Buyback activity by company directors cools in run up to Easter holiday weekend

Insider buying seen in Man Wah Holdings, Hysan Development and Country Garden Holdings

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 March, 2016, 4:00pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 January, 2017, 10:28am

The director activity was low in the run-up to the Easter break with 18 companies that recorded 67 transactions worth HK$47 million based on filings on the exchange during the holiday-shortened week of March 21 to 24.

The figures were sharply down from the previous week’s five-day total of 29 firms, 99 trades and HK$359 million. Buyers outweighed sellers with 14 companies that recorded 58 purchases worth HK$27.3 million versus four firms with nine disposals worth HK$19.6 million. While the insider activity was low, the buyback activity surged with 14 companies that posted 57 repurchases worth HK$235.6 million. The number of firms and trades were up from the previous week’s six companies and 31 repurchases. The buyback value, however, was sharply down from the previous week’s turnover of HK$559 million.

There were several notable purchases last week. Leading the pack is Man Wah Holdings with buybacks and purchases by its chairman. Meanwhile, property plays Hysan Development and Country Garden Holdings picked up where they left off in February with the former buying shares following the rebound in its share price while the latter repurchased shares following a price fall. Lastly, there were rare acquisitions in China Lesso Group and Perfect Optronics Limited following the fall in their share prices.

There were buybacks and a purchase by Chairman Wong Man Li in mainland furniture manufacturer Man Wah Holdings with a combined 31.5 million shares purchased from March 16 to 23 at HK$8.05 to HK$9.30 each or an average of HK$8.27 each. The Company bought back 6.54 million shares from March 21 to 23 at HK$9.14 each. Aside from those trades, the Group acquired 19.145 million shares from February 22 to March 9 at HK$9.11 each. Prior to the buybacks this quarter, the company acquired 135.4 million shares from November 2011 to March 2015 at HK$2.78 to HK$14.60 each or an average of HK$5.48 each. Chairman Wong Man Li, on the other hand, purchased 25 million shares on March 16 via an off-market block trade at HK$8.05 each, which boosted his stake to 1.217 billion shares or 62.57 per cent of the issued capital. He previously acquired 7 million shares in May 2015 at HK$8.89 each, 10.5 million shares in July 2012 at HK$1.48 each and 12.7 million shares from June to August 2011 at HK$3.45 each. The stock closed at HK$9.28 on Thursday.

Property play Hysan Development picked up where it left off in February with 299,000 shares purchased from March 22 to 23 at an average of HK$32.33 each. The trades were made on the back of the 14 per cent rebound in the share price since February 12 from HK$28.38. The Group previously acquired 8.9 million shares from January 4 to February 4 at an average of HK$30.62 each. Prior to the repurchases this quarter, the Company acquired 6.75 million shares from August 26 to December 21, 2015 at HK$31.78 each, 24.2 million shares from August to November 2007 at HK$21.11 each and 30.7 million shares from May 1994 to September 2001 at HK$20.51 to HK$6.30 each or an average of HK$12.58 each. The stock closed at HK$31.70 on Thursday.

Property developer Country Garden Holdings picked up where it left off in February with 6.9 million shares purchased from March 23 to 24 at HK$3.02 each. The trades were made after the stock fell by 14 per cent from HK$3.52 on March 14. Despite the fall in the share price, the counter is still up since the last week of February from HK$2.83. The Group previously acquired 189.2 million shares from January 11 to February 12 at HK$2.96 each. The repurchases since January are the Group’s first buybacks since listing in April 2007. Also positive this quarter Vice Chairman Yang Hui Yan with 5.2 million shares purchased on January 11 at HK$3.01 each. The trade boosted her stake to 12.111 billion shares or 53.62 per cent of the issued capital. She previously acquired 6 million shares in March 2014 at HK$3.11 each and 87.5 million shares from June to December 2013 at HK$4.32 each. The stock closed at HK$3.00 on Thursday.

Plastic pipes manufacturer China Lesso Group bought back for the first time since listing in June 2010 with 3 million shares purchased on March 23 at HK$4.27 each. The trade was made after the stock fell by 12 per cent from HK$5.13 on March 18. The counter is also sharply down since May 2015 from HK$7.79. The stock closed at HK$4.19 on Thursday.

CEO Cheng Wai Tak recorded his first trade in display panel and electronic components trader Perfect Optronics Limited since July 2015 with 740,000 shares purchased on March 21 at HK$0.73 each. The trade increased his holdings to 925.647 million shares or 62.39 per cent of the issued capital. The acquisition was made on the back of the 37 per cent drop in the share price since December 2015 from HK$1.15. He previously acquired 270,000 shares in July 2015 at HK$1.49 each and 1.95 million shares from March to April 2015 at HK$1.43 each. The stock closed at HK$1.10 on Thursday.

Robert Halili is the managing director of Asia Insider

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