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Insiders of JB Foods buy amid cocoa price surge; Willimbury raises Grand Banks Yachts stake

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore  • 3 min read
Insiders of JB Foods buy amid cocoa price surge; Willimbury raises Grand Banks Yachts stake
Cocoa prices surged this past year because of a supply shortage caused by unfavourable weather / Photo: Bloomberg
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Insiders of JB Foods have been actively raising their respective stakes in the company, whose business of supplying cocoa ingredients is dealing with a fourfold spike in cocoa prices to US$10,000 ($13,513) per tonne due to a shortage caused by unfavourable weather conditions.

The most recent purchase was by executive director Goh Lee Beng, who acquired 17,700 shares on the open market for 48.5 cents each on April 1. This brings her direct stake to over 6.2 million shares or 2.06% of JB Foods. As she has a deemed interest in another 138 million shares or 45.52%, this gives her a total interest of nearly 144.3 million shares or 47.58% in the company.

Goh was actively buying until last month. On March 7, 11, 18 and 25, she had bought 13,900 shares, 191,500 shares, 200,000 shares and 120,900 shares respectively. For these trades, she paid between 48 cents and 49 cents each.

JB Foods CEO Tey How Keong, who is married to Goh, has been actively buying too. His most recent purchase was done on March 6, acquiring 40,000 shares for 49 cents each. This brings his direct stake to around 5.15 million shares or 1.7% of JB Foods.  In addition, Tey has deemed interest in the same vehicle he controls with Goh, which owns another 138 million shares. This gives him a total interest of nearly 143.2 million shares or 47.22% in JB Foods. Tey was also in the market more actively a few days before March 6, acquiring 577,300 shares at about 49 cents each on Feb 29, 207,000 shares on March 1 and 61,200 shares on March 4.

In addition, JB Foods’ vice-chairman Goi Seng Hui, who is also the second-largest shareholder, has been buying on the open market too. The most recent was on Jan 24 when he acquired 44,300 shares at 50 cents each, bringing his direct stake to 2.05 million. Together with a deemed interest in another 72.9 million shares, this gives him a total interest of just below 75 million shares or 24.73%.

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

JB Foods, with facilities in Malaysia and Indonesia, has a total processing capacity of around 180,000 tonnes per year. Its main products, sold to chocolate and other confectionary makers, are cocoa mass, cocoa powder and cocoa butter.

In the most recent FY2023 ended Dec 31, 2023, JB Foods reported revenue of US$595.8 million, up 16.9% y-o-y, due to higher volume and selling prices. However, earnings plunged 88.6% y-o-y to US$1.9 million. JB Foods attributes the drop to higher costs of sales, mark-to-market losses from hedging activities, higher financing costs plus additional expenditure from the construction of a facility at Ivory Coast.

In its earnings commentary, JB Foods says it expects FY2024 to be challenging due to the shortage in cocoa beans and the unprecedented sharp volatility of cocoa bean prices, which may impact its processing margin.

See also: ST Engineering buys back shares again after 1Q update; Keppel sells Dyna-Mac stake to Hanwha

Smoother sailing
Willimbury, the second-largest shareholder of Grand Banks Yachts, on March 28 increased its stake in the yacht maker via a married deal, acquiring around 1.71 million shares at $529,945 or 31 cents each. This brings Willimbury’s total stake to around 29.3 million shares or 15.79% of the company.

In the most recent 1HFY2024 ended Dec 31, 2023, Grand Banks Yachts, whose largest shareholder is Genting boss Lim Kok Thay, generated revenues of $65 million, up 29.5% y-o-y, after more boats were built. Earnings rose 91.7% y-o-y to $6.9 million due to higher margins from production efficiencies. It has declared an interim dividend of 0.5 cents, its first interim payout since FY2008.

As at Dec 31, Grand Banks Yachts’ NAV per share was 39.77 cents, up 6.2% over 37.44 cents as at June 30, 2023. In 1HFY2024, the company won 11 new orders, giving it a net order book of $137.3 million. To meet the increase in demand, the company is expanding capacity at its Pasir Gudang yard by 25%. 

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