• Billionaire Gerry Harvey buys up more ~$80 million worth of stock in Harvey Norman
  • Pro Medicus co-founders sell down $62 million worth of stock in the company
  • Several ASX company directors sell down stock in March to meet tax obligations

Director trades are often considered a good indicator of a company’s future prospects. Our monthly ASX Director Trades column informs you who is buying in and who is selling down. Often referred to as insider buying or selling, directors are legally permitted to buy and sell shares of the company and any subsidiaries. However, these transactions must be properly registered and divulged.

Insider buying or selling is not to be confused with insider trading, which is buying shares based on non-public information, a big no-no and illegal.

We troll through the ASX company announcements looking at director trades of interest over the past month. It’s usually the big ones that stand out or those coinciding with company news.

Directors may get shares as part of employee incentive schemes, share purchase plans, rights issues, participate in dividend reinvestment plans or purchase on-market. It’s the on-market trades we think are worth noting, where directors directly or indirectly through entities they are associated either put up cash or cash in a stake.

When a director buys shares on-market or off-market, it can signify confidence the share price will rise in the future and if multiple directors are buying, especially at larger amounts, that is even more of an indication. Of course, it’s not a sure win that the share price will rise, so it’s always worth further research on a company.

Directors will often buy company shares after a sharp price decrease. Directors may think the stock has been oversold and represents good value, sometimes they want to show confidence in their company’s prospects, other times they’ve just got another good reason to buy or sell a stock which will be divulged, like paying the good ol’ taxman.

Market overview for March

Global markets showed resilience throughout March despite the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in the US along with Switzerland’s second largest bank Credit Suisse.

The S&P ASX 200 rallied 3% in the last week of March to have its best week  since early January. The benchmark closed still finished the month down 0.16% but remains up 3.46% YTD.

The Emerging Companies index (XEC) fell 0.25% in March but remains up 2.38% YTD.

Ongoing inflation, interest rate hikes, continued geopolitical turmoil and a banking crisis certainly kept markets turbulent during the month. Whether to take advantage of lower market prices, sell out and make a profit or pay tax obligations there were some very big director on market buys and sells during March on the ASX.

 

March director large buys

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Billionaire Gerry Harvey buys up BIG in March

Heading the buyers table in March was Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) chairman and executive director Gerry Harvey who went on a big shopping spree during March.

The 83-year-old HVN co-founder, who started his career selling vacuum cleaners,  ponied up for more than 21 million shares indirectly throughout March at a cost of almost $80 million.

According to the latest notice on April 3 Harvey holds directly:

  • 101,277,994 fully paid ordinary shares
  • 65,500 FY21 performance rights
  • 145,000 FY22 performance rights
  • 175,600 FY23 performance rights

Harvey, who has become one of Australia’s most well-known entrepreneurs,  also owns ~314 million shares indirectly.

Shares in HVN are down ~10% YTD but Harvey is confident of its future prospects.

“My advice to you is sell your house, sell your boat, sell your car, put the lot into Harvey Norman [shares] and then ring me in three or four years, and you won’t need to be a journalist any more,” he told an AFR journalist recently.

Motorcycle Holdings executive director moves to fast lane

Motorcycle dealership and accessories group Motorcycle Holdings (ASX:MTO) executive director Michael Poynton purchased ~$1.3 million worth of stock in March. Poynton joined the board of MTO last year after it purchased Mojo Motorcycles Pty Ltd and Mojo Electric Vehicles Pty Ltd (together Mojo Group), which he co-founded.

MTO recently reported strong half year results. Revenue increased 17% to $277.5 million in H1 FY23 on a reported basis with contribution from recent acquisitions and 1% on a like for like (LFL) basis.

Gross profit also rose 13% to $75.2 million during what it said was a tough economic environment for the motorcycle industry. MTO said compared to the 25% industry decline in new motorcycle sales over the half, based on Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) industry data, it had outperformed the industry.

 

The HVN & MTO share price today:

 

March director large sells

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Pro Medicus co-founders sell down more than $62 million worth of stock

Pro Medicus (ASX:PME) has seen two of its founding leaders sell down more than $62 million each of stock during March. Co-founder Anthony Hall and Dr Sam Hupert each sold 1 million shares adding up to more than $62 million on March 15.

PME is a developer and supplier of healthcare imaging software and services to hospitals, diagnostic imaging groups and other healthcare organisations in Australia, North America and Europe and was founded by the pair in 1983.

Hall still holds 26,109,000 shares in PME directly and indirectly. Hupert still holds 26,137,660 ordinary shares in PME directly and indirectly.

Chairman Peter Kempen also sold down stock in PME during March.

PME is one of Morgans healthcare analyst Scott Power’s picks for 2023. Power described the medical imaging company as one of the best growth stories on the ASX over the past decade.

PME was contacted for comment regarding the recent sales.

 

Lake Resources leader sells stock to meet financial obligations

Lithium play Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) announced non-executive chairman Stu Crow has sold down ~8 million shares for a cost of ~$3.8 million under advice to meet personal financial obligations.

In the announcement LKE said Crow currently has no plans to sell any additional shares in the foreseeable future and remains committed to LKE as it transitions from explorer toward development.

LKE said as a founding shareholder, Crow has been actively involved in driving the growth of Lake Resources since its inception.

Crow remains one of the company’s largest private shareholders with a relevant interest in 10,000,000 shares following the recent sales.

 

Accent group CEO sells stock to pay good ol’ taxman

Accent Group (ASX:AX1) announced CEO Daniel Agostinelli has sold sold 2,747,223 fully paid ordinary shares in the company to meet tax obligations arising from the vesting (and subsequent conversion into fully paid ordinary shares) of 2,750,000 performance rights in November 2022.

AX1 said Agostinelli continues to hold a significant interest including 18,003,001 ordinary shares representing 3.26% of the company’s total issued capital and is one of their largest shareholders.

Agostinelli also holds 5,786,061 performance rights which are subject to meeting specific vesting conditions.

Accent is a footwear and apparel company with 800+ stores, 34 brands and 40+ websites.

The PME, LKE & AX1 share price today: