KOH WEE SENG, CEO of Aspial Corp, has been steadily snapping up shares in the property developer and jeweller as well as construction firm TA Corp.
On Dec 4, Koh purchased 500,000 shares of Aspial at 41.5 cents apiece. This raises his direct stake in the company to 14.04%. On Dec 5 and 6, he also bought 1.75 million shares at 35 cents apiece in TA Corp, boosting his direct stake in the company to 9.06%. Koh had begun raising his stake in TA Corp in September, and in a matter of weeks, increased it to 8.69% from 4.95% and becoming a significant shareholder in the process.
TA Corp announced on Dec 4 that it had won a major construction contract to build a residential property on Dairy Farm Road. The contract is worth S$116.7 million, bringing its current order book up to S$486.5 million, which will be recognised progressively over the next 36 months. A joint-venture firm, comprising subsidiaries of fellow listed firms Hock Lian Seng Holdings, King Wan Corp as well as TA Corp, is developing the 400-unit property. Regionally, TA Corp is also expanding into Thailand for the first time in a joint venture with Thai partners to build a mixed-use development near Bangkok.
For 3Q2012 ended September, TA Corp reported earnings of S$7.94 million, down 27.6% y-o-y. Revenue for the period reached S$94.4 million, up 11.6% from a year earlier. On Dec 19, shares of TA Corp closed at an all-time high of 38 cents.
Meanwhile, Koh's brother, Wee Meng, who is non-executive chairman of budget-hotel group Global Premium Hotels, has also been raising his direct shareholding in the company. He swept up 15.5 million shares at 24 to 25 cents apiece on Dec 3 and 18, increasing his direct stake to 2.57%
Elsewhere, Goh Yew Gee, non-executive director of Wee Hur Holdings, also increased his direct stake in the construction company. On Dec 7 and 12, he purchased 2.76 million shares at 30 cents apiece. The move boosts his direct stake in Wee Hur to 2.33%.
On Dec 7, Wee Hur announced that it had won a construction contract worth S$150 million for Parc Centros, a residential property in Punggol Central. The award boosts Wee Hur's current order book to S$540 million. Parc Centros is developed by a joint-venture company comprising Wee Hur's property arm Wee Hur Development, private real-estate developer ZACD and Wee Hur Holdings' own directors. Parc Centros is a 618-unit condominium spread over eight 16-storey blocks located beside the Punggol MRT and bus interchange. The leasehold property was fully sold within three months of its launch in July.
Wee Hur is also busy constructing some of its own projects, such as industrial development Premier @ Kaki Bukit, as well as Urban Residences on Lorong Ah Soo. Its public-sector projects include build-to-order flats Vista Spring @ Yishun and Fernvale Riverbow in Sengkang.
For 9M2012 ended September, Wee Hur's earnings rose 10.9% y-o-y to S$4.1 million on the back of a 32% rise in revenue to S$183 million. On Dec 19, the company's shares closed at 31 cents.
This story first appeared in The Edge Singapore weekly edition of Dec 24-31, 2012.
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