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This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on September 21, 2020 - September 27, 2020

ASTUTE market observers would have noticed on the local bourse a group of individuals, supposedly acting in concert, who have amassed shares in more than 20 publicly traded companies. These companies — linked via shareholding and directorships — are often on the most actively traded list, with huge, fluctuating share prices.

“It (the companies) is all linked to the same person; usually, the most actively traded list on a daily basis involves these counters,” one source says when asked which are the companies that are linked.

However, research by The Edge (see chart on the 21 companies) indicates that while other businessmen have surfaced, the individual said to be in control of the group of companies is not officially onboard or present as a shareholder.

“This [his not surfacing] could be due to several issues,” another source adds.

It is also telling that nine of the 21 companies mentioned — AT Systemization Bhd, MLabs Systems Bhd, Focus Dynamics Group Bhd, mTouche Technology Bhd, Fintec Global Bhd, XOX Bhd, M3Technologies (Asia) Bhd and NetX Holdings Bhd — have their principal place of business, head office, business office or corporate office in Menara Lien Hoe, near Tropicana Golf Country Resort in Petaling Jaya. On its website, Lambo Group Bhd states that its address is at Menara Lien Hoe, even though the address in its annual report is in Old Klang Road in Kuala Lumpur.

In 2006, Lien Hoe Corp Bhd sold Lien Hoe Tower Sdn Bhd, which owns Menara Lien Hoe, to privately held E-Globalfocus Sdn Bhd for RM1 and the assumption of RM43 million in debts.

Meanwhile, E-Globalfocus was 68%-controlled by Cubes Innovative Sdn Bhd, a company 99%-controlled by Chuah Hock Soon. Chuah and businessman Datuk Kenneth Vun @ Vun Yun Lun were charged with four others in July 2014 for allegedly manipulating DVM Technology Bhd shares in March 2006.

Vun has had several issues with the Securities Commission Malaysia and, in 2009, had to restitute RM2.496 million — being the amount of company funds that he had caused to be misused for his personal benefit, according to the regulator — to his then flagship FTEC Resources Bhd.

Since FTEC — which morphed into Tecasia Bhd and later Mangotone Bhd — was delisted, Vun has had little direct presence in the market. However, Vun’s two sisters, Carol Vun On Nei and Grace Vun Siaw Nei, hold stakes of 3.64% and 0.67% respectively in Xidelang Holdings Ltd.

Fragmented shareholding

While Fintec Global seems to be a prominent company at the centre of the maze, its shareholding is fragmented, with several blocks of shares parked under Sanston Financial Group Ltd. In several of the 21 companies on the list, Sanston Financial is present in the shareholding list.

Other companies that surface as shareholders in these list of companies include Global Prime Partners Ltd and Cita Realiti Sdn Bhd, a private company wholly-owned by one Kamarudin Khalil.

Other shareholders, albeit usually holding small stakes, among the 21 companies include Datuk Jacky Pang Chow Huat — who, apart from a 11.84% stake in Sanichi Technology Bhd — has small stakes in DGB Asia Bhd, Focus Dynamics, MNC Wireless Bhd and Xidelang. Pang is also a director in Sanichi Technology.

Meanwhile, businessman Mak Siew Wei has 23.4% in AT Systemization, 17.07% in Green Ocean Corp Bhd and small stakes in Focus Dynamics and Xidelang. He is also a director at AT Systemization, Green Ocean and Saudee Group Bhd.

Datuk Eddie Chai Woon Chet recently acquired a 62.37% stake in restaurant operator Oversea Enterprise Bhd, and has a 6.71% shareholding in Anzo Holdings Bhd, where he is managing director and has a board position in M3Technologies (Asia). Another name frequently seen is Datuk Kua Khai Shyuan, who, besides a 5.9% stake in mTouche Technology, has small shareholdings in Focus Dynamics, PDZ Holdings Bhd and Sanichi Technology, and has board seats on Trive Property Bhd, DGB Asia and MNC Wireless.

Former Umno treasurer and former Bank Simpanan Nasional Bhd chairman Datuk Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi surfaces as a director in four of the companies — Fintec Global, DGB Asia, Anzo and XOX.

Most of the companies are loss-making and small in terms of market capitalisation, with the exception of Focus Dynamics, which has a market value exceeding RM5 billion. Nevertheless, Focus Dynamics, which is involved in operating food and beverage outlets, seems to be the star performer, with its stock price hitting a multiple-year high of RM2.64 recently on Sept 17, despite mustering a meagre RM3.08 million in net profit from RM20.72 million in revenue for its six months ended June this year.

Year to date, Focus Dynamics stock has gained about 400%.

Irrational exuberance

Trading volume on most of the 21 companies is generally high, and many have shown unexplainable strong gains over the past few months.

For instance, Saudee’s stock hit a low of eight sen on March 17, and picked up momentum in June to hit a 52-week high of 67 sen on Aug 13, gaining more than 300%.

For its nine months ended April this year, Saudee, whose mainstay is in frozen food and poultry, suffered a net loss of RM27.78 million from RM57.61 million in revenue.

Last Friday, Saudee closed at 48 sen, translating into a market capitalisation of RM77.3 million.

If you are impressed with Saudee’s gains, Anzo — a loss-making company that has a business in timber products — gained more than 1,000% from mid-May to hit a high of 26 sen in July.

Anzo closed at 11.5 sen last Friday, giving it a market capitalization of RM102.7 million.

There are several companies on the list that have shown similar patterns.

XOX, which is involved in cellular telecommunication services, gained more than 430% from mid-July to hit a high of 39.5 sen at end-August. In mid-March this year, XOX was trading at one sen. The stock closed last Friday at 19.5 sen, translating into a market value of RM562.8 million.

Ailing shipping company PDZ’s stock was trading at one sen in mid-March, but at end-June, it gained more than 500% to 32.5 sen in mid-July. For a company mired in law suits and a significant dearth of shipping assets, PDZ’s meteoric rise is surprising to many. PDZ ended last Friday at 10 sen, giving it a value of RM89.4 million.

Similarly, Sanichi Technology, which is in precision moulding, saw a sudden surge in trading volume at end-May, with its stock spiking more than 150% to hit a high of 12.5 sen on June 2, after which it tapered off.

While the peaks may be enticing to punters, the change in fortune, with counters falling to their troughs, can be a deterrent. mTouche Technology, which has a wireless network and mobile messaging business, saw its stock crash from a high of 20.5 sen on Feb 20 this year to a low of 5.5 sen on May 12.

DGB Asia, a tracking solutions company, was trading at 19.5 sen in the early part of November last year, but by mid-March, it had shed most of its value to close at 1.5 sen on March 19.

It is also noteworthy that companies such as Water Beaute World Bhd and WBW Global Sdn Bhd, have 1.02% and 0.42% respectively in Trive Property. These two companies were involved in get-rich-quick and fake online investment schemes.

Both these companies were reported in the past to have stakes in XOX, while WBW Global also had a substantial stake in Anzo Holdings.

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