An offer not to be missed
''MANIA'' was how many described the amazing rush for shares in Singapore Telecom this week.
Never before has any flotation in the island republic attracted such retail interest as that of Telecom.
But given the liquidity bubble and the Government's aggressive moves to promote share ownership in line with its privatisation programme, the frenzy should not have come as a surprise.
Whichever way you look at it, the share is a blue chip worth the hours spent filling up the forms and queueing up.
Early this month, the Government relaxed the investment rules for the state pension fund, the Central Provident Fund (CPF).
S.G. Warburg estimates that the liberalisation will more than double the pool of investible funds to S$31 billion (about HK$151.8 billion) from $14 billion.
Of this, some $5 billion is expected to flow into Singapore equities over the next year and a half.
On the surface, the amount looks pretty massive. But a closer look shows that half of active holders have less than $40,000 in their CPF accounts and, given Singaporeans' prudence, are unlikely to use up their entire savings.
What this means is that most Singaporeans cannot afford to go for the blue chips already being traded on the exchange for the simple reason that they are quite expensive and must be bought in minimum tradable lots of 1,000 shares.
In other words, the CPF account holders are retail investors who will focus their resources on stocks considered to be blue chips, with strong fundamentals and, more importantly, relatively cheap.
In this light, the Telecom A shares at $1.90 and B shares at $2 must surely look extremely attractive. Singaporeans with enough CPF funds are guaranteed 600 A shares as long as they apply for them.
Why pass up the chance to buy such shares offered on a platter, especially shares that promise to turn in a good yield for the investor? Avarice? Hardly so.
Just seizing an attractive investment opportunity.