Sims of HRNetGroup and former chairman of Marco Polo Marine see increase in stakeholdings

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore7/9/2021 06:30 AM GMT+08  • 3 min read
Sims of HRNetGroup and former chairman of Marco Polo Marine see increase in stakeholdings
Controlling Sim family of HRNetGroup and Marco Polo Marine's former executive chairman see stakes increase in respective firms.
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The Sim family that controls HRNetGroup has seen an increase in its stake in the leading regional recruitment company.

On June 30, Simco acquired 25.8 million shares for 62.5 cents each via a married deal. Simco is the privately-held vehicle of the Sims. Simco’s beneficial owners, via a trust structure, includes chairman Peter Sim, the company founder, his daughter, Adeline who is also executive director and chief legal officer, as well as numerous other relatives across different generations.

The transaction raised their interest in HRNetGroup to 77.699% from 75.122%. The identity of the seller was not disclosed. HRNetGroup shares closed June 30 at 69 cents.

In FY2020 ended December 2020, HRNetGroup reported earnings of $46.9 million, down 9.2% from FY2019’s $51.6 million. Revenue in the same period was up 2.4% to $433 million. Dividend was maintained at 2.5 cents per share.

In its earnings commentary, HRNetGroup notes that in contrast to the contraction in GDP suffered by many countries in 2020, “all the positive economic forecasts for 2021 suggest the possibility of a macro recovery”.

The company adds that its so-called flexible staffing business has been “on a steady upward trend” throughout 2020 while there are signs of a possible recovery in other business segments. As such, it is “cautiously optimistic” of the outlook for this year and “remains vigilant to make necessary adjustments to thrive in the new norm”.

Elsewhere, Lee Wan Tang, the former executive chairman of Marco Polo Marine, on July 1 snapped up nearly 5.6 million shares on the open market at 2.5 cents each.

He now holds a direct stake of just over 23.4 million shares, equivalent to 0.66%, from 0.51% previously.

In addition, he has deemed interest in another 367.3 million shares via an entity called Nautical International Holdings.

This means Lee has a total interest of nearly 390.8 million shares or 11.09%.

Lee’s transaction on July 1 was the first time in a year involving a company insider, as seen from filings with the Singapore Exchange.

Sean, his son and Marco Polo Marine’s CEO, last bought 2.8 million shares at 1.5 cents each on July 6, 2020. Earlier on June 23 and June 24, he had acquired around 2.3 million shares at 1.387 cents each and 2 million shares at 1.4 cents each respectively.

There has been a series of announcements coming out from Marco Polo Marine over the last couple of months. On May 14, the company reported earnings for 1HFY2021 ended March 31 of $6 million, a strong reversal from its losses of $708,000 a year ago. Revenue in the same period was up 14% to $21.1 million.

The revenue growth came largely from its shipbuilding and repair operations, which increased by 34% y-o-y to $11.7 million for 1HFY2021. In contrast, revenue from ship chartering operations fell 5% y-o-y to $9.4 million in the same period as charter rates for its tugboats dipped.

Less than a fortnight after the earnings report, Marco Polo Marine announced that it is lifting its taking part in the rights issue of Indonesian shipping agency company, PT Pelayaran Nasional Bina Buana Raya. Marco Polo Marine says it will mop up the excess rights entitlement which could raise its stake in the Indonesian company.

On June 14, Marco Polo Marine announced plans to expand its ship repairing capacity by a fifth by extending its dry dock from 150m to 240m.

“This is a strategic move by Marco Polo Marine to enhance its bottom line over the longer term, as its ship repair operations have been a growing source of recurring income, with 50%–70% of business coming from repeat customers,” the company notes.

Photo of Adeline Sim of HRNetGroup: Albert Chua/The Edge Singapore

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