Grindrod chairman nearly wipes out stake in company and colleagues also offloading
AFTER A BUYING SPREE throughout last year, directors at shipping company Grindrod seem to have completely reversed the positions they took in their company’s shares. This week chairman Ivan Clark, CE Alan Olivier and financial director Tony Stewart released a total of 2,2m shares at R36m (average 1598c/share) into the market. Clark accounted for 1,5m of those, while Olivier sold 500 000.
In April this year Clark offloaded 2,5m shares for R31m (1252c/share), while Olivier pocketed R7,2m after selling 500 000 Grindrod shares a few weeks later. Then Stewart shipped R4m to the bank after offloading 280 000 shares.
“There’s no specific reason for my selling Grindrod shares other than balancing my personal portfolio,” says Olivier. With more than 2m shares, he says he was overweight on Grindrod shares. Olivier couldn’t speak on behalf of his non-executive chairman, who couldn’t be contacted for comment.
Readers will remember that in December Clark pocketed R121m after selling 8m shares. That was to settle an unspecified debt obligation that had arisen two years previously. Grindrod’s annual report to December 2008 showed Clark held 12,3m shares, down from 13,9m in 2007. This year he’s offloaded 4m shares, a quarter of his holding.
Company secretary Craig Robertson confirms Clark still owns 8,3m shares in the shipping company he joined in 1977 and as a director since 1993. Olivier has now sold almost half his 2,3m shares he held in December.
Elsewhere, now that industrial company KAP International’s chairman Claas Daun has begun buying back the company’s shares, investors can wonder if this is another coincidence at the bottom of the market cycle.
That’s because when Daun began selling down his stake in the company in 2006 – ostensibly “to improve liquidity” – it was only a matter of time before the share embarked on a sustained downward spiral over the following two years. Those sales of around 24m shares were timed to coincide with the top of the market, at around 500c/ share. They were preceded by similarly timed
disposals during 2003, at around the 400c level. Those were again necessary “to comply with the JSE’s spread requirements”. It seems it was just another coincidence they were sold at the top of the market before a downturn to mid-2005.
Last week Daun bought 4m shares for R5,2m at the 130c level. That followed buying nearly 11m shares between March and May last year at around 200c/share. His new buy pushes Daun’s stake in KAP International, the firm he founded in 1993, closer to 46%. Daun is based in Germany and couldn’t be interviewed for this report.
However, what seems clear to anyone following his share trading is that Daun seems to know when to sell KAP. Whatever the reason that “forces” him to sell, it always “coincides” with the top of the market.
The other directors at KAP seem to often be on the wrong side of the market. CE Paul Schouten sold 1,2m shares at 130c apiece in March last year, and repeated that two months later. Then 1,6m shares were sold for 220c in May. That was exactly the time Daun was buying at those levels.
Daun’s colleague John Haveman also found himself buying 100 000 KAP shares at the 390c level in May 2006, a few months before Daun sold to “improve liquidity”. It seems KAP’s executives would do well to invest in “coincidence” lessons from their non-executive chairman.
In a Claas of his own. Claas Daun