The Insider

Kerry Properties’ executive directors sell down shareholdings

Insider selling among directors of Hong Kong companies surged for the second straight week

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 January, 2018, 1:22pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 January, 2018, 1:41pm

The buying fell for the first time in the past five weeks while the selling among directors surged for the second straight week based on filings on the Hong Kong stock exchange from January 8 to 12. A total of 47 companies recorded 200 purchases worth HK$129 million (US$16.5 million) versus 28 firms with 117 disposals worth HK$328 million. The buy figures were down from the previous week’s four-day total of 48 companies, 207 purchases and HK$173 million. The sales, on the other hand, were sharply up from the previous week’s 16 firms, 64 disposals and HK$131 million.

Meanwhile, the buy-back activity was flat for the second straight week with 19 companies that posted 72 repurchases worth HK$154 million based on filings from January 5 to 11. The number of firms was down from the previous four-day total of 22 companies while the number of trades was consistent with the previous week’s 64 repurchases. The value, however, was sharply up from the previous week’s turnover of HK$98 million. The huge value was mainly due to machines and tools designer and manufacturer ASM Pacific Technology with the Group picking up 874,000 shares worth HK$96 million last week at an average of HK$109.76 each. ASM Pacific is new to the buy-back game, having previously repurchased an initial 3.24 million shares from September to December 2017 at an average of HK$107.39 each. The stock closed at HK$111.00 on Friday.

With the surge in the selling, sellers took the spotlight last week with insider sales in Kerry Properties, Hua Hong Semiconductor and Samsonite International. On the positive side, China XLX Fertiliser recorded its first buy-back in 2018 after the stock surged from its acquisition price in November last year.

Kerry Properties chairman and CEO Wong Siu-kong and executive director Bryan Pallop Gaw sold a combined 1.21 million shares of the property developer from December 28 to January 11 at an average of HK$36.06 each. The sale reduces Wong’s holding 8.486 million shares or 0.59 per cent of the issued capital while Gaw’s holding falls to 9.209 million shares or 0.64 per cent.

The stock closed at HK$36.65 on Friday.

Significant Points

Two executive directors unloaded shares after the stock rebounded by 11 per cent from HK$32.40 on December 7, 2017

The disposals by the two executive directors accounted for 10 per cent of the stock’s trading volume

The disposals by the chairman reduced his holdings by 10 per cent

Hua Hong Semiconductor executive director Wang Yu sold 200,000 shares in the company on January 5 at HK$18.12 each. The trade reduced his holdings to 0.669 million shares or 0.06 per cent of the issued capital. The stock closed at HK$17.38 on Friday.

Significant Points

The sale is the first trade by a director of the company since the stock was listed in October 2014

The sale reduced the director’s holdings by 23 per cent

The sale was made on the back of the 204 per cent rise in the share price since January 2016 from HK$5.96

The director’s sale price was higher than the IPO price of HK$11.25

Samsonite International S.A. non-executive director Tom Korbas sold 400,000 shares of the travel luggage manufacturer and distributor from January 5 to 8 at an average of HK$34.80 each. The trades reduced his holdings to 1.443 million shares or 0.10 per cent of the issued capital. He previously sold 348,000 shares on June 19, 2017 at HK$31.42 each. That sale was made at a profit based on the 348,000 shares that he acquired via exercise of options on that day at HK$19.84 each. Aside from the disposal in June 2017, the director sold 350,000 shares in March 2016 at an average of HK$25.32 each. The stock closed at HK$34.60 on Friday.

Significant Points

The recent sales are the first trades by Korbas since June 2017

The recent sales reduced the director’s holdings by 22 per cent

The recent sales accounted for 5 per cent of the stock’s trading volume

Fertiliser manufacturer China XLX Fertiliser repurchased 115,000 shares on January 5 at HK$3.44 each. The group previously acquired 940,000 shares from November 16 to 27 at an average of HK$2.60 each. The company also acquired 2.63 million shares from August 16 to September 22, 2017 at an average of HK$2.11 each. The repurchases since August 2017 are the company’s first buybacks since listing, by way of introduction, in December 2009. The group started its buy-back programme in August 2017 after the stock fell from HK$5.09 in June 2015. The stock closed at HK$3.73 on Friday.

Significant Points

The recent buybacks were made after the stock rose by as much as 37 per cent from the company’s purchase prices in November 2017

The company announced in August 2017 a 129 per cent gain in first-half profit to 186.59 million yuan (US$28.9 million)

Robert Halili is managing director of Asia Insider