Soho China buys back own shares, Galaxy Entertainment boss sells

Company directors purchase HK$356 million of shares while selling tops HK$120 million

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 June, 2013, 4:59am


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Directors of Hong Kong companies increased their purchases of their firms' shares last week, according to filings lodged with the stock exchange. Selling by such insiders fell.

Some 35 companies reported 164 purchases worth a combined HK$356 million last week. Nine reported disposals, worth a combined HK$120 million. Buying rose compared with the previous week. Selling fell.

Buy-back activity by companies themselves surged for the second straight week, with 16 companies executing 88 share repurchases worth HK$349 million. Property firms Soho China and Hopewell bought back the most, with purchases of HK$108 million and HK$56 million, respectively.

Directors of property companies were also heavy buyers from June 17 to 21, when the sector's shares continued to fall. Lee Shau-kee acquired 195,000 shares in Henderson Land Development on June 17 at HK$46.56 each, bringing his total purchases since the last week of March to HK$2.48 billion. The stock closed at HK$44.70 on Friday.

Fellow property tycoons Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong of Sun Hung Kai Properties and Peter Woo Kwong-ching of Wheelock also bought shares last week. AIA chief executive Mark Tucker bought shares after the firm's stock dropped 9 per cent. Managing director of Galaxy Entertainment Joseph Chee sold shares, locking in the sharp gains over the past year of the casino operator's stock.

Kwok, the managing director of Sun Hung Kai, bought 2.03 million shares from June 7 to 18 at an average of HK$98.30 per share. The trades increased his stake in the firm to 430.672 million shares, or 16.12 per cent of the issued capital. The purchases came after the stock fell by as much as 26 per cent from its January level of HK$130.50.

Woo, the chairman of Wheelock, acquired shares in the property developer after the stock fell 14 per cent from its May level of HK$47.15. He bought 74,000 shares on June 17 at HK$40.40 each. The trade increased his stake to 1.223 billion shares, or 60.2 per cent of the firm.

Woo acquired 799,000 shares from December 31 to January 4 at an average of HK$39.50 per share. The stock closed at HK$37.75 on Friday.

Tucker bought shares in insurance company AIA after the stock fell 9 per cent from its May 20 level of HK$36.45. He bought 300 shares on June 17 at HK$33.10 each, increasing his holdings to 15.339 million shares, or 0.13 per cent of the firm.

Tucker acquired 1,500 shares from January 15 to May 15 at an average of HK$32.47 per share and 4,300 shares from January to December last year at an average of HK$27.53. He bought 453,000 shares from October 2010 to December 2011 at an average of HK$23.04. The stock closed at HK$32.50 on Friday.

Managing director Chee recorded his first on-market trade in casino operator Galaxy Entertainment since October last year. He sold 120,000 shares from June 14 to 17 at an average of HK$42.16 per share. The trades reduced his holdings to 2.647 million shares, or 0.06 per cent.

The sales came after a 38 per cent rise in the value of the stock from its April level of HK$30.45. In November last year, the shares were valued at HK$27.20. The recent disposals were made at a share price level higher than Chee's previous sales. He sold 800,000 shares in October at an average of HK$25.12 and 1 million shares in January 2011 at HK$11.59. The stock closed at HK$39.35 on Friday.

Robert Halili is the managing director of Asia Insider