Join our community of smart investors

Big director share sales this week

Find out which directors are buying and selling shares in their own companies this week
Big director share sales this week

No one knows a company quite as well as its directors, which is why it is worth keeping an eye on director buying and selling. 

Register here to download our exclusive table of director buying and selling

We have combed through UK directors' deals and published the purchases and sales that caught our eyes. Our table is compiled using company announcements, and is not exhaustive. The table is ordered by aggregate value. 

Short sellers hit The Hut

Shareholder ardour for the most hotly-anticipated IPO of last year has somewhat cooled. Manchester-based e-commerce retailer The Hut Group was the biggest stock market listing on the London market for five years, with the company raising £920 million in new money in an IPO that valued the business at £5.4bn, or £5 a share. Its shares soared to almost £8 in January but have come crashing down below its issue price in recent weeks.

The group founded by chairman and chief executive Matt Moulding gained Softbank’s seal of approval in May, with the Japanese investment giant putting $730m in the company as part of a $1 billion fundraise. It also secured an option to take a 19.9 per cent stake in the company’s THG Ingenuity platform that handles e-commerce operations for other brands, at a price of $1.6bn.

However, investors disliked a plan to spin off its beauty arm, which was announced last month as the company reported an £81.3m interim loss before tax, despite a 45 per cent revenue hike to £959m.  It has also attracted the attention of short sellers, with Zurich-based PSquared Asset Management holding a net short position equating to about 1.01 per cent of THG’s shares, according to Financial Conduct Authority data. It began shorting the shares in late August.

Purchases by non-executives Iain McDonald and Zillah Byng-Thorne provided brief respite for its shares, which closed the week ending 8 October at £4.53. But selling pressure resumed after Moulding hit out at short sellers at a Capital Markets Day event on Tuesday, after which its share price plunged by 35 per cent, closing at £2.85.

The focus of the event was to explain its THG Ingenuity business to investors and set out its 2030 sustainability strategy.

On Wednesday, THG issued a statement saying it knew of "no notifiable reason" for the share price tumble and that it had not declared any material new information at the event.  "The group also has a very strong liquidity position as it enters its peak trading season, with available cash as at 30 September of £700m", it said. MF.

Currys boss eyes high street bargain

The mixed bag of brands that operated under the Dixons Carphone umbrella will disappear this month, with the Carphone Warehouse, Currys PC World and Team Knowhow brands being phased out as it operates under a unified Currys brand.

This is one way of drawing a line under the hapless merger between Dixons and Carphone Warehouse, which was agreed in 2014 at a valuation of £3.8 billion. At the time, the combined business had a network across the UK and Ireland of almost 1,400 stores.

After various restructurings and reorganisations that saw the standalone Carphone Warehouse retail arm and the Dixons Travel airports businesses being culled, that number now stands at just over 300. The group’s valuation has similarly shrunk and the business is now worth £1.4bn.

The company has clearly underperformed. Revenues of £10.3bn in the year to April 30 were lower than they were four years ago and it only just managed to eke out a £12m small profit after a couple of years of heavy losses. This covered a lockdown period where purchases of laptops, tablets and other electronic equipment was so strong that it has triggered a worldwide chip shortage.

Liberum Capital argued in a note on Monday that the sell-off in the company’s shares has been overdone, though, and it is now “far too cheap”. Currys’ Nordics business alone generated underlying earnings of £151m last year. At a10-times price-to-earnings multiple this would value it at more than £1.5bn, meaning investors are getting a UK and Irish business with a £5bn turnover making a 4 per cent margin “for free”, it argued.

Chief executive Alex Baldock clearly agrees, having purchased more than £100,000 worth of shares on October 4.

However, given its recent record, both investors and customers may need longer to be convinced that the changes taking place at the business are more than cosmetic. MF.

Buys    
CompanyDirector/PDMRDatePrice (p)Aggregate value (£)
AlphawaveVictoria Hull01 Oct 21255199,999
CurrysAlex Baldock04 Oct 21122100,012
Digital 9 InfrastructureJack Waters (ch)01 Oct 2110821,500
FergusonCatherine Halligan30 Sep 21139 †20,498
HiscoxBronek Masojada (ce)01 Oct 21837125,550
MoonpigKate Swann (ch)06 Oct 21287199,086
NB Private EquityJohn Falla07 Oct 211,55831,162
Real Estate Credit InvestmentsBob Cowdell (ch)04 Oct 2115524,800
Oberon Investments Robert Hanson (ch)06 Oct 217102,180
RELXAndrew Sukawaty05 Oct 212,170 (ADRs) †217,000
SeverfieldKevin Whiteman (ch)05 Oct 217650,002
Smiths GroupJohn Shipsey (PDMR)*04 Oct 211,44299,495
Smiths GroupNoel Tata04 Oct 211,43528,700
Tate & LyleGerry Murphy (ch)04 Oct 2168368,380
Tate & LyleWarren Tucker04 Oct 2168349,736
Tate & LyleKimberley Nelson04 Oct 212,770 (ADRs) †30,465
Taylor WimpeyJitesh Ghadia06 Oct 21149104,296
TheWorks.co.ukCarolyn Bradley (ch)06 Oct 214749,651
THGZillah Byng-Thorne06 Oct 2140849,670
THGIain McDonald05 Oct 21423105,748
Tiziana Life SciencesGabriele Cerrone (ch)1 Oct-5 Oct 215079,350
TP ICAPNicolas Breteau06 Oct 2114931,248
Sells    
CompanyDirector/PDMRDatePrice (p)Aggregate value (£)
Brooks McDonaldRobin Eggar (PDMR)30 Sep 212,45095,795
City of London InvestmentBarry Olliff06 Oct 21550166,304
CreightonsPaul Forster04 Oct 2111032,995
EKF Diagnostics HoldingsChristopher Mills (ch)01 Oct 21841,071,000
Keystone LawRobin Williams (ch)05 Oct 2182024,600
Keystone LawWilliam Robins (PDMR)04 Oct 21820315,700
Quartix TechnologiesLaura Seffino (PDMR)05 Oct 2147397,533
S&U Christopher Redford*05 Oct 212,88057,600
*Spouse/Family/Close Associate. † Converted from US$. NB: In issue 8 Oct, the sell listed for P Roy of S4 Capital was both a buy/sell. His holding was unchanged.