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Frank and Nash raise their stakes in FJ Benjamin; investor Peter Lim pares his

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore • 3 min read
Frank and Nash raise their stakes in FJ Benjamin; investor Peter Lim pares his
FJ Benjamin Holdings’ major shareholders have been doing opposite things. Billionaire private investor Peter Lim has been steadily selling its shares, chairman Frank and CEO Eli Manasseh Benjamin have been scooping up shares.
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SINGAPORE (June 19): FJ Benjamin Holdings’ major shareholders have been doing opposite things. While billionaire private investor Peter Lim Eng Hock has been steadily selling shares of the fashion retailer on the open market, chairman Frank and CEO Eli Manasseh Benjamin have been scooping up shares.

On April 7, Eli Manasseh Benjamin, better known as Nash, acquired 150,000 shares for $2,599.50 on the open market. The following day, he acquired another 50,000 shares for $850. On April 13, he acquired 50,000 shares for $900. The average purchase price of each share works out to be between 1.7 cents and 1.8 cents. Nash owns a total of 31.7 million shares, or 3.49%, which consists of 250,000 shares directly held, and 31.46 million deemed shares.

On May 22, elder brother Frank acquired 250,000 shares for $5,250. On June 2, he acquired another 250,000 shares for $5,000. The average purchase price ranges between 2 cents and 2.1 cents. Frank now owns 125.9 million shares, or 13.84%, up from 13.81% previously.

However, the open market purchases by the Benjamins were contrasted by sales made by Lim. According to a June 1 filing, he sold 6.75 million shares at 2.015 cents each. On June 3, he sold another 3.4 million shares at 2 cents each. On June 8 and 9, he sold 14.4 million shares at 2.086 cents each and nearly 2.68 million shares at 1.9 cents each respec­tively. On June 15, he sold yet another two million shares at 1.5 cents each. In total, Lim sold a total of 29.23 mil­lion shares. He now holds a total of 117.7 million shares, or 12.93%.

FJ Benjamin, which carries more than 20 lifestyle brands in some 200 stores across the region has been undergoing restructuring for years. This includes closing underperforming locations and brands, while bringing in new ones. For the most recent 2QFY2020 ended Dec 31, 2019, FJ Benjamin reported revenue of $34.2 million, down 9% y-o-y. Gross profit improved from 48% to 51%. However, earnings for the same period dropped by a bigger magnitude of 22% y-o-y to $509,000 from $656,000. The company blames poor performance in Indonesia, although losses there had narrowed to $633,000 from $704,000.

On June 8, FJ Benjamin said it has boosted its online store network. Although it carries five brands now, the network is expected to offer at least another seven brands, some of which will be available exclusively online. The five brands sold online by FJ Benjamin are Guess, Casio, Pretty Ballerina and Anti-Social Social Club. The new brands it is planning to bring in are US Polo Association, Rebecca Minkoff, Moby, Lancel, Axel Arigato and Barbara Sturm, as well as a well known European lifestyle cosmetics brand.

Heeton’s Tohs

Just like the Benjamins at FJ Benjamin, the Toh family members at Heeton Holdings have been increasing their stakes recently as well. However, the Tohs did so via a series of off-market deals. On April 28, founder and non-executive chairman Toh Khai Cheng acquired 1 million shares for $210,000, or an average of 21 cents each. He now holds a total stake consisting of both direct and deemed stakes of 51.45%, up from 51.24%

On March 17, deputy chairman and executive director Vince Toh Giap Eng also acquired one million shares for $240,000, or an average of 24 cents each. On June 1, Vince acquired another 500,000 shares for $105,000, or 21 cents each. His direct stake has increased to just over 62.1 million shares, or 12.74%, from 61.6 million shares. Taking into account deemed shares, Vince’s total stake in Heeton is now 198.1 million shares, or 40.62%, from 40.52% previously.

For the FY2019 ended Dec 31, 2019, Heeton reported earnings dropped by 25.2% to $13.2 million from $17.6 million. Revenue in the same period increased by 17.7% to $64.8 million.

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