Insider Moves: Felda Investment Corp, Perisai Petroleum Teknologi, Bumi Armada, NCB Holdings, MMC Corp, MISC and Versatile Creative

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NOTABLE filings

Notable filings of shareholding changes among companies on Bursa Malaysia between Nov 24 and 28 included the emergence of Felda Investment Corp Bhd (FIC) as a substantial shareholder of Barakah Offshore Petroleum Bhd.

A Nov 24 filing showed that FIC acquired a 9.73% stake, or some 73.5 million shares, in the offshore services provider via an off-market deal.

The transaction marks the Felda group’s first foray into the oil and gas industry. The recent slump in the share prices of oil and gas companies such as Barakah may have triggered the acquisition due to the stock’s now-cheaper valuations.

Barakah made its debut last year following a reverse takeover of financially distressed Vastalux Energy Bhd. After peaking at RM1.87 in September last year, its stock subsequently declined and closed at RM1.04 on Dec 3.

Meanwhile, Perisai Petroleum Teknologi Bhd, another offshore services firm, saw two government-linked funds upping their stakes,  filings between Nov 24 and 27 show.
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) bought 4.51 million shares on the open market, while Lembaga Tabung Haji bought 3.65 million shares. This brings their stakes in Perisai to 6.7% and 6.6%, respectively.

It is worth noting that the two funds are experiencing a large decline in their investment in Perisai. As at its Dec 3 close of 50.5 sen, the stock has shed 67% to date.

Perisai reported disappointing earnings for its third quarter ended Sept 30 (3QFY14), which analysts attribute to the underutilisation of its two marine assets.
Over at REDtone International Bhd, a Nov 26 filing showed Warisan Jutamas Sdn Bhd disposing of 11.6 million shares via two transactions on Nov 19 and 21. The firm is controlled by two individuals — Abdul Karim Abdul Kadir and Mohamed Shah Kadir — who are not part of Redtone’s board of directors.

The two emerged as substantial shareholders back in 2007, after acquiring a 10% stake. However, this latest round of disposal brings their shareholdings down to 5.06%.

Another notable filing was seen at Bumi Armada Bhd, where the EPF  trimmed its stake to 8.51% as at Dec 2. Filings between Nov 24 and 27 showed the fund disposing of 4.07 million shares as Bumi Armada’s stock slid to record lows.

A separate Nov 24 filing said that group CEO Hassan Basma also pared down his stake after selling 1.5 million shares on Nov 21 and 24.
Bumi Armada shares recently fell to an all-time low of 98 sen on Dec 1. The stock closed at RM1.02 last Wednesday.

Notable movements

MMC Ventures Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MMC Corp Bhd that is controlled by tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, emerged as a substantial shareholder in port operator NCB Holdings Bhd, following the acquisition of 74 million shares in an off-market deal on Nov 27.

The seller, MISC Bhd, ceased to be a substantial shareholder, after disposing of its entire stake in NCB. It is worth noting that the transaction was done at RM3 per share, or a steep premium to NCB’s Dec 3 close of RM2.35. The stock rallied following the announcement, but has subsequently erased its gains.

In a separate announcement, MISC said its stake disposal was in line with its initiatives to divest or exit non-core and non-energy related businesses and investments.

Another notable movement was seen at Versatile Creative Bhd, where Datuk Lee Kwee Hiang acquired 23.2 million shares via a direct business transaction, according to a Nov 24 filing. The deal brings his total shareholding to 27.63 million shares, or a 24.97% stake.

The group risks being suspended from trading should it fail to rectify its public shareholding spread, which stood at 9.82% as at Nov 27. This contravenes Bursa Malaysia’s minimum listing requirement of  at least a 25% public spread.

With the prospect of major shareholders shedding their stakes to comply with the spread requirement, Versatile’s thinly-traded stock has seen erratic trading of late, having gained 38% to its last traded price of 94.5 sen as at Dec 3.

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on December 8-14, 2014.