The new year is barely underway, but directors at WM Morrison Supermarkets (LSE: MRW) (NASDAQOTH: MRWSY.US), Boohoo.Com (LSE: BOO) and Utilitywise (LSE: UTW) have already waded into the market to buy shares in their own companies.
At what price did these directors splash the cash, and how much did they invest? Read on!
Andrew Higginson — a former Tesco finance chief and head of retailing services in the Terry Leahy golden era — joined Morrisons last October as Chairman-elect. And he has wasted no time in shaking up the UK’s fourth-largest supermarket.
Alongside Morrison’s recent Christmas trading update, the Board announced the sacking of chief executive Dalton Philips, with Higginson commenting that the company’s development “is best done under new leadership”.
On the same day, Higginson splashed out a cool half-million quid on a maiden purchase of shares, paying a bit over 186p a time. Clearly, the former Tesco man sees value in Morrisons, and it’s perhaps not stretching the imagination too much to think he may have some inkling of who the company’s new CEO might be.
If you want to follow Higginson’s lead, you’ll have to pay a little more for your shares now: they’re 193p, at the time of writing.
Online clothing retailer Boohoo was founded by savvy rag-trade veterans Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane in 2006, and floated on the stock market last year. The company has seen its share price plummet after issuing a shock profit warning following weaker-than-expected Christmas trading — yes, a 25% rise in revenue was weaker than expected!
Non-executive chairman Peter Williams and three other non-execs were quick to pile in after the big drop. Together the quartet invested over £133,000, buying 588,565 shares between them at prices between 22.25p and 23p.
As with Morrisons, you’ll have to pay a bit more than the directors paid for Boohoo’s shares, as they’re currently trading at 25.5p.
Consultancy Utilitywise, which helps businesses manage their energy and water costs, is another relative newcomer to the stock market, having been floated in 2012. Utilitywise has the backing of renowned fund manager Neil Woodford, whose fund holds 15% of the company’s shares.
Utilitywise’s chairman, chief executive and a non-executive director have all just upped their shareholdings. The chairman’s purchase was a modest one of less than £5,000 at 244p a share, but the chief exec and non-exec bought 142,000 shares between them at 246p a pop, for a total outlay of just under £350,000.
Again, this company’s shares have risen a bit since the directors bought; they’re changing hands for around 250p, as I write.