Year in Review 2019: Top 5 performing blue-chip stocks in S'pore

(PHOTO: Getty Creative)

SINGAPORE — The Straits Times Index (STI) has endured a choppy year, with the US-China trade war and Brexit uncertainty taking their toll on sentiment. Nonetheless, many of its blue-chip constituents turned in a stellar showing, with returns well into the double-digits. Price changes for each counter are based on Dec 10 closing prices and rounded to the closest per cent.

Thai Beverage, one of Southeast Asia largest beverage companies, is the brewer of Chang Beer. (PHOTO: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
  1. Thai Beverage Public Company Limited (ThaiBev) 
    Year-to-date gain: 47 per cent
    Initial public offering (IPO) talk helped make the drinks maker this year’s biggest gainer. First, the prospective IPO of rival Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s Asian unit fuelled hopes that ThaiBev’s own valuation would also be boosted. The IPO was eventually scrapped but ThaiBev’s share price continues upwards, buoyed by a November media report that it is considering an IPO of its brewery businesses in Vietnam and Thailand. The report said that ThaiBev could seek a valuation of as much as US$10 billion for the listing, making it Singapore’s largest in almost a decade.

  2. Mapletree Commercial Trust (MCT) 
    Year-to-date gain: 39 per cent
    The office-and-retail real estate investment trust (Reit) has emerged victorious from the Singapore Reit rally, helped along by its addition to the STI in September and strong demand for office and business park space. The Reit, which owns VivoCity shopping mall, continued to grow its portfolio this year with a S$1.55 billion acquisition of the second phase of Mapletree Business City from its sponsor, Mapletree Investments. The deal completes its ownership of the 13.5-hectare Alexandra precinct.

  3. Wilmar International Limited 
    Year-to-date gain: 32 per cent
    The African swine fever and low sugar prices did little to keep Wilmar’s share price down this year. The market had reason to cheer, with the impending listing of Wilmar’s China business, Yihai Kerry Arawana Holdings. Analysts anticipate that the listing will unlock the value of the Chinese unit, producing a possible special dividend for shareholders and boosting the group’s share price. Wilmar has sought approval from Chinese regulators to list Yihai Kerry on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. 

  4. City Developments Limited (CDL)
    Year-to-date gain: 32 per cent
    The property developer finally succeeded in taking its subsidiary Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (M&C) private, after a previous attempt was blocked by M&C’s minority shareholders. CDL’s share price rose on the news, amid analysts’ expectations that CDL will be able to unlock value in the hotelier by improving yield management, refurbishing some of the latter’s older hotels, and selling other assets to fund the refurbishment effort. 

  5. UOL Group Limited (UOL)
    Year-to-date gain: 29 per cent
    The property firm and its subsidiary United Industrial Corp (UIC) gained full control of assets such as Marina Square Shopping Mall, Pan Pacific Singapore and Marina Mandarin Singapore through a landmark S$675.3 million deal with multiple sellers this year. UOL’s share price perked up, both on the acquisition and the group’s intention to redevelop the Marina Square assets. UOL’s gradual consolidation of its control of UIC also boosted the counter, as analysts reckoned this will let UOL extract more value from its commercial and hospitality assets.

Related stories:

SE Asia Stocks-Most markets tepid ahead of looming tariff deadline

Singapore property developer wants curbs eased to beat glut

CityDev, CapitaLand lead consortium to redevelop Liang Court site at Clarke Quay