to 7.9 years, further enhancing the stability and resilience of the portfolio.

UMS Holdings

On May 13, UMS Holdings executive director Stanley Loh Meng Chong acquired 250,000 shares at an average price of S$1.15 per share. With a consideration of S$288,000, this increased his direct interest from 0.10 per cent to 0.13 per cent.

He has been executive director since June 2010, after having joined the company as financial controller in September 2008. His extensive background includes various controllership roles in the trading and manufacturing sectors prior to his current tenure.

In its Q1 FY24 business update on May 10, UMS Holdings reported that its group revenue decreased by 33 per cent to S$54.0 million from S$80.8 million in Q1 FY23. This decline was primarily attributed to a 37 per cent reduction in semiconductor sales and a 12 per cent decrease in the “others” segment.

The group highlighted that it remained profitable in Q1 FY24, while it continued to grow its gross material margin from 50.2 per cent in Q1 FY23 to 53.2 per cent in Q1 FY24, with the 3 per cent improvement attributed to the change in product mix.

With the business update, UMS Holdings chairman and CEO Andy Luong noted that the group had made the right moves to beef up its production capabilities and strengthen its capital base; hence, it “will be in an excellent position to capture new growth opportunities when the global semiconductor demand rebounds”.

JB Foods

Between May 10 and 14, JB Foods executive director Goh Lee Beng bought 108,000 shares at S$0.50 per share. With a consideration of S$53,491, the acquisition increased her total interest in the provider of premium cocoa ingredient products from 47.62 per cent to 47.66 per cent.

Goh had gradually raised her total interest in JB Foods from 47.37 per cent in mid-December.

Centurion Corporation

On May 10, Centurion Corporation CEO Kong Chee Min acquired 75,000 shares at an average price of S$0.498 per share.

This increased his direct interest from 0.03 per cent to 0.04 per cent.

His preceding acquisition was on Mar 1, with 72,000 shares bought at an average price of S$0.425 per share.

Centurion owns, develops, and manages quality, purpose-built workers’ accommodation (PBWA) assets in Singapore and Malaysia, and student accommodation assets in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Kong, who has led the company since August 2011, is responsible for the overall management of the group’s operations, implementation of business strategies and the long-term growth objectives approved by the board.

On May 9, Centurion released a Q1 FY24 (ended Mar 31) business update, reporting that group revenue increased 30 per cent to S$61.1 million, from S$47.1 million in Q1 FY23.

This was mainly driven by the continued positive rental rate revisions and increased occupancies in both PBWA and purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) portfolio globally.

Kong noted that the group continues to see sustained demand and healthy rental revisions in its student and worker accommodation facilities across the markets where it operates.

He added that the group will continue to enhance its portfolio and explore opportunities for growth in existing and new markets.

In April 2024, the group announced that it had entered into a master-lease agreement, through a joint-venture company where Centurion holds 60 per cent, to lease a building in Hong Kong with the intent to refurbish it into a 66-bed student accommodation facility.

The works are expected to be done and the facility operational by September, staging the group’s entry into the Hong Kong/China PBSA market.

China Sunsine Chemical Holdings

On May 14, China Sunsine Chemical Holdings independent director Koh Choon Kong purchased 50,000 shares at S$0.39 per share.

He maintains a 0.89 per cent deemed interest in the rubber chemicals enterprise.

His preceding acquisition was back in May 2023, with 20,000 shares bought at S$0.415 per share.

In a business update on May 3, China Sunsine Chemical Holdings reported an 8 per cent increase in product sales volume for Q1 2024 over Q1 2023.

This was despite a slight decrease in sales revenue due to a lower average selling price influenced by reduced raw material costs and a flexible pricing strategy.

The company’s gross profit margin improved by one percentage point, and net profit rose to 85 million yuan (S$15.8 million).

Concurrently, vehicle sales in China’s automotive industry grew 10.6 per cent, with new-energy vehicles accounting for 31.1 per cent of total sales, indicating a significant shift towards sustainable transportation.

Koh’s long-standing role within the company has evolved from that of non-executive director to independent director since 2009.

He has more than 20 years of experience in audit, accounting, corporate finance and business, and now on the management team of the largest independent power producer in Bangladesh, Summit Power International.

Koh also served as group chief financial officer in several SGX-listed corporations, and has worked in organisations ranging from Citicorp Investment Bank (Singapore) and EtonHouse International to ICH Capital and Price Waterhouse.

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

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