Director Trades: Where Malaysia’s 35th richest man is putting his $$$
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Here’s our weekly look at which ASX small cap directors are buying or selling their own stock (week of Nov 12):
The largest deal last week was by the CEO of a Malaysian property group, who owns so much stock his dividends bought him another $5.2 million worth of shares last week.
Kong Choon Song is Malaysia’s 35th richest man, with a net worth of about $510m.
He cofounded United Overseas Australia (ASX:UOS) in 1987, which develops property in Malaysia, and owns 1 billion of the 1.4bn shares issued in the company.
Chasing Mr Song was Panterra Gold (ASX:PGI) chairman and CEO Brian Johnson.
He bought $1.2m as part of a weakly supported capital raising to fund a Cuban gold project, and sold $250,000 at the same time.
Panterra received a first strike against its remuneration report this year, as more than 25 per cent of shareholders voted it down.
It could have also been peevishness over problems the company is facing in the Dominican Republic. Its subsidiary there is suing the state for $US25 million over its alleged failure to provide a suitable dam site for the storage of reprocessed tailings from the Las Lagunas operation.
One of ERM Power (ASX:EPW) chief Jonathan Stretch’s charitable trusts sold down for “portfolio management” purposes, selling almost $1m worth of stock now the share price has crept back up.
The stock sank when the company warned investors in late May that the US business would produce some pretty dismal numbers for 2018.
Dongfang Modern Agri (ASX:DFM) chairman Hongwei Cai and Duxton Water (ASX:D2O) chair Edouard Peter were buying again last week.
This is the ninth time this year that Mr Cai has bought stock in the company. The 31-year-old owns 64 per cent of the company, down from 80 per cent in 2016.
The citrus grower produces and sells all of its fruit in China.
Dongfang shares began a rapid rise at the end of 2017 as the ‘China food’ theme gained traction. It then collapsed and has sat around $1 since June.
Mr Peter has been an equally prolific purchaser, buying 11 times in 2018.
He doesn’t hold a substantial amount of the company, but clearly believes in the water theme.
It’s a sector that has, so far, failed to inspire Australian investors but has produced some standout market performers: recently Purifloh (ASX:PO3) had a US billionaire buy in at almost five times its share price, and Phoslock’s (ASX:PHL) stock quadrupled over 2017.
Notable tiddlers to watch
Almost 19 per cent of property investment platform Domacom’s (ASX:DCL) register is now available for sale, as 21.9m shares owned by the six board members come out of escrow.
Director-owned shares are escrowed, or restricted from being sold, for two years after a company lists. Whether or not they sell is often taken as a sign of negative sentiment in a company, but as directors of small caps can also take their fees in stock it can also just be a sign that they want to be able to spend some of their pay.
Another small trade was by Michael Porter, a director at beleaguered Murray River Organics (ASX:MRG), who bought $17,800 worth of shares on market.
It is just the second on market purchase by a Murray River director this year to date.
The company came out of a lengthy suspension following a litany of problems that have plagued it since early 2017, from massive profit downgrades, investigations into alleged fraudulent activity, to the founders trying — twice — to take back control after being kicked out.
It is undergoing a turnaround strategy and recapitalised ahead of returning to trade, but the low, low price at which it did so torpedoed the stock price by 70 per cent.
Encouragingly, the turnaround plan is bringing in sophisticated backers. Tech investor Thorney Opportunities (ASX:TOP) continues to back the company, taking 32 per cent of the weakly supported capital raising, and small cap investor Cyan Investment Management has taken a small stake, citing the new management team and a “clear and simple” turnaround plan.
Here’s a list of significant ASX small cap director trades (week of Nov 12):