Directors dig deeper into their wallets as the sellers retreat

Henderson chairman Lee Shau-kee makes the biggest outlay, with a HK$319 million top-up

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 July, 2013, 5:41am

Directors have boosted their purchases of shares in their companies, with sales by insiders remaining low for a fourth straight week.

Fifty-three companies recorded 286 purchases worth HK$864 million, against only six firms with 12 disposals worth HK$36 million. The purchases for the second week of this month were up from the previous week, when 46 firms reported 208 purchases worth HK$540 million.

On the selling side, the number of trades and value were down from the previous week's 17 disposals worth $100 million.

Directors of property stocks again led the buying last week with purchases in Henderson Land Development, Country Garden, Sun Hung Kai Properties, Shimao Property and Fantasia worth a combined HK$638 million.

Lee Shau-kee topped the list, with the chairman picking up 6.78 million shares of Henderson worth HK$319 million. Henderson, which has been lagging the property sector of late, closed 3.5 per cent higher at HK$49.05 last week.

Several firms recorded rare or first-time purchases by directors last week. Three stocks that recorded such deals were Chevalier International, Sino Distillery and China Mobile.

Chairman Chow Yei-ching recorded his first trade in construction firm Chevalier since January last year. He bought 1.659 million shares on July 9 at HK$14.05 each. The trade raised his holdings to 171.17 million shares or 60.83 per cent of the issued capital. The purchase came after a 51 per cent rise in the share price since September last year from HK$9.30.

On June 27, Chevalier announced a 53.8 per cent gain in annual profit to HK$1.01 billion.

Chow bought 5.2 million shares in January last year at an average of HK$7.72 each. He has been trading the company's shares for more than two decades, with the counter rising an average 6.4 per cent three months after his purchases. The stock closed at HK$14 on Friday.

Chairman and managing director Jiang Jianjun recorded his first trade in ethanol products manufacturer Sino Distillery since his appointment in May. He bought 5.5 million shares on July 10 at 55 HK cents each. The trade increased his holdings to 108.648 million shares or 9.09 per cent of the issued capital. The stock had fallen 19 per cent since March, when it was trading at 68 HK cents.

In March, the firm reported a year-end loss of HK$277.8 million, more than double the loss of HK$125.55 million in the previous year. The counter closed at 55 HK cents on Friday.

Chairman and managing director Lo Ka-shui of Great Eagle recorded a rare acquisition in China Mobile, buying 200,000 shares on July 10 at HK$81.20 each. The trade increased his holdings by 50 per cent to 600,000 shares. It is Lo's first trade since he became an independent non-executive director in 2001. The share price has fallen 12 per cent since August 2012, from HK$92.55.

The purchase is compelling as Lo has not bought shares of his flagship property company since September 2011, even though the shares have fallen more than 17 per cent since May.

The insider sentiment in China Mobile is not entirely positive as independent non-executive director Frank Wong Kwong-shing sold 150,000 shares from June 28 to July 4 at an average of HK$80.48 each. They were his first trades since he joined the board in August 2002. The blue chip closed at HK$81.55 on Friday.

Robert Halili is the managing director of Asia Insider