SINGAPORE (July 9): Members of JB Foods’ top management have been snapping up shares in the cocoa manufacturer since the start of last year.

Vice-chairman Goi Seng Hui was one of them. He had acquired shares in the company on the open market in the last three months.

Goi, better known as Sam Goi, is also the chairman of food manufacturer Tee Yih Jia and executive chairman of GSH Corporation. He is known for taking substantial stakes in other listed companies and JB Foods is one of them.

On March 30, Goi, using privately-owned Tee Yih Jia Food Manufacturing, acquired 29,200 JB Food shares at 38 cents. The following day, he acquired another 56,500 shares at the same price.

Between June 24 and 26, Goi acquired 59,100 shares at 50 cents each. Again on July 1 and 2, Goi acquired 122,500 shares at 54 cents each and another 68,500 shares at 56.523 cents each respectively.

With the latest purchase, Goi now holds some 72.8 million shares in JB Foods, translating to a 24.02% stake.

Another insider was Goh Lee Beng, executive director of JB Foods and wife of founder and CEO Tey How Keong. On May 29, 2019, Goh acquired 400,000 shares for 64 cents per share, or $256,000 in total, in a married deal.

On Nov 27, 2019, Goh again acquired 112,500 and 127,000 shares for $72,000 and $80,100 in married deals respectively.

On the other hand, her husband Tey on Aug 19, 2019, acquired 546,367 shares at 63 cents each. On March 6 and March 16, Tey again acquired 302,000 shares at 60 cents each and 200,000 shares at 46 cents each, respectively via married deals.

Tey and Goh also hold the company’s largest block of 138.03 million shares, or 45.52%, via a private Malaysia-incorporated entity called JB Cocoa Group. Altogether, Goh now holds a direct stake of some 4.4 million shares, or 1.46%, while Tey holds a direct stake of some 2.7 million shares, or 0.89%.

In 4QFY20219 ended December, JB Foods reported a 14.2% y-o-y increase in revenue to US$106.2 million ($148 million) from US$92.9 million. However, earnings increased 55.9% y-o-y to US$7.1 million from US$4.5 million.

In FY2019 ended December, earnings dropped 2.4% y-o-y to US$26.1 million from US$26.8 million. Revenue increased 7.8% to US$352.5 million from US$327.1 million. In FY2019, JB Foods declared total dividends of 2.8 cents per share, down slightly from 3 cents per share declared in FY2018.

In the company’s full-year earnings commentary, JB Foods noted the higher revenue in 4Q was due to higher shipment volume. It had also enjoyed gains from favourable foreign exchange movements although selling and distribution costs, as well as finance costs increased.

“I am pleased to see that our quarterly revenue crossing US$100million threshold for the first time following the expansion in the processing capacity in the first half of 2019 at our Malaysia factory, which signifies another important milestone for our group,” says Tey.

“We will prudently invest to build capacity and capabilities, and increase our productivity and efficiency within our existing production and distribution channels. I am also mindful of the impact of the outbreak of Covid-19 and I will adopt prudent measures in our strategy,” he adds.

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