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Cortina's Lim family raises stake via married deal; substantial shareholder of Union Steel buys more

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore • 3 min read
Cortina's Lim family raises stake via married deal; substantial shareholder of Union Steel buys more
Cortina Holdings runs a network of boutiques across the region selling luxury timepieces / Photo: Albert Chua
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The Lim family which owns luxury watch retailer Cortina C41 -

Holdings saw an increase in its stake in the company. Lim Keen Ban Holdings, the investment vehicle used by the family to own Cortina shares, bought 1.6 million units in a married deal at $3.80 each. This brings its direct stake to nearly 54.3 million shares, equivalent to 32.768%, up from 31.802% previously.

The entity is owned by the Lim family including executive chairman Anthony Lim Keen Ban, who founded the company more than half a century ago, and his sons Raymond and Jeremy, group CEO and group COO of the company respectively.

Cortina is riding on a boom in demand for luxury timepieces. In FY2023 ended March 31, the company reported revenue of $826.6 million, up 15% over FY2022. Earnings in the same period came in at just over $69 million, up 4% y-o-y from $66.7 million, thanks to a sustained increase in demand for luxury timepieces.

As at March 31, the company’s net asset value was $2.197 per share, up from $1.90 per share as at March 31, 2022.

To reward shareholders with yet another strongly profitable year, the company paid a final dividend of 2 cents, plus a special dividend of 14 cents.

“Underpinned by our robust business fundamentals, we remain committed to augmenting our competitiveness and will continue striving to achieve new heights in the years ahead,” notes the company in its annual report.

See also: UMS insiders, AEM independent director raise respective stakes; DBS CEO gains $13.8 mil in sale

Besides organic growth, Cortina has been making acquisitions too. Most notably, it bought Sincere Watches which operates under a distinct branding. “With Cortina’s support, Sincere Watch made headway in its brand strategy of engaging directly with boutique brands. This resulted in a notable enlargement of the portfolio, with several independent watchmakers entrusting their collections to us,” says Cortina.

“Moving forward, Cortina Watch and Sincere Watch will continue to co-exist as distinct entities, with the former emphasising international luxury brands, while the latter focuses mainly on boutique brands. Collectively, our broad selection of complementary offerings opens up new markets for the group, while bolstering our position in the luxury watch retail landscape,” the company adds.

See also: DBS CEO sells more shares, pockets proceeds of $13.8 million thus far this month

Cortina cautions that for the current year, growth might soften, no thanks to inflation and the effect of the war between Ukraine and Russia. “Nevertheless, our robust balance sheet, strong cash position and healthy operational cash flow stand us in good stead to safeguard against external events,” the company maintains.

Union Steel sees insider

buying activity Privately-held Lian Bee Metal, which emerged as a substantial shareholder of listed Union Steel Holdings , continued to increase its stake. Lian Bee emerged as a substantial shareholder on Sept 4 when it acquired 43,000 shares at 89.5 cents each before buying more shares in the subsequent days.

The most recent buying was made on Oct 11 when Lian Bee acquired 10,000 shares on the open market at 98 cents each. This brings its total stake to 2.04 million shares, equivalent to 5.19%. Just a day earlier, Lian Bee had acquired 30,000 shares at just over 98 cents each.

Both Lian Bee and Union Steel are in the business of supplying steel. In FY2023 ended June 30, Union Steel recorded earnings of $11 million, up 55.5% y-o-y. Revenue in the same period increased by 33.9% y-o-y to $107.3 million as it enjoyed greater demand for scaffolding as construction activity picked up. A final dividend of 5 cents was declared, versus just 1 cent for FY2022.

Separately, Ang Yew Chye, an executive director of Union Steel, recently increased his stake in the company too, with the most recent acquisition on Sept 12 of 45,000 shares at 95 cents each. Ang now holds 4.35 million shares or 11.04% of the company.

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