ARA Asset Management: Its Group CEO, John Lim, has made a series of purchases between Aug 15 and Aug 22, totaling 2 m shares in his own name.

John Lim. Photo: Company

That brings his direct shareholding to 4.21 million shares. He has a deemed interest in 281.1 million shares, or 36.59%.

His purchases are the first in at least a year, and were made during the market turmoil of August. ARA stock has come off from its 52-week high of $1.76 achieved in late May this year.

Currently sporting a market cap of about S$1 billion, ARA is a real estate fund management company that focuses on the management of public-listed real estate investment trusts, REITs.

An affiliate of the Cheung Kong group, ARA manages REITs, private real estate funds, specialist equity funds and offers corporate finance advisory services.

It reported an 18% increase in net profit to S$29.6 million for the six months ended 30 June 2011. Total assets under management soared 36% to a record S$18.8 billion as at 30 June 2011 from S$13.8 billion a year ago.

ARA was recently named as being one of the six Singapore companies on Forbes' "Best Under a Billion" list of 200 companies which managed to do well in the recent economic turmoil.

The list ranks 200 public companies with annual revenue between US$5 million (S$6 million) and US$1 billion, and had little or no debt on their balance sheets.

Serial System: After announced its 1H result, its chairman and CEO, Derek Goh, went on a buying spree of the company’s shares.

Derek Goh. NextInsight file photo

Prior to that, he has also been a frequent buyer of the stock in the past 12 months or so, and now holds 304.8 million shares, or a 37.1% stake.

Serial shares have bucked the severe market downtrend this year, holding rock steady at 14-15 cents, its trading level for the past 12 months.

The company’s revenue for the first six months of this year rose 7% to $396.3 million while its net profit rose 10% to $7.1 million.

Serial System declared a 0.3 cent a share in interim dividend. Taken together with the 0.67 cent final dividend for FY10, the trailing dividend yield is 6.7% on a recent stock price of 14.5 cents.

Serial is abuzz with a number of happenings.

It has recently sought and obtained all necessary approvals from the Taiwan and Singapore authorities for the listing of 84 million new shares as TDRs on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

It had a road show early this week (6 Sept) and will do another one next week in Taiwan.

And it has embarked on a series of M&A activities in recent months, including a proposed US$6 million acquisition of the business of RSL’s National Semiconductor division.

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Samko Timber: Its CEO, Aris Sunarko, has been actively accumulating the company stock right after it released its 2Q results.

Aris Sunarko. NextInsight file photo

He bought 1 m shares in his own name, while a vehicle in which he has a deemed interest bought 397,000 shares.

The purchases were made at between 11 and 14 cents a share.

In 2Q, Samko enjoyed a doubling in export sales – thanks partly to Japan’s demand for plywood for its reconstruction of tsunami/earthquake hit areas) and the absence of a share of losses of associate, PT Sumalindo Lestari Jaya Tbk.

Thus, compared to a loss of Rp115 billion in 2Q 2010, it achieved a profit of Rp19 billion in 2Q this year.

For 1H 2011, Samko had a net profit of Rp30 billion versus loss of Rp104 billion in 1H 2010.

Recent story: SAMKO TIMBER: Stock is a 3-bagger since Japan earthquake

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