Every week Stockhead publishes a weekly column of directors trades of $100,000 or more among ASX small caps. As 2020 draws to a close, we thought we could re-cap the most noteworthy trades.


The biggest buy

The biggest buyer was Alan Tribe, chairman of biotech PYC Therapeutics (ASX:PYC) who in October chipped $15 million into his company’s $55 million rights issue.

PYC is fighting various eye disease with “Cell Penetrating Peptides”. Its lead program targets retinitis pigmentosa, which causes vision loss.

While this program is still at the pre-clinical stage it is hoping to get to human trials in the coming months.

Second in line was resources identity Ian Gandel who in July chipped $13 million into NSW gold play Alkane (ASX:ALK).


The biggest sale

Amidst the list of biggest trades by ASX directors in 2020 there were more sellers than buyers. The biggest came from Martin Hosking of Redbubble (ASX:RBL), which is an online market place targeting independent artists.

Hosking sold over $30 million in shares in late October.

The company told shareholders the main reason was “to provide philanthropic support for the Melbourne tertiary education education sector”, although he would also be paying a tax bill.

Slightly behind was Zoono (ASX:ZNO) founder Paul Hyslop who in March passed on $23,228,067 worth of shares in a block trade to Regal Funds Management.

Shareholders were told funds would be used to retire loans he made to the company over the years and he still owned 41 per cent of the firm.


Most times bought

Tech rich lister Mark McConnell made seven $100k buys and one sale across three different companies – Citadel Group (ASX:CGL), Adveritas (ASX:AV1) and People Infrastructure (ASX:PPE).

Melbourne investor David Williams is next with six $100k+ trades across three different companies.

He went in three times into PolyNovo (ASX:PNV) during March totalling $550,000, and twice into RMA Global (ASX:RMY) totalling over $2.5 million as part of a capital raising.

He made another trade only a couple of weeks ago, selling $1 million of Medical Developments (ASX:MDV) shares off market to the company’s incoming chairman Gordon Naylor.


The biggest gainer

Many directors who bought stock towards the end of March are sitting on solid returns. But their gains are out-trumped by one group of directors who bought at the start of the year.

Back in early February, Ray Shorrocks and Steve Parsons chipped $200,000 and $100,000 respectively into Auteco Minerals (ASX:AUT) which then was approximately 1 cent.

Yes, it’s the same pair involved with Bellevue (ASX:BGL) – they joined the Auteco board at the same time they chipped in as part of a capital raising.

The capital raising helped Auteco buy Pickle Crow, one of Canada’s highest-grade historical gold mines which produced 1.5 million ounces of gold at a grade of 16g/t until 1966.

Auteco shares have never looked back – they’re currently sitting at 10 cents.

An honourable mention goes to Piedmont Lithium (ASX:PLL) director Jorge Bernistan who bought $113,444 of his stock in January and it has tripled since thanks to its Tesla deal.

Trent Peterson and Michael Butler of online homewares retailer Adairs (ASX:ADH) have both seen more than 100 per cent returns from their buys in March.


The most selfless Trade

Superloop’s (ASX:SLC) Bevan Slattery parted with approximately $500,000 of his shares.

He told shareholders the sale was in order to help victims of the summer’s devastating bushfires.

While the announcement did not name the specific charities he personally was donating to, Superloop’s Facebook page listed several charities its customers could donate to.


Most notable group of buyers

If you’ve been following Stockhead’s ASX directors trades column in 2020 you may have noticed it’s common for directors to buy in together particularly as part of capital raisings.

While there were very few groups of more than two this year, one of the more notable couples were a married couple in Andrew and Cinzia Burnes from Helloworld Travel (ASX:HLO).

They contributed nearly $5 million in their company’s $50 million capital raise back in July.

Helloworld shares are set to finish 2020 far lower than what they began the year,but it has made some recovery since July along with its peers in the travel sector.


Most remote operations trade

Tigers Realm Coal (ASX:TIG) is one of the few small caps involved in Siberian coking coal and it’s pretty good at it. Despite the fierce winters in Siberia, it managed to mine 71,000t last January.

Bruce Gray has gone in big twice this year – $12.5 million in January then $13.7 million in June, with both trades being part of rights issues.


A trade from a company veteran

Servcorp (ASX:SRV) was founded by Alfred Moufarrige back in 1978 and has even outlasted his sons Marcus and Taine who stood back from the board a couple of years ago.

But their father doesn’t appear to be stepping away any time soon, even with the difficulties in his industry this year.

He bought another $800,000 of his company back in early March, followed by another $300,000 just two weeks later.


A trader from the bourse itself

While our ASX directors trades column has been typically limited to small caps in 2020, we made an exemption in February when a director from the bourse itself made a big purchase.

Former Challenger executive Rob Woods joined the ASX (ASX:ASX) board on January 1. Only a week after the ASX announced solid half-yearly results, he bought ASX shares for the first time – $245,850 worth to be exact.

Because the share price was then over $80 a pop, the investment in the bourse only got him 3,000 shares.