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Property sector takes centre stage as directors top up

Buy-backs in Socam and insider purchases in Great Eagle and Sunac follow slumps in shares

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 September, 2013, 5:03am

Share transactions by directors fell last week, with 180 trades worth HK$184 million reported to the stock exchange, down from the previous week's four-day total of 199 transactions worth HK$226 million.

Buying of their own company shares outweighed selling, with 27 companies reporting 124 purchases worth HK$144 million, against 14 that posted 56 disposals worth HK$40 million.

Buy-back activity also declined, with eight companies reporting 44 deals worth HK$52 million. The number of transactions was unchanged while the number of companies and the value of the deals were down from the previous week's 11 and HK$65 million, respectively.

The property sector saw brisk activity, with buy-backs in Socam Development and insider purchases in Great Eagle and Sunac China.

Buy-backs by construction firm and property developer Socam since it announced its interim results on August 28 have accounted for 44 per cent of the stock's trading volume.

Repurchases totalling six million shares were made from August 30 to September 27 at an average of HK$8.98 per share.

Socam posted a profit of HK$53 million, against a loss of HK$175 million in the same period last year.

The repurchases were 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, however, as there were sales by non-executive directors Frankie Wong and Philip Wong and Penta Investment Advisers.

Frankie Wong sold 150,000 shares from September 18 to 23 at an average of HK$9.04 per share, which cut his holdings to 4.078 million shares or 0.82 per cent of the issued capital.

Philip Wong sold 193,000 shares from July 12 to 30 at an average of HK$8.97 each, which lowered his stake to 12.6 million shares or 2.5 per cent.

Penta Investment made a disposal-related filing on September 23 of 942,000 shares at HK$8.99 each, which reduced its stake to 107.738 million shares or 21.9 per cent.

The group previously reported a disposal-related filing in April last year of 30,000 shares at HK$8.28 each.

The stock closed at HK$9.10 on Friday.

Chairman Lo Ka-shui acquired more shares of property play Great Eagle, with 253,000 shares bought from September 18 to 24 at an average of HK$29.04 each. The trades increased his holdings to 351.378 million shares or 54.97 per cent.

Lo previously acquired 1.9 million shares from August 19 to September 2 at an average of HK$27.09 per share. The purchases since last month were made after a drop in the share price since May from HK$35.75.

Lo previously acquired 914,000 shares from June to October last year at an average of HK$21.63 each, 4.65 million shares from March to September 2011 at an average of HK$21.54 each, and 1 million shares in May 2010 at an average of HK$18.53 each.

The counter closed at HK$27.70 on Friday.

Chairman Sun Hongbin resumed buying shares in property developer Sunac after the stock fell 19 per cent from HK$6.23 on August 13.

Sun bought 9.76 million shares from September 19 to 25 at an average of HK$5.02 per share. The trades, which accounted for 17 per cent of the stock's trading volume, increased his holdings to 1.579 billion shares or 47.58 per cent.

Sun previously acquired 4.73 million shares from July 9 to 15 at HK$4.84 to HK$5.32 per share or an average of HK$5.08 each. The purchases since July are his first on-market trades since the stock was listed in October 2010.

The chairman's acquisition prices were sharply higher than the initial public offering price of HK$3.48. The group announced its first-half results on August 26, with profit 42.66 per cent higher at 752.4 million yuan (HK$953.2 million).

The stock closed at HK$4.96 on Friday.

Robert Halili is managing director of Asia Insider