Director Trades: Biotron and Buru bosses are the cats with the cash
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Here’s our weekly look at which ASX small cap directors are buying or selling their own stock (week of Oct 22):
Biotron hit 20-bagger status this month amid frenzied investor excitement — and the HIV-fighting biotech’s directors did not miss out.
Biotron (ASX:BIT) soared more than 2000 per cent after reporting positive results from a drug trial as a “major step to the ultimate goal of curing HIV-1 infection”.
Last week its directors shared in that windfall making a collective $1.1m from exercising options that previously looked optimistic and from selling the stock.
The options they traded in were priced at 5c, 6c, 16c and 18c. Before the latest HIV trial results the stock was around 1.9c.
Hey big spender
The biggest deal last week among ASX small cap director trades was also a sale.
Eric Streitberg, chairman of one of Australia’s few oil small caps Buru Energy (ASX:BRU), sold $2.1m worth of stock.
It means he’s no longer a substantial shareholder, as his 4.9 per cent is now under the 5 per cent threshold.
Buru said the sell-down was “for personal financial reasons”.
Adding to the empire
Michael Ruane was back again but this time buying into his new company Empire Resources (ASX:IRL).
Mr Ruane, who holds a stake of 11 per cent, through two of his associated companies – Tyson Resources and Kesli Chemicals – served Empire with a “249D” notice to give shareholders the opportunity to vote out the four-director board.
Mr Ruane progressively increased his stake in Empire from June, when he owned just over 5 per cent. The board said it had no idea why he was pursuing them, but he eventually won earlier this month and became chairman.
From apps to yoghurt
Former rich lister Tom Kiing has put almost half a million dollars into Maggie Beer brand owner Longtable (ASX:LON).
Malaysian-born Mr Kiing made his fortune as an investor. He put money into app maker Jumbuck Entertainment about 10 years ago.
Jumbuck later transformed into Primary Opinion — “a leading global information and networking community for business professional advisers in the financial services, tax & accounting, legal, HR and regulatory & compliance sectors”.
That didn’t work out either so in 2016 Primary bought 48 per cent of Maggie Beer’s food business (which a year later they had to write down).
It was only when they brought in ex-Bellamy’s (ASX:BAL) boss Laura McBain that things started going right again — and they became Longtable.
Covata (ASX:CVT) chief and former Telstra dot com guru Ted Pretty acquired $223,923 worth of stock, but most was via the company’s ‘loan share plan’.
Loan share plans are an alternative to options as performance incentives, which directors have to pay tax on when they vest even if the exercise price is higher than the value of the stock.
At its most basic, a company provides an interest-free loan to the employee or director to buy shares at market value. They only pay tax on when they sell the resulting shares.
Mr Pretty has 28m loan plan shares and 7.1m regular shares.
Money 3 (ASX:MNY) managed director bought $220,665 worth of stock in a dividend reinvestment plan, while Imugene (ASX:IUM) director Dr Axel Hoos made a $50,000 paper profit when he exercised options and sold the equivalent sum in stock.
Here’s a table showing recent ASX small cap director trades:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort