On Friday, the Singapore government announced new “circuit breaker” measures to close most workplaces island-wide along with schools, in a bid to meaningfully reduce the number of COVID-19 cases.
Many companies will be impacted, but a select group will be relatively unaffected by the latest regulatory move.
This entire exercise will be in place for four weeks from April 7 till May 4, including both dates.
All essential services can continue operating, as well as hospitals, polyclinics and dialysis centres.
Here are three companies that will continue to operate most of their operations despite the imposition of a circuit breaker.
Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX: S68)
Singapore Exchange Limited, or SGX, is Singapore’s sole stock exchange operator.
Last week, SGX announced that its securities and derivatives markets will remain open to provide international and retail investors with access to manage their investment portfolios.
The government said that banking and financial services will remain accessible at all times to the public, and SGX is among the firms that are included in this segment.
SGX’s share price has remained resilient throughout the crisis, registering a year-to-date gain of 2.6%.
For those who are looking to deploy some spare capital to buy blue-chip companies, they can rest assured that they will still be able to do so.
Sheng Siong Group Ltd (SGX: OV8)
When it comes to essentials, nothing beats basic fresh produce, meat and vegetables.
The government has to allow the supermarkets, wet markets and minimarts to continue to operate, as these supply necessities to the public.
Sheng Siong has one of the largest supermarket chains in Singapore, with 61 outlets mainly located in the heartland (i.e. HDB) areas.
Investors can rest assured that business can continue uninterrupted and may even see a spike in demand as people buy more goods to stock up at home.
Even if the virus situation were to worsen, Sheng Siong will most likely still be allowed to operate as the selling of groceries and fresh food are essentials for life to carry on.
That said, social distancing could limit the number of shoppers in each shop at any point in time.
The measures may have a temporary negative impact but should be more than made up for by increased patronage as people are left with fewer choices to shop.
VICOM Ltd (SGX: V01)
VICOM is one of the leading vehicle testing and inspection centres in Singapore, with a market share of more than 70%.
Vehicle repair and servicing are listed as one of the essential services that are allowed to operate even with the circuit breaker.
Note that VICOM’s vehicle inspection division’s core market focuses on Singapore and is less likely to be affected.
However, its non-vehicle inspection division, which has contracts with multinationals and other types of businesses, might be more negatively impacted.
Get Smart: Keep calm and carry on investing
Though the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in its scale and reach, I believe that things are still pretty much under control in Singapore.
The government is ready to do what it takes to support individuals and businesses through this tough period.
So, fear not, dear investor, you can just keep calm and carry on investing.
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Disclaimer: Royston Yang owns shares in Singapore Exchange Limited and VICOM Ltd.