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George Yeo raises stakes in Creative Technology and Wilmar International; SGX buys back shares

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore  • 3 min read
George Yeo raises stakes in Creative Technology and Wilmar International; SGX buys back shares
Yeo joined Creative's board on November 2021 and Wilmar's board in April / Photo: Bloomberg
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Former minister George Yeo bought shares at two listed companies where he serves as their respective independent directors. On June 7, Yeo acquired 200,000 Wilmar International F34 -

shares on the open market for $3.10 each, raising his total holdings to 600,000 shares. Yeo was appointed to the agri-food giant’s board on April 19.

Separately, Yeo also raised his stake in Creative Technology C76 -

. On June 10, he acquired 15,000 shares on the open market at $1.26 each, bringing his total stake to 225,350 shares. Yeo was appointed to Creative Technology’s board back in November 2021.

Yeo’s acquisitions came less than a month after another director did the same. On May 14, executive director Kwang Toh Kay acquired 10,000 shares at $1.24 each. According to the filings, he did not own any Creative Technology shares before the transaction. Kwang was just designated as an executive director on March 1. Kwang, who joined the board last September, was previously a non-executive independent director.

On Feb 7, Creative Technology reported smaller losses of US$4.1 million ($5.52 million) in 1HFY2024 ended December 2023 versus US$10.6 million of losses in 1HFY2023. Revenue in the same period improved from 13% y-o-y to US$31.8 million, led by higher sales of headphones, speakers and other audio products.

The company attributes the reduced losses to lower costs including manpower and R&D. In its earnings commentary, Creative Technology warns that the overall business environment remains challenging. “Despite these adverse macro-economic business conditions, we have developed a business plan that we believe will grow our revenue and margins,” the company says.

Creative Technology adds that its strategy to grow its headphone business is “progressing on track” and will “transform the mass market” with a constant line-up of new products.

See also: Wee family increases stake in UOL

It further adds that it expects to increase revenue from the current level to achieve higher gross profit margins. “The group expects an improvement in operating results and to report a lower operating loss for the period.”

Buybacks by bourse operator
Singapore Exchang S68 -

e Group (SGX) has been buying back its shares on the open market over the past week. On June 11 and 12, it acquired 100,000 shares on each day. On both days, SGX paid an average price ranging from $9.54 to $9.56 each. This brings the total number of shares SGX bought back under its current mandate to more than 1.23 million shares, equivalent to 0.12% of the share base.

See also: DC REIT in focus as funds trade units; Keppel REIT units acquired by DBS in June

SGX’s buybacks took place just days after it reported that market volume in May had picked up again. Its mainstay derivatives business did better as expected by the market. Its SDAV (securities daily average value), which refers to traditional stocks quoted on SGX, enjoyed its highest monthly value in a year, increasing 22% y-o-y.

On the other hand, US asset manager BlackRock recently trimmed its stake in SGX. On May 31, it sold 633,000 shares at $9.56 each. This lowers its stake from 5.01% to 4.95%, or 52.9 million shares. As BlackRock’s stake is now below the 5% mark, there is no further requirement to report if and when it sells more shares.

Interestingly, May 31 is the date when the most recent rebalancing by MSCI of its various indices took effect. Five Singapore counters were dropped from MSCI Singapore, although SGX is not one of them. However, no new Singapore stocks were added, suggesting a reduction in weightage relative to other markets, according to MSCI’s methodology.

The Singapore market has seen a higher-than-usual level of interest in recent weeks. A group of venture capitalists, via their industry association, has put forward a paper to various government agencies urging some action to help make the Singapore market more attractive to listings. 

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