Stock Talk
by Jeanny Yu
Stock Talk
by Jeanny Yu

Market Wrap: Investors flock to buy Neo-Neon on technology "breakthrough"

Neo-Neon Holdings( 1868.HK), the Hong Kong-based LED (light emitting diode) lighting-maker, nearly doubled its market capitalisation in one day after it said it had achieved a technological breakthrough that could “significantly” reduce production costs.

Neo-Neon chief financial officer Chan Cheung told that the company’s production costs for LED products were expected to fall by as much as two thirds from its current level and predicted that they would become as cheap as conventional energy-saving bulbs. “We are on the way to becoming one of the top three LED lighting producer globally,” Cheung said.

Analysts were cautious about the news.

“High costs have been a bottleneck for the whole LED industry, and if Neo-Neon has really made a breakthrough, it’s no doubt a huge thing to the industry,” Miles Xie, an analyst with BOCOM International with a “sell” recommendation on the stock, told “The firm’s performance last year was really disappointing, so news of this  breakthrough surprised the market.”

Neo-Neon surged by as much as 83.5 per cent to HK$1.78 on Wednesday, making it the biggest gainer of the day. The benchmark Hang Seng Index lost 0.12 per cent to close at 19,788.51.

The stock was also boosted by an announcement that Neo-Neon's board would repurchase as much as 10 per cent of its shares and also by the news Wednesday morning that two of its non-decorative bulb products had won subsidies from the Chinese authorities.

“The subsidy for the LED industry has been talked about for a long time in the market, and it has finally been made official. The firm’s non-decorative LED lighting business was struggling, so subsidies for the bulbs do help its  margin,” BOCOM’s Xie said.

But the technology's effectiveness remains questionable. “It hasn’t been applied in mass production and the company didn't disclose how much it expects to cut costs," Eugene Law, director of China Capital Investment for CASH Financial Services Group Ltd., told

In addition, Evergrande Real Estate ( 3333.HK), lost 3.14 per cent to close at HK$3.09, reflecting investor jitters about its debt levels. Goldman Sachs said in a Tuesday note that the firm had “slower cash collection” due to weak sales and gearing was “unlikely to decline substantially” in the second half.
Flagship carrier Air China ( 0753.HK) lost 2.9 percent to HK$4.7 after reporting a 77 percent slump in first-half net profit. JP Morgan, however, said in a morning note that it remained its top pick of the sector due to West China’s development saying it was the least exposed among mainland carriers to high-speed rail competition.
Another eye-catching stock of the day was Galaxy Entertainment Group ( 0027.HK). The Macau gaming player gained as much as 3.43 per cent to close at HK$22.65, even after it announced at noon that UK private equity firm Permira had decided to sell off another big stake of its holdings.

“When Permira last sold a stake in September (2011), the share price fell a lot. But this time, there was no pressure on its price. Something must be going on there which we don't know about,” CASH Financial’s Law said. The Financial Times cited sources as saying that the Kansas-based mutual fund Waddell & Reed had bought the stock from Permira.