KUALA LUMPUR: Companies linked to Datuk Thong Kok Khee saw their shares close at record levels yesterday.
Corporate restructuring plans, as well as the tycoon's purchases of shares in some of the companies in which he has interest, saw investors follow the queue, despite the lacklustre market yesterday.
"Thong is indeed the man of the moment," said Mercury Securities head of research Edmund Tham.
First in line was Ho Hup Construction Co Bhd, in which Thong is listed as having an indirect five per cent stake.
A closer look, however, shows that Thong's influence in Ho Hup is much bigger as he also has an indirect nine per cent stake in Formis Resources (M) Bhd.
Formis, in turn, owns some 22 per cent of Ho Hup, having bought the shares in June this year for about 80 sen each.
Ho Hup closed at RM1.79 yesterday, up by 31 sen from Tuesday's closing as investors anticipate that its meeting with creditors today will sail smoothly.
This is set to pave the way for the company to exit the Practice Note 17 category on an "express" basis. That helped Ho Hup rise to its highest level in 36 months, while Formis closed six sen higher at 75 sen, its highest in over six months.
Inari Amertron Bhd, which in July completed the acquisition of opto-electronics manufacturer Amertron Inc (Global) Ltd for RM102.87 million, saw its shares at its highest, rising to RM1.20 apiece.
Affin Research recently revised Inari's price target to RM1.70 from RM1.11 on expectation that the company will deliver better-than-expected results in the coming quarters.
The 59-year-old Thong, Standard Chartered Merchant Bank Asia's former executive director in Singapore, has an indirect 36 per cent stake in Inari.
He has also been snapping up Inari shares from the open market, despite the stock price's northward movement.
Thong, via Insas Plaza Sdn Bhd, has bought more than five million Inari shares from the open market in October.
According to Bursa Malaysia data, Insas Plaza added 290,000 shares on October 4 to its portfolio.
Meanwhile, Thong's flagship Insas Bhd closed 2.5 sen higher at 61 sen apiece, its highest in more than 24 months.
The cash-rich Insas, which owns M&A Securities Sdn Bhd and more than one third of Inari, is seen by investors as the key to Thong's recent purchases.
While the tycoon has not appeared as a buyer of Insas shares recently, the company itself has been buying back its own shares in recent weeks.
Filings to Bursa Malaysia show that Insas has so far bought 28.52 million of its own shares, which account for about 4.11 per cent of its capital spread.
Yesterday, it bought back 397,700 of its own shares at between 60 sen and 60.5 sen apiece.