SINGAPORE - THE buying was flat for the second straight week while selling among directors remained low, based on Singapore Exchange filings in the second week of December.
A total of 13 companies recorded 31 purchases worth $21.9 million versus three firms with six disposals worth $523,700. The buy figures were not far off from the previous week's 16 companies, 27 purchases, and $26.08 million.
On the negative side, the number of firms and trades were consistent with the previous week's three companies and four disposals while the value was sharply down from the previous week's sales worth $43.3 million.
Meanwhile, buyback activity by listed firms was high for the second straight week with 14 companies that posted 44 repurchases worth $8.99 million. The number of firms and trades were consistent with the previous week's 14 firms and 40 transactions while the value was sharply up from previous week's turnover of $4.98 million.
There were several significant corporate shareholder trades last week, the bulk of which were repurchases with buybacks in Duty Free International, Saizen Reit, Cheung Woh Technologies, Singapore Press Holdings and Ho Bee Investment.
On the directors' front, there were insider buys in Best World International and Singapore Reinsurance Corp. There were also substantial shareholder purchases in Indofood Agri Resources and Teckwah Industrial Corporation.
Duty Free International Ltd
Duty-free retail shops operator Duty Free International bought back shares for the first time, since the company changed its name from Esmart Holdings Ltd in May 2011, with 326,000 shares purchased from Dec 12 to 14 at 33 cents each. The trades, which accounted for 30 per cent of the stock's trading volume, were made after the stock surged by 22 per cent from 27 cents on Oct 23.
The stock is also sharply up since October 2011, from 17 cents. Despite the rebound in the price, the counter is still down since October 2010 from 60 cents.
Investors should note that independent director Chew Soo Lin purchased 350,000 shares from March 29 to 30 at 22 cents each, which increased his holdings (direct and deemed) by 26 per cent to 1.692 million shares or 0.15 per cent of the issued capital. Those were his first trades since his appointment in August 2011. The counter closed at 35 cents on Friday.
Saizen Real Estate Investment Trust
Japanese Reit Saizen Real Estate Investment Trust picked up where it left off in November with 950,000 units purchased from Dec 12 to 14 at 17 cents each. The trades accounted for 11 per cent of the stock's trading volume. The company previously acquired 4.67 million units from Sept 25 to Nov 16 at an average price of 16.7 cents. Overall, the group has bought back 5.62 million units since September at an average of 16.8 cents each.
The trades since September were made on the back of the rebound in the unit price since May from 13.1 cents. The repurchases since September are the company's first buybacks since the unit trust was listed in November 2007.
The group's buyback prices were sharply lower than the IPO price of $1.00. There were also purchases by directors this year. CEO Chang Sean Pey acquired 270,000 units on June 7 at 14 cents each, which increased his direct holdings by 8 per cent to 3.65 million units or 0.26 per cent.
Executive director Raymond Wong, on the other hand, picked up 332,000 units from June 4 to 6 at 14 cents each, which boosted his deemed stake to 24.909 million units or 1.74 per cent.
Non-executive director Chan Kin purchased 530,000 units on May 25 at 13 cents each, which increased his deemed holdings to 185.041 million units or 13.81 per cent. The unit trust closed at 17.2 cents on Friday.
Cheung Woh Technologies Ltd
High precision engineered products and services provider Cheung Woh Technologies picked up where it left off in September with 2.95 million shares purchased from Dec 12 to 13 at 17 cents each. The group previously acquired 309,000 shares from Sept 20 to 21 at 18 cents each.
The trades since September were made on the back of the drop in the share price since April from 23.5 cents. Aside from the repurchases since September, the Company acquired 1.34 million shares from Jan 11 to 26 at 18 cents each. Prior to the buybacks this year, the group acquired 6.08 million shares from September to December 2011 at an average of 18 cents each. The counter closed at 17.5 cents on Friday.
Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Singapore Press Holdings picked up where it left off in September with 1.1 million shares purchased from Dec 10 to 12 at $4.00 each. The group previously acquired 500,000 shares on Sept 5 at $3.96 each. The repurchases since September were made on the back of the rise in the share price since June from $3.75. Prior to the buybacks this year, the group acquired 6.78 million shares from May 2006 to July 2008 at an average of $4.08 each. The stock closed at $4.03 on Friday.
Ho Bee Investment Ltd
Real estate developer Ho Bee Investment recorded its highest acquisition price since it started its buyback programme in July 2001 with 549,000 shares purchased from Dec 10 to 13 at an average of $1.77 each. The trades accounted for 18 per cent of the stock's trading volume.
