Directors' heavy trading gets new year off to a flying start

In the week that saw the death of astute trader Run Run Shaw, buybacks were up sharply

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 January, 2014, 12:40am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 January, 2014, 12:40am

Directors got off to a strong start in the first full week of the new year with 54 companies that recorded 211 transactions worth HK$814 million based on filings on the exchange from January 6 to 10. The figures were sharply up from the previous week's 4-day totals of 38 firms, 149 trades, and HK$435 million. Aside from directors, the buyback activity was high last week with 19 companies that posted 91 repurchases worth HK$222 million. The figures were sharply up from the previous week's 13 firms, 58 trades, and HK$154 million.

The heavy buying last week was led by directors of property stocks with purchases in SHK Properties, Swire Properties, and Henderson Land.

Managing director Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong recorded his first on-market trades in blue chip property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties since July 2013 with 2.4 million shares purchased from January 3 to 8 at an average of HK$96.62 each. The trades, which accounted for 16 per cent of the stock's trading volume, increased his holdings to 446.018 million shares or 16.49 per cent of the issued capital.

Executive chairman Christopher Dale Pratt and non-executive director Peter Alan Kilgour recorded their first on-market buys in property developer Swire Properties since the stock was listed in January 2012 with a combined 72,000 shares purchased from January 7 to 8 at an average of HK$19.05 each. Pratt acquired 52,000 shares on January 7 at HK$19.04 each, which increased his holdings by 1238 per cent to 56,000 shares. Kilgour, on the other hand, purchased 20,000 shares on January 8 at HK$19.10 each, which boosted his stake by 571 per cent to 24,000 shares.

Chairman Lee Shau-kee picked up where he left off property developer Henderson Land in December 2013 with 982,000 shares purchased from January 2 to 7 at an average of HK$43.78 each. The trades increased his holdings to 1.7719 billion shares or 65.65 per cent of the issued capital. Overall, the chairman has acquired 8.336 million shares worth HK$373.8 million since November 2013 at an average of HK$44.85 each.

Sir Run Run Shaw passed away last week at the age of 106, leaving a huge void in the Hong Kong business market. A media giant and philanthropist, he left behind many treasured stories in his long, successful life.

My favourite memory of Sir Run Run happened at a directors' dealings presentation I made at the Knights of Columbus Club in 1998. Speaking in front of a subdued and somewhat sceptical audience, the mood turned energetic when I started talking about trades Sir Run Run made in Television Broadcasts (TVB). When I mentioned how much Sir Run Run profited, one elderly gentleman blurted out "He never told me about that," and a host of laughs followed.

Sir Run Run Shaw quietly traded TVB shares from 1993 to 1997, acquiring 7.47 million shares at an average of HK$27 each. His trading strategy was simple, buy low and sell high, doing this a total of 101 times up to his last sale in July 1997. Sir Run Run pocketed a cool HK$61 million from that trading strategy, or a gain of 30 per cent based on his average sale price of HK$35 each. Media mogul, philanthropist, and add to that, astute trader.

Robert Halili is managing director of Asia Insider