ASX director trading activity continues to run hot with some big buys and sells during the first half of March as volatility continues on the markets.

Whether it was to show investors they are bullish on their companies, are looking to top-up their holdings while prices are low, or want to protect against further losses, there have been some large director on-market trades.

Directors sell out of Aussie broadband

Telco provider Aussie Broadband (ASX:ABB) co-founders and directors Phillip Britt, John Reisinger and Patrick Greene each sold large holdings on March 7.   Co-founder and managing director Britt along with co-founder, CTO and executive director Reisinger both sold down 2,000,000 shares at $4.95 per share, equating to a whopping ~$9.9 million. The sale represented 11.1% of Britt’s and Reisinger’s respective shareholdings.

Director Greene sold ~1.9 million shares also at $4.95 per share, equating to a ~$9.47 million.  The sale represented 15.7% of Green’s holding.  All three men will now cease to be substantial shareholders in the company.

Aussie Broadband listed on the ASX in October 2020 at $1 per share, and was founded in 2008 after the merger of two regional telcos. Since then its share price has returned 174%, trading now at ~$5.25.

In its recent H1 FY22 results the company reported revenue of $229.3 million, an increase of 46% on pcp with revenue of $9.1 million, an increase of 7% on pcp as it continues to be a significant player in the competitive internet services and mobile plans space.


Insider sells more than $2 million of stock

Heavy equipment and industrial maintenance provider Mader Group Limited (ASX:MAD) shareholders may have felt a little uneasy to see non-executive director Craig Burton sell down a substantial chunk of stock – 1 million shares – for ~$2.24m.

However, it’s worth noting that the managing partner of Verona Capital, serial entrepreneur and venture capital investor remains very much invested in Mader and still holds a further 39m shares.

Mader reported recorded strong H1 FY22 results with revenue of $185.2m, up ~31% vs the prior corresponding period, driven by growth in customer demand across the global mining industry.

Also, making a substantial sale was pharmaceutical manufacturer Probiotec Limited (ASX:PBP) CEO and executive director Wesley Stringer who sold down more than 1 million shares for $2.15 each, equating to ~$2.176 million on March 1.

The sale hasn’t seemed to hurt investor sentiment with the price up ~3.72% in the past five days to $2.23. The company recently upgraded its FY22 guidance, forecasting full year guidance will now come in between $175 and $180m. Stringer still holds ~5.19m shares in Probiotec.


BlueBet chairman’s ~$760k bet

BlueBet (ASX:BBT) founder and executive chairman Michael Sullivan continues to be bullish on the wagering outfit, topping his holdings up by 1 million shares  at a cost of ~$760k.  The veteran bookmaker founded BlueBet in 2015 with the company listing on the local bourse in 2020.

Sullivan now holds more than 84 million  BlueBet shares directly plus ~2million indirectly. Investors haven’t been so bullish on BlueBet after completing an $80 million IPO at $1.14 per share, shares jumped to $2.10 on its first day of trade. However, they have fallen ~57% since, currently trading ~76 cents.

However, BlueBet is continuing to achieve strong growth with the company recording turnover up 60.5% to $264.5 m and net win up 68.4% to $28.6m in H1 Fy22. It has also launched three new platforms for its Australian business which will form the basis for its US platforms, forecast to be released in H2 FY22.

By his latest trade, Sullivan is betting the fortunes of BlueBet may be about to turn around.

ZipCo and Beforepay buy up

Directors in BNPL player Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) have been buying up the stock in early March. Co-founder, managing director, and CEO Larry Diamond boosted his holding by 582,500 fully paid ordinary shares at $1.71 per share (~$686k).  Co-founder, executive director, and chief operating officer Peter Gray purchased 290,698 ordinary shares at $1.72 per share (~$500k).

Non-executive directors Pippa Downes purchased 17,944 and John Batistich 17,647 worth of shares, while chair and non-executive director Diane Smith-Gander purchased 18,126 shares with the price per share for each of the three transactions ranging between $1.65 and $1.67.

The share price of Zip Co has been out of favour with investors of late. It recently announced a fully underwritten institutional placement for $148.7m at $1.90 a share. Zip Co is also seeking to raise around $50m (before costs) under a share purchase plan for retail investors.  The company has been in talks with US-based company Sezzle (ASX:SZL) about a possible acquisition. 

Meanwhile, directors of troubled pay-day lending provider Beforepay (ASX:B4P) have been buying into the company. Chairman Brian Hartzer ponied up for 40,000 more shares, while non-executive directors Stefan Urosevic and Daniel Moss both purchased 20,000 more shares at $1.22 per share on March 2.

The purchases boost the trio’s holdings in the company, which tumbled 44% on its ASX in January, making it one of the worst ASX debut performances in the last 12 months.

Tassie billionaire continues Engenco buy up

Tasmania business magnate Dale Elphinstone, who purchased ~$1.14m worth of stock in Australian engineering services firm Engenco (ASX:EGN) last month, continued his bullish buy-up of the stock into March. The former chairman of Engenco purchased ~1.5m shares equating to ~$850k on March 2.

Engenco’s share price has continued to rally after Elphinstone’s latest buy with the share price now up ~38% in the past month to 56 cents.

Directors are also continuing to put money into online cosmetics retailer Adore Beauty Group (ASX:ABY). Co-founders and executive directors James Height and Kate Morris both spent ~$420k over March 9 and 10 to buy more than 200,000 shares in the company bringing both their totals to 10.4 million shares.

Despite the bullish approach by Height and Morris (along with chair Marina Go who purchased $48k worth of shares in February), Adore continues to feel the rotation out of e-commerce and tech stocks with the share price down ~20.85% in the past month to $1.96.

$2.4 million for Philanthropic purposes

Lastly, one of the noblest purchases of the month can go to the founder and non-executive director of steel distributor Vulcan Steel (ASX:VSL, NZE:VSL) Peter Wells who forked out NZ$2.45 million for 250,000 fully paid ordinary shares in the company for future philanthropic initiatives.

Wells now owns ~18.4 million shares in Vulcan Steel, which he founded in Auckland more than 25 years ago and has a market cap of $1.12 billion. The company was first listed on the ASX in November 2021. It supplies and processes steel and steel products to about 12,000 customers in Australia and New Zealand.

ASX listed shares in Vulcan have risen ~19.58% in the past year to $8.55.