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Geo Energy optimistic about prospects after restructuring

Having restructured its business to focus on mine ownership rather than mining services, Geo Energy is now ready to stretch its sails to catch the new wind in coal prices.
On the cards are plans to expand coal production and acquire even more mines to boost its reserves. The group has come a long way from the days when it was just a step away from being added to Singapore Exchange's watchlist for companies that have been in the red for three years, CEO Tung Kum Hon told The Business Times.
Brought in to turn around the struggling group in December 2015, Mr Tung made a radical decision: dispose the group's mine operation and contracting services business that it had listed with.
With a subsidiary of Jakarta-listed Delta Dunia, PT Bukit Makmuar Mandiri Utama (Buma), providing the group overburden removal and coal haulage services at very competitive rates since mid-2015, the businesses didn't make sense for the group anymore, said Mr Tung.
So out went the division which inc…

Fund managers oppose dual-class shares plan for Singapore

International investors including BlackRock Inc and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan have voiced their concerns about moves to allow dual-class share listings in Singapore, saying that they risk damaging the city's stock market and harming the region.
Dual-class shares will almost certainly prove to be counterproductive for Singapore and "likely trigger a race to the bottom regionally", the Asian Corporate Governance Association, an industry group whose members also include listed companies, as well as insurance and accounting firms, said in a response to Singapore Exchange's (SGX) consultation on the plan.
The fight for global capital has pushed exchanges to seek new ways to attract initial share sales. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd in January said that it would look again at dual-class shares more than a year after its regulator turned down the idea. Such shares comprise a class of stock, often distributed to founding shareholders, that carries more voti…

Imperium Crown gets 3.05b yen offer for two Tokyo properties

Imperium Crown Limited said it has received letters of intent for the remaining two of its properties in Tokyo, Japan, for 3.05 billion yen (S$38.6 million).
These properties are Green Forest Itabashi, comprising a 1,221.67 sq m leasehold land and an 11-storey
retail-cum-apartment building; and Hatchobori Place, a six-storey retail-cum-office building and 579.98 sq m land on which the building sits.
Imperium Crown's Japanese portfolio consists of five properties in Tokyo. The group had earlier received letters of intent for three other properties for S$41.8 million. On April 7, it signed a sale and purchase agreement for one of the three properties for S$19.3 million.
The planned sale of its Japanese property portfolio is aimed at strengthening the group's cash and financial position to embark on its proposed business plans in the coming years.
Imperium Crown has, in recent months, set its sights on Australia and China as potential growth markets and is exploring opportunitie…

Alliance Mineral Assets signs lithium rights JV with Lithco

Australian miner Alliance Mineral Assets has entered into a lithium rights joint-venture (JV) agreement with Lithco, a unit of Australia-listed Tawana Resources, furthering a farm-in agreement that both parties signed in February.
The latest agreement outlines the terms and conditions in which the JV will conduct the exploration and, if warranted, mining operations of lithium rights at the Bald Hill tenements in Western Australia.
It will apply after Lithco has spent the expenditure commitment of A$7.5 million (S$7.9 million) that it promised in the farm-in agreement. But if both parties were to discover material bearing lithium suited for economic exploitation, they will negotiate and execute a separate mining JV agreement.
In addition to the above, Alliance Mineral Assets said that it has engaged Canaccord Genuity (Australia) to provide corporate advisory services, in light of high interest from both capital markets and potential offtake partners to be involved in financing the dev…

KS Energy's Kris Wiluan and son under CAD probe

Pair assisting with CAD investigation into potential false trading and market-rigging
The executive chairman and chief executive of KS Energy and his son, an executive director at the offshore and marine company, are being investigated by Singapore's white-collar crime buster.
KS Energy said in a stock exchange filing last Saturday that Mr Kris Taenar Wiluan and his son Richard James Wiluan had been been interviewed by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) in its investigations into a potential contravention of Section 197 of the Securities and Futures Act, which deals with false trading and market-rigging transactions.
The older Wiluan posted police bail and was released after his interview while his son was released without requiring bail.
"Both have informed the board that they have and will continue to cooperate fully in the investigations, including granting access to all their electronic data, IT equipment and data storage devices from January 2015," said KS Ene…

New SIAS chair aims to grow investor activism, education

Dealing with the ongoing challenge of obtaining funding will also be on top of the list for Magnus Bocker
Growing investor advocacy and board accountability, and dealing with the ongoing challenge of obtaining funding, will be at the top of the agenda for former Singapore Exchange (SGX) chief Magnus Bocker in his new role as honorary chairman of Singapore's investor advocacy group, the Securities Investors Association (Singapore) or SIAS.
Speaking exclusively to The Business Times soon after his appointment, Mr Bocker shared the key objectives and challenges he intends to tackle during his three-year tenure, even while he stressed that his role would mainly support that of SIAS president and CEO David Gerald.
"I hope to see two things develop in the year to come. The first is to see more retail investors engaging in the market, hopefully through SIAS. The second and maybe the more important is to seek effective accountability and asking the right questions of boards and seni…

Reviving that ubiquitous broker-client tie

It used to be that when you called up your broker to ask him for some advice on what stocks to buy, he would happily give you a couple of tips on what was hot in the market.
If you bought into his spin, you would give him an order and that was it. Life was that simple.
But, the rules have been tightened considerably since the demise of Lehman Brothers almost a decade ago when 9,900 investors here suffered a whopping $520 million of losses from the toxic minibonds concocted by the US investment bank which were mis-sold to them as a "low-risk" investment product.
Nowadays, before a financial adviser sells you anything, he is required to ask you probing questions about your personal financial situation and financial objectives. From that information, he tries to ascertain whether the product he is recommending is suitable for you.
Now, if you are a remisier - a self-employed broker who makes a living off the commissions on the trades executed for clients - you are in a Catch-2…

Do fears over algo trading add up?

Whether by stealth or by design, trades by algos - the new breed of investors who trade using superfast computers and complicated mathematical programs - now make up a big portion of the trading activities on the stock market.
Data furnished by the Singapore Exchange shows that on an average trading day in the second half of last year, algos were involved in as much as 34 per cent of the daily stock turnover.
A further breakdown shows roughly two-thirds of these trades performed by algos were with institutional investors, while the rest were with retail investors.
It is also interesting to note that unlike huge markets such as New York, where a big proportion of trades is executed by computers competing against other computers, direct trades between algos are relatively insignificant here - accounting for only about 4 per cent of trading activity.
In particular, some of them offer other investors an opportunity to get in and out of stocks easily with their continual bid and offer pri…

SGX, stockbroking body set out guidelines on TR advice

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) and the Securities Association of Singapore (SAS) on Thursday sent brokers a Guidance Note which outlined the type of investment advice that trading representatives (TRs) are allowed to offer their clients, thus clarifying a grey area that has existed ever since the rules were tightened in the wake of 2008's US subprime crisis.
"TRs are allowed to give ERA (execution-related advice)/recommendations on listed-excluded investment products (EIPs) to clients provided they state the rationale for their ERA ," said SGX and SAS.
"This could be based on technical or fundamental analysis conducted by the TRs, reports issued by other research analysts, or market developments/performance/events," the note added.
On June 29 last year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a consultation paper on proposed changes to the Financial Advisers Act that dealt with exempting ERA for EIPs, these being financial instruments that are seen as b…