Join our community of smart investors

Big director share deals this week

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

Gas company director cashes in as value inflates

Gas producers were already trading strongly when Energean (ENOG) announced a new sales agreement and discovery earlier this month, sending its shares even higher. At the same time, forecasts for elevated gas prices for the rest of the year mean producers have enjoyed some of the biggest gains this year of any UK-listed companies as investors have sold off most other sectors aggressively.

The gas price has remained high even with warmer weather hitting Europe and the European Union allowing Russian gas exports to continue.

While slightly divorced from this volatile market through locked-in forward sales deals at its Karish project – set to hit first gas by the end of September – Energean’s share price is up 59 per cent year-to-date, to 1,360p a share.

Its second-biggest individual shareholder, Stathis Topouzoglou, crystallised some of these gains through a £1.35mn share sale last week, at 1,306p a share. Energean declined to comment on the transaction. Topouzoglou, a founding partner of Energean and board member, holds 9.49 per cent of the company, according to FactSet – behind only chief executive Mathios Rigas (who owns 11.15 per cent) in the individual shareholder rankings.

The recent uptick in the share price can be linked to more supply being sold off from Karish and the Athena discovery, which is near to Karish and therefore could be connected to the floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) ship that will form the hub of the asset.

Energean is in the privileged position of being highly valued on future sales but also already has cash flow from its Egyptian and Italian assets, bought when gas prices were extremely low in 2019. While its price-to-earnings ratio is a high 20 times for the energy sector, using consensus 2022 reported earnings per share, this comes down to just 4 times when 2023’s earnings are plugged in. While any company bringing a major extraction project into production will face challenges, Energean seems like a solid buy. AH

Share price fall creates opening for Knights move

After two years of a post-pandemic boom, many companies were trading at valuations where even the slightest bit of bad news can lead to painful sell-offs.

Take Knights Group, for instance. The acquisitive law firm had continued to trade well throughout the pandemic and its shares opened this year at £4.10 – 182 per cent higher than its IPO price of 145p in in June 2018.

It only took a profit warning on March 22nd to dramatically change this, though. The company’s share price more than halved in a single day’s trading after it said weaker macroeconomic conditions and staff illnesses meant underlying profit for the year to April 30 would be marginally lower than the prior year. It also said growth for next year is likely to be more muted at about 5 per cent, compared to 9 per cent in the first half of its 2022 financial year.

The sell-off continued until 16h May, when the share price hit an all-time low of 91p. A recovery began three days later, though, when the firm confirmed its underlying full-year profit would be no lower than £18.1mn and its net debt position would be £2mn ahead of analysts’ forecasts at £29mn.

On the same day, it announced the £11.5mn acquisition of 130-year-old law firm Coffin Mew and revealed some hefty share purchasing from directors. Chief executive David Beech bought almost £1mn worth of shares, while dispute resolution partner Lisa Shacklock bought nearly £50,000 worth and CFO Kate Lewis just short of £40,000. These helped to lift nights Group’s share price back up to 140p by 20th May.

The hammering the share price has taken means that Knights trades at 7x FactSet consensus earnings, well below its five-year average of almost 18x.

However, the money being spent on Coffin Mew, which has four offices in south coast locations where Knights currently lacks a presence, will take its net debt-to-ebitda ratio to 1.5x. This will limit the scope for further deals, broker Peel Hunt said as it cut its price target on Knights’ shares to 230p, from 270p previously. MF

Buys    
CompanyDirector/PDMRDatePrice (p)Aggregate value (£)
4GlobalEloy Mazon *13-17 May 227346,154
Alphawave IPSehat Sutardja (PDMR) *17 May 22143714,950
Artemis ResourcesAlastair Clayton (PDMR)19 May 22226,200
Atalaya MiningMichael Rechsteiner (PDMR)19 May 2236449,138
AudioboomMichael Tobin17-19 May 221,546117,850
Augmentum FintechWilliam Russell17 May 2211923,800
Bank of Georgia Mel Carvill (ch) *13 May 221,274242,227
Brand ArchitektsRoger McDowell (ch)13-16 May 226760,000
Chapel DownRobert Smith (cfo)13 May 2243212,500
ChristieDavid Rugg (ch)16-17 May 2211322,520
ConduitStuart Quinlan (coo)12 May 22357124,775
ConvaTecJonny Mason (cfo)18 May 2222449,236
DarktracePoppy Gustafsson (ce)18 May 2233799,254
DarktraceJack Stockdale (PDMR)19 May 22328197,005
DarktraceGordon Hurst (ch)20 May 22369202,785
DP EurasiaShyam Bhartia/Hari Bhartia/Pratik Pota *13 May 225080,000
EqualsRichard Cooper (cfo)18 May 228728,917
EurocellMark Kelly (ce)12 May 2219274,254
EurocellMichael Scott (cfo)12 May 2219224,751
Fidelity Asian ValuesGraham Stott19 May 2243721,850
Flowtech FluidpowerAilsa Webb16-17 May 2212549,985
FutureZillah Byng-Thorne (ce) *18 May 221,91399,123
Gear4musicAndrew Wass (ce)16 May 2218592,500
Great Portland EstatesRichard Mully (ch)19 May 2264132,064
Gresham HouseSarah Ing18 May 2291636,636
HSBCDame Carolyn Fairbairn17 May 2250175,150
IG GroupJonathan Moulds19 May 223702,650
KnightsKate Lewis (cfo)19 May 2210339,899
KnightsLisa Shacklock (PDMR)19 May 2212049,986
Knights David Beech (ce)19 May 22107997,504
Marston'sWilliam Rucker (ch)19 May 2257114,140
MearsAndrew Smith (cfo)17 May 2219147,789
Ocean WilsonsFiona Beck19 May 2297038,800
Okyo PharmaGabriele Cerrone (ch) * / **16-19 May 22313 (ADS), 6 558,880  ††
Okyo PharmaGary Jacob (ce) **16 May 22320 (ADS) †40,075 †
Shoe Zone Terry Boot (cfo)20 May 2215237,875
Smurfit KappaIrial Finan (ch)19 May 223,034 †151,700 †
Smurfit KappaFrits Beurskens20 May 223,116 †60,762 †
SureserveNick Winks (ch)18 May 228420,938
TeamMark Clubb (ch) **12 May 2260168,873
TymanPaul Withers19 May 2226051,900
VodafoneMargherita Della Valle (cfo)18 May 22119129,095
VolexNat Rotschild (ch) *17-18 May 2225890,210
Sells    
CompanyDirector/PDMRDatePrice (p)Aggregate value (£)
AstraZenecaAradhana Sarin (cfo)19 May 225,168 (ADS) † 935,173 †
EnergeanEfstathios Topouzoglou11 May 221,3061,350,482
GoldplatGerard Anthony Kisbey-Green 6-19 May 228103,069
NicholsNick Yates (PDMR)18 May 221,44536,515
TBC BankNino Masurashvili (PDMR)18 May 221,371137,082
TescoMatt Simister (PDMR)17 May 22286346,113
TescoJason Tarry (PDMR)17 May 22286202,122
*Spouse/Family/Close Associate. ** placing / IPO  † Converted from € / $/ A$ †† combination of ADS and ordinary shares