The group previously acquired 3.386 million shares from Nov 8 to 23 at an average of $1.51 each, 400,000 shares from Sept 24 to 26 at an average of $1.48 each and 3.1 million shares from July 13 to 30 at an average of $1.22 each.
Prior to the buybacks this year, the company acquired 32.568 million shares from March to December 2011 at $1.45 to $0.98 each or an average of $1.33 each, 1.36 million shares in October 2008 at an average of 48.4 cents each and 22.7 million shares from July 2001 to November 2004 at 14.5 cents to 29.5 cents each or an average of 23.1 cents each. The stock closed at $1.805 on Friday.
Singapore Reinsurance Corp Ltd
Non-executive director Hwang Soo Jin purchased 150,000 shares of general reinsurer Singapore Reinsurance Corp on Dec 13 at 25 cents each. The trade increased his direct holdings by 25 per cent to 758,000 shares or 0.13 per cent of the issued capital. The acquisition was made on the back of the 22 per cent rebound in the share price since June from 20.5 cents.
He previously acquired 108,000 shares on April 25 at 26 cents each. Prior to his purchases this year, Mr Hwang acquired 470,000 shares from April 10 to April 2011 at an average of 29.3 cents each and 405,000 shares from January 2007 to August 2009 at 25 cents to 33 cents each or an average of 31.1 cents each. The counter closed at 25.5 cents on Friday.
Indofood Agri Resources Ltd
PT Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk recorded its first on-market trade in edible oil and fats producer Indofood Agri Resources Ltd since the stock was listed in July 2002 on SGX Sesdaq and February 2007 on SGX Mainboard with an initial 20 million shares (direct interest) purchased on Dec 10 at $1.265 each.
The shares bought represented 1.39 per cent of the issued capital. The group also has deemed interest of 998.200 million shares or 69.59 per cent. The acquisition was made on the back of the 16 per cent drop in the share price since July from $1.51.
Despite the fall in the share price, the counter is still up since June from $1.15. Investors should note that there were buybacks by the company earlier this year with 2.5 million shares purchased from Nov 8 to 20 at an average of $1.22 each. The group previously acquired two million shares from May 17 to 18 at an average of $1.28 each.
Prior to the repurchases this year, the company acquired nine million shares from August to October 2011 at $1.42 to $1.15 each or an average of $1.29 each and nine million shares in November 2008 at an average of 43.1 cents each. The stock closed at $1.31 on Friday.
Teckwah Industrial Corp Ltd
Airjet Auto-Care Pte Ltd acquired more shares of paper products manufacturer and printing firm Teckwah Industrial with 2.21 million shares purchased on Dec 10 at 34 cents each. The trade increased its direct holdings by 7 per cent to 32.800 million shares or 14.04 per cent.
The group previously acquired 2.49 million shares on Oct 2 at an estimated price of 32.5 cents each and 2.4 million shares on Jan 19 at an estimated price of 26.5 cents each.
Prior to the purchases this year, the shareholder acquired 9.97 million shares from January to September 2011 at estimated prices of 35 cents to 26.5 cents each and 3.617 million shares from Jan 11 to Oct 1, 2010 ,at estimated prices of 27 cents to 33 cents each. Airjet Auto-Care became a substantial shareholder on Jan 7, 2010, following the purchase of 586,000 shares at 28 cents each, which raised its interest to 5.19 per cent.
Overall, the shareholder's stake is up by 20.69 million shares or 171 per cent since that initial filing in January 2010. The counter closed at 35 cents on Friday.
Best World International Ltd
Founder, executive co-chairman and president Doreen Tan recorded her first on-market trades in this health and lifestyle products distributor since May 2011 with 150,000 shares (bought Dec 11-12) at an average 17.8 cents each. This increased her direct holdings to 12.302 million shares (6.01 per cent). She also has deemed interest of 75.100 million shares (36.69 per cent). The stock had rebounded by 17 per cent from 15.2 cents on Nov 27.
Despite the rebound in the share price, the counter is still down since February from 20.5 cents. Dr Tan previously acquired 100,000 shares in May 2011 at 21 cents each and 800,000 shares from June to September 2008 at 50 cents to 21 cents each or an average of 28.1 cents each. The counter closed at 18 cents on Friday.
The writer is managing director, Asia Insider Ltd