In our new weekly series, James Norris looks at director’s buying and selling shares in their own company over the last week.
- Directors buying shares in Melrose Industries
- Senior ITV executives adding to their holdings
- CEO and CFO sell Morgan Sindall shares
- Retiring St James’s Place MD sells on the dip
- Chairman increases holding in Flutter Entertainment
Directors at Melrose Industries (LON: MRO), the industrial buyout firm, have been buying shares in the company as the price slumped 16% over the week. Chairman Justin Dowley bought 75,000 shares for £99,195; David Lis bought 35,000 for £46,638; Elizabeth Hewitt bought 37,000 for £50,509; Victoria Jarman bought 20,000 for £26,868; and Heather Lawrence, by buying four days later, bought 22,500 shares more cheaply for £26,167. The share price is down almost 40% over the past 12 months, and is trading at 113.40p, or -26.8% YTD, reflecting investor concerns about the company’s debts, the cost of inflation on the business and the recent unexpected announcement to delay the cash from the sale of two of its businesses, Brush and Nortek.
ITV Plc (LON: ITV) senior executives have also been busy buying as their share price slumps. Chairman Peter Bazalgette bought 110,059 shares for £99,491; CEO Carolyn McCall bought 120,659 shares, worth £99,254; and CFO Christopher Kennedy bought 67,387 shares, worth £49,738. In a week, the price has lost more than 35%, going into freefall on 2 March, despite having delivered, as McCall said, an “outstanding financial performance” in 2021, featuring revenue growth of 24%, an adjusted EPS growth of 40%, subscriptions growth of more than 38% since 2020 and a strategy to become a leading streamer in the UK and beyond. Shares are currently trading at 73.90p.
At Morgan Sindall (LON: MGNS), however, directors were selling their shares, despite the group being, as CEO John Morgan said, “in its best shape ever” and as shares slipped almost 12% over the past week. On 4 March, Morgan sold 29,327 shares at £22.95 for £673,055, and CFO Stephen Crummell sold 24,242 shares for £560, 531. The construction company delivered outperformance across all divisions and is now trading ahead of pre-pandemic levels at 2,050p, with a 12-month return of 13.9% and -18.6% YTD.
St. James’s Place (LON: STJ) Managing Director Ian Gascoigne sold 29,722 shares at 1,280p, for a total of £380,459. On the same day, he was granted just over 63,000 shares under the unapproved company share plan of 2014. However, he seems to have sold on the dip as the share price is currently -28.7% YTD, after peaking at 1,731p on 4 January, and -1.36% over 12 months. The shares are currently trading at 1,188p. The group reported strong growth in funds under management last year and a doubling of pre-tax profit to £842m, as the firm benefited from the economic recovery and increased demand for investment advice. Gascoigne will be retiring on 31 March, after 30 years at the company.
Flutter Entertainment (LON: FLTR), the Dublin-based sports betting and gaming company, saw Chairman Gary McGann buying 2,200 shares in the company at €108.50 per share. A person closely associated with non-executive director Andrew Higginson bought 3,343 shares at £87.65 per share. CEO Peter Jackson has been granted 14,162 share options and acquired a further 329 shares at £76.26 per share. The publisher Research & Markets says the global online gambling market, valued last year at $72.3bn, is projected to reach $131.4bn by 2027 on a CAGR of 9.96%. However, Flutter posted an 11% fall in earnings and saw the share price drop more than 24% in just over a week. The share price closed trading yesterday at 8154p.
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