THE INSIDER
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Directors’ buying of shares down for a fourth week

Share buybacks on the low side with only 16 companies purchasing HK$23.8m in shares

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 February, 2016, 4:42pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 January, 2017, 10:28am

The buying fell for the fourth straight week while the selling among directors was low for the sixth straight week based on filings on the stock exchange in the third week of February.

A total of 16 companies recorded 69 purchases worth HK$23.8 million versus three firms with three disposals worth HK$235 million. The buy figures were not far off from the previous week’s two-day totals of 13 companies, 37 purchases and HK$25 million.

On the selling side, the number of firms and trades were only slightly up from the previous week’s two companies and four disposals.

The selling value, however, was sharply up from the previous week’s sales worth HK$5.8 million. This was due to disposals by Chairman Yeung Wing Yan in Ginseng wholesaler Hang Fat Ginseng Holdings worth HK$232 million.

Meanwhile, buyback activity plunged with only 16 companies that made 59 trades worth HK$403 million. The number of firms and trades were down from the previous week’s 20 companies and 60 trades. The value, on the other hand, was only slightly up from the previous week’s buybacks worth HK$330 million.

The bulk of the purchases last week were made following the fall in share prices as companies and directors moved in to support their share price. Heavy price support was particularly high in the financial services sector with buybacks in China Smartpay Group and insider buys in Bank of East Asia, AIA Group and Upbest Group.

Integrated financial and payment services provider China Smartpay Group bought back for the first time since listing in August 2009 with 500,000 shares purchased on February 17 at HK$1.48 each. The trade was made on the back of the 27 per cent drop in the share price since December 2015 from HK$2.04. The share is also down since May 2015 from HK$4.57.

Also positive this quarter is Non-Executive Chairman Zhang Hua Qiao with 1.15 million shares purchased from January 7 to 8 at HK$1.74 each. The trades increased his holdings to 32.460 million shares or 2.24 per cent of the issued capital. He previously acquired 560,000 shares in June 2015 at HK$2.59 each and 4.75 million shares in February 2015 at HK$0.99 each. The stock closed at HK$1.63 on Friday.

Chairman & CEO David Li Kwok Po recorded his first trades in blue chip Bank of East Asia Limited since February 2015 with 110,000 shares purchased from February 16 to 17 at HK$22.29 each. The trades increased his holdings to 86.739 million shares or 3.28 per cent of the issued capital. The purchases were made on the back of a 23 per cent drop in the share price since the last week of December 2015 from HK$28.85.

The share is also sharply down from its level in June 2015 of HK$35.10. Li previously acquired 20,000 shares in February 2015 at HK$31.96 each, 150,000 shares in June 2013 at HK$27.49 each and 1.6 million shares from August to October 2012 at an average of HK$28.51 eac

h. Aside from his purchases since 2012, Li acquired 6.75 million shares from May 2004 to October 2011 at HK$17.88 to HK$45.00 each or an average of HK$26.84 each. The stock closed at HK$23.40 on Friday.

CEO Mark Edward Tucker resumed buying shares of insurance and financial services provider AIA Group at lower than his acquisition price from January 2015 to January this year with 300 shares purchased on February 15 at HK$38.00 each.

The trade increased his holdings to 21.394 million shares or 0.18 per cent of the issued capital. The acquisition was made after the stock fell by 12 per cent from HK$42.95 on January 27. He previously acquired 200 shares on January 15 at HK$42.65 each and 2,500 shares from January to December 2015 at HK$53.68 to HK$43.15 each or an average of HK$48.60 each. Prior to his purchases since 2015, Tucker acquired 464,000 shares from October 2010 to December 2014 at HK$22.36 to HK$45.44 each or an average of HK$23.28 each. The stock closed at HK$39.35 on Friday.

CEO Annie Cheng Wai Ling recorded her first trades in financial services provider Upbest Group since November 2008 with 2.8 million shares purchased from February 15 to 17 at HK$1.70 each.

The purchases, which accounted for 82 per cent of the stock’s trading volume, increased her holdings to 990.527 million shares or 73.86 per cent of the issued capital. The acquisitions were made on the back of a 28 per cent drop in the share price since January.

Despite the fall in the share price, the stock is still up from its level in June 2012 of HK$0.51. She previously acquired 77 million shares from August 2006 to November 2008 at HK$2.06 to HK$0.49 each or an average of HK$1.13 each. The stock closed at HK$1.71 on Friday.

Robert Halili is the managing director of Asia Insider