STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index slightly down; WBL, Genting Singapore jump

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 31, 2013 04:10 hrs

Singapore shares slightly dipped on Thursday, but WBL Corp Ltd jumped on speculation of a bidding war and Genting Singapore PCL outperformed the market following its rival casino's fourth-quarter earnings.

The Straits Times Index was down 0.1 percent at 3,281.95, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.5 percent lower.

WBL shares surged to the highest in nearly 2-1/2 years after United Engineers Ltd said it will launch a rival bid, topping an earlier offer from Straits Trading Co Ltd and fuelling speculation of a bidding war.

WBL shares jumped as much as 8.8 percent to S$4.57, the highest since August 2010. Some 1.1 million shares were traded, 22 times the average full-day volume over the past 30 days.

United Engineers offered on Wednesday to buy the remaining 61.7 percent of WBL that it and its partners do not own for S$670.4 million ($540 million), bidding S$4.00 per share in its all-cash offer.

"Financially, it would appear that Straits Trading Company is better placed than United Engineers to pay more for WBL," Maybank Kim Eng said in a report. The broker's sum-of-the-parts valuation for WBL is S$5.04 to S$5.59.

Genting Singapore shares jumped to the highest in more than six months after its rival Las Vegas Sands announced fourth-quarter earnings, as traders saw signs of an improving gaming market in the Asian city-state.

Genting shares rose as much as 7.5 percent to S$1.575, the strongest intra-day level since May 2012. Nearly 103 million shares were traded, 3.7 times the average full-day volume over the past 30 days.

1158 (0358 GMT)

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