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

ASX code Company Director Change Date Volume $ Where Total holdings controlled
BRU Buru Energy Eric Streitberg Sell Oct 18 8.5m 2142969 Off market 21.2m
CVT Covata Edward Pretty Buy Oct 12, 15, 19 8.1m 223923 On market and company share plan 35.7m
PDF Pacific Dairies Paul Duckett Buy Oct 12 10m 100000 Loan conversion 49.4m
ERL Empire Resources Michael Ruane Buy Oct 22 565,694 6265 On market 52.6m
IMU Imugene Axel Hoos Buy Oct 19 10m 150000 Exercise options 17.5m
IMU Imugene Axel Hoos Sell Oct 19 7.5m 150000 On market 10m
IMU Longtable Tom Kiing Buy Oct 17-19 1.2m 447000 On market 5.6m
BIT Biotron Michelle Miller Buy Oct 18-24 5m 840000 Exercise options 6m
BIT Biotron Michael Hoy Buy Oct 23-25 1.2 74782 Exercise options 9m
BIT Biotron Robert Thomas Buy Oct 23-24 100,000 5000 Exercise options 8m
BIT Biotron Michelle Miller Sell Oct 18-24 3.5m 938000 On market 2.5m
BIT Biotron Michael Hoy Sell Oct 23-25 1.2 286666 On market 7.8m
BIT Biotron Robert Thomas Sell Oct 23-24 3.5m 823106 On market 4.5m
AMI Aurelia Metals Paul Espie Buy Oct 24 150,000 110393 On market 150,000
BRN Brainchip Louis DiNardo Sell Oct 18 1m 130596 Via trustee 0
DGO DGO Gold Bruce Parncutt Buy Oct 23 162,208 122406 No reason given 3.7m
GPP Greenpower Energy Cameron McLean Buy Oct 23 51.5m 257500 Share for Ion Minerals sellers 51.5m
MNY Money 3 Corporation Scott Baldwin Buy Oct 23 112,241 220665 Dividend reinvestment plan 4.5m
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