Director Trades: Insurance builder offers explanation for $13 million sell-down
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ASX director buying activity continues to be strong during May as global markets continue to feel the pressure of higher inflation, aggressive central bank rate hikes and geopolitical uncertainty.
However, it has been interesting to note that during the volatility companies have been keen to explain hefty sell-downs from directors and ease concerns of investors – whether it’s been to manage personal assets, fund other projects or philanthropic purposes.
Leading the biggest director sales recently is insurance builder Johns Lyng Group (ASX:JLG). Executive director and COO Lindsay Barber sold 1 million shares at $6.65 per share equating to $6.65 million on May 16 directly and indirectly through entities with which he is associated.
CEO and managing director Scott Didier sold 1 million shares at $6.25 per share equating to $6.25 million on May 18 directly and indirectly through entities with which he is associated.
Didier owned the company for 14 years, growing and turning it from a Victorian business into a national one before floating it on the ASX in 2017.
In a statement to the ASX, JLG said the sales were to “manage their personal asset portfolio” and represents a very small percentage of their holdings. Didier still owns ~53.3 million shares, or 20.6% of those on issue, while Barber holds ~12.8 million, equal to 4.95%.
Didier recently relocated to the US to leverage opportunities following JLG’s acquisition of Reconstruction Experts for US$144 million in December 2021.
“I am incredibly proud of what JLG does every day in Australia and now in the US,” Didier said in the announcement.
“The recent flood events have demonstrated how robust our business model is and what a critical role we play in the catastrophe management chain.”
JLG was recently confirmed as the managing contractor of the Australian and NSW Government funded $142 million Property Assessment and Demolition Program, which is providing free structural assessments of eligible flood impacted properties in 58 local government areas.
The company said is still assessing the financial impact of the recent catastrophic weather-related events in Queensland and NSW.
JLG has reconfirmed its FY22 earnings guidance, including sales revenue of $802.4 million, up from $481.8 million in FY21.
The company’s share price has risen ~38% in the past year to ~$6.01.
Next of the recent big sales is fromsoftware solutions to the logistics industry WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC), where founder Robert White has sold another large amount of stock in the company.
According to three ASX announcements, White sold 149,927 shares directly for an average price of $43.19 equating to ~$6.48 million between April 28 and May 5.
White sold 161,412 shares directly for an average price of $40.11 equating to ~$6.47 million between May 6 and 12.
White sold another 158,664 shares directly for an average price of $40.83 equating to ~$6.48 million between May 13 and 19.
White has made a series of sales in WiseTech in recent times, but he still holds a large holding including 2,862,284 direct shares and 121,877,028 indirect shares.
The company’s share price has risen ~56% in the past year to ~$42.17.
Footwear and clothing retail, wholesaling and distribution company Accent Group (ASX:AX1) non-executive director Brett Blundy has made two bullish purchases in the company.
Blundy ponied up for 98,542,751 ordinary shares for a cost of ~$6.32 million between May 9 and 10 indirectly through entities with which he is associated.
He bought some 4 million more for ~$5.12 million on May 13 indirectly through entities with which he is associated.
Blundy a well-known Australian retailer and investor is also the founder and chairman of BBRC, a private investment group with diverse global interests across retail, capital management, retail property and even the beef industry.
He now holds 107,502,463 fully paid ordinary shares in Accent Group, which has seen its share price drop ~49% in the past year to ~$1.36.
Adventure tourism company Experience Co (ASX:EXP) founder and non-executive director Anthony Boucaut ponied up for 5,500,000 Ordinary Fully Paid shares for an average price of $0.2663 per share equating to ~$1.46 million.
Boucaut made the purchase indirectly through entities with which he is associated between May 13 and 17.
Founded in 1998 and listing on the ASX in 2015, among experiences the company offers are skydiving, deep ocean diving and rainforest tours with destinations Australia-wide.
Experience Co’s share price has risen ~5.77% in the past year to 28 cents.
Listed engineering and project management consultancy Lycopodium (ASX:LYL) saw two of its directors sell down shares in May.
The company announced managing director Peter De Leo had sold 75,000 ordinary shares for $450k indirectly through entities with which he is associated on May 20. De Leo still holds 896,711 shares.
Non-executive director Rodney Leonard also sold 75,000 ordinary shares for $450k indirectly through entities with which he is associated on May 20. Leonard now holds 979,215 fully paid ordinary shares and 23,715 Class A performance rights.
Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) recently selected Lycopodium to assist with the definitive feasibility study for its 10,000 tonnes per annum lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) production plant. The company’s shares has risen ~9.11% in the past year to ~$5.99.
Founder and chairman of listed investment group Thorney Technologies (ASX:TEK). billionaire investor Alex Waislitz has continued topping up his holdings during May.
Waislitz made a series of purchases of shares between May 6 and 23 indirectly through entities with which he is associated. The purchases range in price from between $20k to $50k. He also bought shares in April and early May.
According to the latest notice filed to the ASX on May 24, Waislitz now holds 86,891,007 shares in the company indirectly.
Non-executive director Jeremy Leibler also topped up his holdings in Thorney Technologies, buying 80,000 shares for 27.98 cents (~$22k) indirectly through entities with which he is associated on May 1. He now holds 877,963 shares in the company.
Thorney Technologies invests in technology related companies with Waislitz switching from commodities to innovative tech. The company’s share price has fallen ~30% in the past year.
And to finish off, a sale for a good cause. Sunrise Energy Metals (ASX:SRL) saw managing director and CEO Sam Riggall sell 80,000 shares on May 13 and 16 for $218,500 indirectly through The JTM Foundation.
Sunrise issued an ASX announcement regarding the sale. Riggall is a director of The JTM Foundation, a private ancillary fund established as a philanthropic trust for the sole purpose of providing grants to eligible charities in Australia.
“The divestment of 80,000 shares by The JTM Foundation has been undertaken by the trustee to allow the foundation to satisfy its commitments for philanthropic giving,” the announcement said.
“Mr Riggall remains a committed long term shareholder in the company and retains a direct and indirect ownership interest in approximately 2.6 million fully paid ordinary shares in the company.”
The project could be one of the world’s largest integrated producers of battery-grade nickel and cobalt sulphate, supporting the production of up to 25 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) of nickel and 7ktpa of cobalt, suitable for precursor feedstocks.
Shares in the company have risen ~73% in the past year to ~$3.05.