Hong Leong Capital shares drop on strong selling

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KUALA LUMPUR: Hong Leong Capital Bhd’s share prices plunged as much as 22.3 per cent yesterday due to investors’ strong selling interest and panic over the August 12 share halt.

Hong Leong Capital was Bursa Malaysia’s top loser as its shares dipped as much as RM1.44 to an intraday low of RM5, before settling at RM5.50 with 910,700 units traded.

Last Wednesday, Hong Leong Capital announced its public shareholding spread was 9.63 per cent, which was below the 10 per cent threshold required. Hence, the trading of its securities will be suspended on August 12, following the expiry of 30 market days from the date of announcement.

Hong Leong Capital told Bursa Malaysia yesterday that it does not have plans to address the non-compliance with the public shareholding spread requirement.

“(The company) requires time to assess the situation,” it added.

It was believed that the exercise of share options by Hong Leong Investment Bank chief executive officer Lee Jim Leng had triggered the suspension.

According to the stock exchange filing, Lee had on June 19 exercised her rights to buy one million Hong Leong Capital shares, or equivalent to 0.405 per cent of total capital spread at RM1.20 each.

Soon after the stock option was exercised, Lee had disposed of 0.014 per cent or 34,000 of shares at prices between RM6.83 and RM6.97 over four market trading days.

Hong Leong Capital is the investment banking and asset management arm of Hong Leong Financial Group (HLFG).

Early this year, Malaysian tycoon Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan offered to privatise the company via HLFG, at RM1.71 a share.

HLFG now holds 85.59 per cent of Hong Leong Capital’s total paid-up share capital.

Business Times : nation

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