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CEO Eric Khua of Vibrant raises shareholdings; acquires significant stake in Matex International

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore • 3 min read
CEO Eric Khua of Vibrant raises shareholdings; acquires significant stake in Matex International
Khua now owns a total stake of 61.792% in the company.
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SINGAPORE (May 8): Eric Khua, CEO of Vibrant Group, has raised his shareholdings in the logistics solutions specialist, through acquisitions on the open market and married deals over the past couple months.

In the latest transaction on April 24, Khua acquired 186,000 shares at 9.5 cents each, bringing his direct stake to nearly 93.7 million shares, or 13.529%. Khua also owns another 335.5 million shares through a holding company called Vibrant Capital. This gives him a total stake of 61.792% in the company.

Earlier, Khua had bought 216,000 shares for 11.8 cents each and 3.6 million shares at 10 cents each on the open market on Feb 20 and March 17 respectively. Khua also bought 12.5 million shares at 27 cents and 2.5 million at 19.7 cents in separate off-market deals on Feb 17 and Feb 19 respectively.

On March 13, Vibrant announced it had acquired the remaining 49% stake that it did not own in LTH Logistics (Singapore) for $13.5 million. In a separate transaction, Vibrant also acquired the remaining 49% stake in Shentoncil for $10.7 million, making itself the sole shareholder.

For the 3QFY2020 ended Jan 31, 2020, Vibrant reported losses of $764,000, reversing from earnings of $3.9 million in the year earlier. Revenue in 3QFY2020 came in at $37.9 million, down 20.8% from a year ago.

As at Jan 31, Vibrant’s NAV stood at 35.09 cents per share, up from 29.61 cents as at Jan 31, 2019. Meanwhile, cash and cash equivalents stood at $60.9 million while net gearing came in at 0.89 times.

Substantial shareholder of Matex
Besides raising his stake in his own company, Khua recently became a substantial shareholder in listed dye manufacturer Matex International. On April 28, Khua, according to SGX filings, bought 40 million shares at an average price of 0.9 cent — or $360,000 in total — from one Tan Geok Bee in an off-market deal. Upon the completion of the transaction, Khua became the second largest shareholder of Matex with a stake of 14.96%.

Seller Tan had first invested in Matex back in 2014 when she took up a placement for the 40 million shares at 6.5 cents each, or $2.6 million in total. The largest shareholder in Matex remains Alex Tan Pang Kee, MD and CEO of Matex, with a stake of 21.82%.

In FY2019 ended Dec 31, 2019, Matex reported revenue dropped 11.63% to $38.3 million from a year ago as production and sales were hampered by the upgrading of production equipment with better environmental control features, as ordered by the Chinese government.

While sales and distribution costs remained largely similar, Matex recorded higher depreciation charges. As a result, FY2019 losses widened by 53.21% to $5.7 million. As at May 4, Matex is trading at 1.9 cents, a fraction of its NAV of 6.52 cents as of Dec 31, 2019. NAV as at Dec 31, 2018, came in at 8.84 cents.

In its earnings announcement, Matex says following the upgrade of its equipment, its yearly production capacity has tripled to 15,000 tonnes from 5,000 tonnes. “While the unfolding global coronavirus pandemic is a concern, the Chinese government has put in utmost effort to improve its economy and factories have resumed operation while the group has resumed its production and started to see higher orders,” says Matex.

“The group will continue to develop better supply chain partnerships, improve its internal cost controls and aim to increase its overall profit margins in its product and service solutions including developing higher valued products that yield better margins,” it adds.

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