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Tuesday, 14 November 2017 | MYT 12:00 AM

A fed up TS Wong sells stakes in Palette and MUI to quell speculation

PETALING JAYA: Fed up with his name being associated with stocks that run up significantly ahead of fundamentals, Wong Thean Soon or better known as TS Wong will no longer make passive investments in listed companies.

In a brief-but-clearly worded statement, Wong has distanced himself from Palette Multimedia Bhd and Malayan United Industries Bhd (MUI) – two stocks that have seen their share prices running up in recent weeks on speculation of an impending corporate exercise.

Wong, who is the substantial shareholder and managing director of MyEG Services Bhd, held insignificant stakes in the two companies with 3.92% in Palette and 0.31% in MUI.

Wong said that he disposed of all his shareholding in Palette and MUI because certain media had picked up the information in the annual reports and created a misconception of an impending corporate exercise in the companies.

“I acquired insubstantial shares in MUI and Palette as passive investments. Unfortunately, certain media quarters have extracted these information from the annual reports and published stories that created the misperception of impending merger and acquisition activity.

“I wish to clarify that I have disposed of all my shareholding in MUI and Palette and will refrain from making any passive investments in listed equities in the future,” he said in the statement yesterday.

On Oct 31, news wires reported that MUI had jumped 25% on speculation of a corporate development after entities associated with MyEG emerged as shareholders in the company’s latest annual report.

The news wire report stated that an associate of Wong – Datuk Jayakumar Panneer Selvam – had 11 million shares while Asia Internet Holdings Sdn Bhd had nine million shares. Asia Internet Holdings is a private company where Wong is a shareholder.

Wong is the single largest shareholder in MyEG which has a market capitalisation of RM7.8bil.

He has a direct stake of 7.21% in MyEG and an indirect stake of 31.95% via Asia Internet Holdings.

Having been the early investor in technology and recognising the gap in the market, Wong started MyEG as a provider of e-government services such as vehicle road tax and driver’s licence renewal.

The company has been diversifying its business commercial solutions since three years ago.

The value of MyEG has risen by more than 100 times since its Ace Market listing in 2007 from RM69mil to RM7.8bil currently.

Apart from MyEG, Wong is also a substantial shareholder in Excel Force MSC Bhd, a company that provides solutions for the trading of stocks.

Wong first emerged in the company after acquiring an 18.7% stake on April 26 this year, via his vehicle Asia Internet Holdings.

Excel Force hit a 52-week high of RM1.96 a month after his entry into the company. On a year-to-date basis, shares in Excel Force have jumped more than 150%.

Excel Force is the market leader in Malaysia for the provision of financial services business solutions, where it currently holds 90% of the stockbroking public gallery display system and 70% of the electronic client ordering system market share in Malaysia.

The company may be the beneficiary of the Alternative Trading System (ATS) that the Government announced during the tabling of Budget 2018 last week.

ATS is a market venue to bring together purchasers and sellers of securities. It originated in the United States as an alternative to traditional exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq in the trading of securities.

Since 2001, more than 50 countries have launched the ATS, providing investors with choices in execution venue.

According to industry executives, Wong only takes his investments in technology companies seriously.

“His investments in Palette and MUI are only to ride on the stocks. If he were serious about the company, he would buy a significant stake,” said a dealer.

For example, in Excel Force, Wong saw the opportunity for a meaningful trading system for stocks and shares and other securities.

“The difficulty in tech stocks is to spot the trends and the stock early.

“The risk is great, but the returns are also big. This is an area Wong has created a niche in,” said a dealer.