Slow off the mark

Trades yet to re­ally stir in 2011

Finweek English Edition - - COMPANIES & MARKETS - MARC HASEN­FUSS marc.hasen­fuss@fin­week.co.za

IT WAS A RATHER quiet week on the di­rec­tors’ deal­ings front, with ex­ec­u­tives of scarcely a dozen listed com­pa­nies trad­ing shares. Even though the hol­i­day mood is rapidly evap­o­rat­ing, there are prob­a­bly quite a few (end-De­cem­ber/end-June) com­pa­nies in closed pe­ri­ods, which pre­clude di­rec­tors from trad­ing in their shares.

But As­sore’s tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Phillip Crous left it quite late, snuck­ing in 1 000 of these rather rare shares at R192/ share. Tech­ni­cal peo­ple can oc­ca­sion­ally be ab­sent-minded, which prob­a­bly ex­plains why Crous snapped up those shares on 30 De­cem­ber last year but only dis­closed the trade on 12 Jan­uary this year.

How­ever, Crous doesn’t need to feel bad. Ex­pe­ri­enced di­rec­tor Rick Cot­trell only dis­closed this month small (very small) trades in Glen­rand MIB that ac­tu­ally took place in May last year.

The trans­ac­tions were un­der­taken by a bro­ker, con­trary to the in­struc­tions of Cot­trell. Tsk, tsk…

But let’s move on to more mean­ing­ful mat­ters. Per­haps the most telling bout of buy­ing – es­pe­cially for those hear­ing listed prop­erty (which had a vi­brant 2010) will only trun­dle along this year – came from Frank Berkeley, a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at Acu­cap Prop­er­ties. Berkeley grabbed 51 000 Acu­caps at 3500c/share in a trans­ac­tion worth al­most R1,8m. A few more di­rec­tors of real es­tate list­ings buy­ing with that kind of vigour would present a fairly con­vinc­ing ar­gu­ment for an­other pretty year for listed prop­erty.

Other smaller – but no less sig­nif­i­cant bouts of buy­ing – in­cluded a trio of di­rec­tors at Namib­ian fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pany Trustco, and Wil­liam Bat­ter­shill, chair­man of BSI Steel, tak­ing flut­ters.

The buy­ing by the Trustco di­rec­tors is rather in­trigu­ing, as the com­pany’s shares – af­ter an in­sipid start – have sparked on the JSE’s new Africa board. One might have thought the shares had al­ready run a tad hard…

While the sight of di­rec­tors’ buy­ing is sup­posed to give in­vestors pos­i­tive pause for thought about value, Fin­week sus­pects more than a few read­ers may draw less op­ti­mistic con­clu­sions from two big sales in pri­vate health­care group Net­care and spe­cial­ist bank Capitec.

Vic­tor Lith­lakanyane off­loaded 150 000 Net­care shares at 1560c/share to cash in a hand­some R2,3m; while Mer­lyn Mehl dis­posed off 10 000 Capitec shares at R168,95/ share to re­alise around R1,7m.

Who could fault both for light­en­ing their re­spec­tive stakes, with both Net­care and Capitec hov­er­ing near their 12-month highs?

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