May 28, 2014

    STI snaps 3 days of gains amid regional sell-off

    THE Singapore bourse snapped three straight sessions of gains yesterday, in line with a broad sell-off across regional markets.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index shed 8.82 points, or 0.3 per cent, to close at 3,274.06.

    Olam International was among the leading laggards, after a buyout offer from a Temasek Holdings-led group expired.

    Olam shares closed at $2.15, down 3.6 per cent, or eight


    Breedens Investments, a unit of Temasek, and its related parties now own or control 80 per cent of Olam, they said in a statement on Friday after the takeover offer closed.

    On March 14, Breedens had offered $2.23 each for the shares of Olam it did not own, valuing one of the world's top three coffee and rice traders at $5.3 billion.

    The drop in Singapore shares followed similar declines in regional markets, with South Korea's Kospi index losing 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng shedding 0.1 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite Index slipping 0.3 per cent.

    At home, bucking the market downtrend, shares of Noble Group gained 1.5 per cent, or two cents, to close at $1.34, stretching gains into a third straight day.

    Among small caps, shares of oil production company RH Petrogas soared 8.4 per cent, or 7.5 cents, to hit a new high of 96.5 cents, making it one of the most heavily traded stocks yesterday.

    The stock had risen as much as 11 per cent on Tuesday last week, prompting a query on trading activity from the Singapore Exchange.

    In response, the board of RH Petrogas said it understands from the controlling shareholders of the company - Surreyville, Sharptone Investments and RH Capital - that they "have been approached by an investor and have engaged in discussions regarding a potential proposal that may lead to a takeover offer of shares in the company".

    However, it cautioned that no formal offer has been made by the investor as yet.

    Other oil and gas exploration companies - KrisEnergy, Rex International and Linc Energy - were also beneficiaries of spillover buying interest in the sector.

    KrisEnergy shares gained 6 per cent, or 4.5 cents, to close at 79 cents, while Rex shares surged 9.4 per cent, or six cents, to close at 70 cents.

    Linc Energy rose 1.65 per cent, or two cents, to close at $1.23.