PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 September, 2013, 4:28am

Buying by directors gains momentum

Purchases climb to 111 worth HK$107.4 million as sales swell to 49 deals topping HK$103.7 million

Directors bought and sold more shares last week than the week before, with the volume of purchases seeing a particularly sharp increase.

Buying rose for the third consecutive week, with 21 companies recording 111 deals worth HK$107.4 million, compared with the previous week's 87 transactions worth HK$68 million.

Selling rose for the fourth consecutive week, with 13 companies posting 49 disposals worth HK$103.7 million, against the previous week's 12 firms and 40 deals valued at HK$57.8 million.

Buy-back activity was up for the third week, with 14 companies in 59 deals worth HK$107.8 million, compared with 11 firms making 37 trades worth HK$99 million in the previous week.

The heavy activity in the past two weeks pushed the buy-back total for last month to 23 companies, 131 trades and HK$221.6 million.

However, the figures were far below the 30 firms, 197 trades and HK$353.6 million in August last year and 31 companies, 297 trades and HK$1.03 billion in August 2011.

Significant trades last week included buy-backs in Socam Development, insider purchases in Midland and sales in Intime Retail.

Socam bought back shares for the first time since the property developer and construction firm was listed in 1997.

The company bought 700,000 shares on Friday at HK$8.98 each. The acquisition was made on the back of a 21 per cent drop in the share price since April from HK$11.40.

Sentiment was not entirely positive this quarter as non-executive director Philip Wong Kun-to sold 193,000 shares in July at an average of HK$8.97 per share, which reduced his holdings to 12.6 million shares, or 2.55 per cent of the issued capital.

Wong previously bought 120,000 shares in July 2011 at HK$10.19 each and sold 80,000 shares in January 2010 at an average of HK$11.24 each.

The stock closed at HK$8.98 on Friday.

Midland chairman Freddie Wong Kin-yip moved to support the share price of the property broker after it began a tumble from HK$3.29 on August 16.

Wong bought 5.7 million shares on Wednesday and Thursday at an average of HK$2.92 each. The trades raised his holdings by 7 per cent to 91.19 million shares or 12.7 per cent of the issued capital.

The recent price fall is not surprising as the company, along with other property brokers, has been affected by the government's curbs on the property market.

Wong previously bought nearly 14 million shares between March 26 and April 9 at an average of HK$3.38 each, 20.5 million shares from May to June last year at an average of HK$3.79, and 23.4 million shares from October to December 2008 at an average of HK$2.46.

The stock closed at HK$2.94 on Friday.

Department store operator Intime saw chief executive Chen Xiaodong and Wellington Management unload shares. Chen sold 1.69 million shares at an average of HK$9.13 each, which lowered his stake to 14.15 million shares or 0.71 per cent of the company.

The disposals were made at a profit based on the 1.685 million shares that he acquired through options at HK$6.63 each.

The sales were made on the back of the 30 per cent rebound in the share price since June from HK$7.03.

They were not surprising as Chen previously sold, through options-related transactions, 1.3 million shares from April to May at an average of HK$9.16 each and 707,000 shares in January at an average of HK$10.89 each.

Wellington Management, on the other hand, recorded its first sale since it became a substantial shareholder in April. A filing on August 13 revealed the sale of 4.75 million shares at HK$9.03 each, which reduced its holdings to 137.51 million shares or 6.87 per cent.

The group previously reported purchases of 3.44 million shares at HK$8.47 each in July and 3.37 million shares at HK$9.26 each in April. The stock closed at HK$9.08 on Friday.

Robert Halili is managing director of Asia Insider


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