NOL Management Changes Causes Shares Rally

Monday, October 11, 1999
Shares of shipping and logistics group Neptune Orient Lines Ltd. (NOL) surged almost 10 percent last Tuesday on optimism over recent management changes, dealers said. "We are buying on the back of increasing confidence in the market, higher assurance that the Fed will not be doing anything drastic and hope that NOL's new management would bring positive changes," said one dealer. In late September, NOL announced the hiring of more senior executives from Sea-Land Services as senior officials for its container transportation arm, APL, including Fleming Jacobs as the new chief executive officer. The moves were seen as positive and reinforced the shipping group's commitment to grow its European and North American presence. "We are confident that Jacobs can infuse NOL with highly dynamic and forward-looking corporate culture that he brings from AP Moeller, and transform the lethargic giant into a formidable global shipping company," G.K. Goh's analyst Wong Kum Seng said. Analysts said NOL's earnings could surprise on the upside if Jacobs is successful in implementing his plans. But until that happens, the shares were close to fair valuation with the latest price surge. NOL also reported on Oct. 4 that mutual fund group INVESCO Asia Ltd. had bought 5.27 percent or about 61.87 million NOL shares. Officials did not indicate purchase price by Hong Kong-based INVESCO Asia or when the transactions took place. INVESCO Asia manages mutual funds, unit trusts and discretionary accounts on behalf of independent London-based Amvescap Plc.

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