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Alliance Healthcare chairman Thng raises stake; shareholder Ng at Synagie pares stake to below 5%

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore • 4 min read
Alliance Healthcare chairman Thng raises stake; shareholder Ng at Synagie pares stake to below 5%
Alliance Healthcare was able to make better use of a series of government grants to lower its costs. In 1HFY2019, it was able to reduce its costs by $304,799 versus a reduction of $80,272 a year ago.
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SINGAPORE (Feb 28): Dr Barry Thng Lip Mong, executive chairman of Alliance Healthcare, has raised his stake in the company with purchases from the open market. This is the first time he is doing so since the company went IPO back in May last year.

On Feb 18, he bought 10,000 shares for $2,050, or an average of 20.5 cents each. The following day, he spent $4,955.10 to buy 24,900 shares, or an average of 19.9 cents each. This compared to its IPO price of 20 cents.

With these two purchases, Thng now holds a direct stake of just below 7.43 million shares, which translates into a stake of 3.57%. However, he has a deemed interest in another entity called Alpine Investment Holdings, which controls the company with its stake of 64.19%. This means Thng now holds a total stake of nearly 141 million, or 67.8%.

For the 1HFY2019 ended Dec 31, 2019, the company reported earnings of $1.6 million, up from $0.5 million a year ago. Revenue increased 22.3% y-o-y to $20.8 million. The company enjoyed broad-based revenue growth across its various operating segments. These are the provision of managed healthcare services, a chain of GP clinics, and a drugs distribution arm.

In addition, Alliance Healthcare was able to make better use of a series of government grants to lower its costs. In 1HFY2019, it was able to reduce its costs by $304,799 versus a reduction of $80,272 a year ago. The grants, notes the company in its financial statement, consists of grants to develop the business capabilities of the group such as Wage Credit Scheme payout, Work-Life Grant for flexible work arrangements as well as Grant for Equity Market Singapore (GEMS) to defray the cost of its IPO.

Looking ahead, Alliance Healthcare says it is cautious about the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak given the group’s businesses may be affected by the “potential near-term dampening effects on the general economy”.

Alliance Healthcare recently completed the acquisition of a 55% stake in a digital healthcare platform, Jaga-Me, which it says will give it access to new technologies to make it more competitive.

Substantial shareholder no more

Elsewhere at Synagie Corporation, Chua Hwee Song, CFO of Singapore Press Holdings, has resigned from his appointment as a non-executive and independent director of the e-commerce firm. Chua had joined the board in June 2018 and his resignation, due to other commitments, took effect on Jan 24.

Besides changes to its board of directors, Synagie saw investor Ng Yew Nam pare his stake just more than three months after becoming a substantial shareholder.

On Feb 18, Ng sold just over 7.5 million shares on the open market for about $995,694, which works out to an average price of 12.67 cents per share. With this sale, he is left with just over 8.9 million shares, down from 16.76 million shares previously. In percentage terms, his stake has been cut from 5.5% to 2.92%. As this is below the 5% mark, Ng is no longer considered a substantial shareholder and is not obliged to report further transactions.

Ng emerged as a substantial holder of the company late last year. On Nov 19, he bought nearly 1.25 million shares from the open market for a total of $156,882.60, which translates into an average price of 12.6 cents each. With that purchase, his stake increased from 4.74% to 5.21%, which required a substantial shareholder’s filing.

In the past quarter or so, there had been a flurry of activities at Synagie as it ramped up its operating tempo around the year-end shopping season. Last November, the company announced a rights issue to raise proceeds of some $3.8 million for new businesses and for working capital purposes.

On Jan 2, Synagie announced that the rights issue was oversubscribed. The company’s controlling shareholders, CEO Clement Lee and his sister, executive director Zanetta Lee, took up their full allotment, as did Olive Tai, another executive director.

Under terms of the rights issue, Synagie shareholders were entitled to subscribe to three new rights shares for every 20 shares they hold. Some 39.7 million new shares were issued. The rights shares were priced at 10 cents each – a discount of 28.1% off the last closing price of 13.9 cents before the announcement of the rights issue. Following completion of the rights issue, the company’s share base increased from just below 264.8 million shares to nearly 304.5 million shares.

For the 1HFY2019 ended June 30, 2019, Synagie reported losses of $3.7 million, versus losses of $3.4 million in the year earlier period. Revenue rose 31% y-o-y to $9 million.

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