SINGAPORE (Apr 9): Restaurateur Alan Goh has been steadily increasing his stake in Katrina Group over the past month, acquiring shares from the open market. In the two most recent transactions, on March 28 and 29, Goh bought a total of 120,000 shares. He paid between 19.62 and 19.78 cents a share. The acquisitions bring his direct stake up to 42.79%. He also has a deemed interest in the company, through shares held by his wife and company co-founder Catherine Tan, of 42.27%, which brings his combined stake to 85.06%.
Goh and Tan started in the food business in the 1990s. In 1998, they opened the first Bali Thai restaurant. The group has since expanded to run 40 restaurants in Singapore and one in China under nine Asian-themed concepts. The company made its IPO debut on the Singapore Exchange’s secondary board, Catalist, in July 2016 by placing out 35.8 million shares at 21 cents a share.
For FY2017, the group posted a 57.7% y-o-y fall in earnings to $1 million. Gross profit was 32% lower at $5.7 million. Total turnover for the year was 2% higher at $58 million, owing to higher online sales and better sales at its Bali Thai, Streats and So Pho outlets. The group’s management attributed the poorer performance to higher costs associated with the setting up of new outlets, as well as the lacklustre F&B industry environment in Singapore. In its Feb 28 statement to the stock exchange accompanying the financial results, the company says it will continue to expand but use technology to optimise productivity and manage its operating expenses.
Shares in Katrina are about 21% lower than a year ago but up 25% from their low in February.
Elsewhere, the executive chairman of BM Mobility, Simon Koo Ah Seang, has scooped up about 3.65 million shares in the company in two separate transactions, on April 2 and 3. Koo paid between 1.1 and 1.2 cents a share, spending about $41,900 to raise his interest in the company to 9.61%, or nearly 45 mil lion shares, from 8.83%.
BM Mobility was formerly known as Ziwo Holdings, a loss-making producer of synthetic rubber products in China. The company changed its name in January after securing shareholder approval to switch to green energy businesses as demand for its synthetic rubber products in China declined. Its business currently comprises selling electric scooters, renting out electric vehicles to four public universities in Malaysia, and installing and operating EV charging stations in China. The company has been on the SGX Watch-list since June last year for failing to meet the minimum trading price. Koo is currently the second-largest shareholder of the company. He was appointed first as non-executive director last July, before being appointed to his current role on Jan 18.
On March 28, BM Mobility announced that it had formed a subsidiary, BMM Solutions, to develop and sell fleet management software aimed at EV rental fleets. These include those operated by BM Mobility subsidiary UNiRIDE Ecotour in Malaysia as well as food delivery firms and couriers.
BMM Solutions is 54% owned by Estar Investments, which is in turn the 65%-owned subsidiary of BM Mobility. The other shareholders of the new software company include Jiao Jun, who founded a company in China that develops car-sharing software and fleet management services.
Shares in BM Mobility are 62% down from a peak of 3.2 cents hit on Jan 11.