Directors dip into cement buys as share prices fall

Concrete plays by insiders grab attention amid announcements of falls in company earnings

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 August, 2012, 5:14am

Company directors bought fewer shares and sold more stock in their own firms between August 20 and August 24, based on filings made to the stock exchange.

A total of 17 companies reported 78 insider purchases by directors worth HK$37.1 million versus five companies that reported 17 disposals worth HK$14.9 million.

The buy figures were down from the previous week's 23 companies and 88 purchases worth HK$340.6 million, while on the sell side, the number of companies and trades was up from the previous week's three companies and three disposals. The value of disposals, however, was sharply down from the previous week's sales worth HK$117 million.

While buying by directors slowed during the reporting period, buy-back activity by listed companies picked up, with 13 companies posting 63 repurchases worth HK$92 million.

That was sharply up from the previous week's seven companies and 29 repurchases, although the value of the trades was down from the previous week's buy-back total of HK$164.6 million.

Cement plays took the spotlight with buys recorded in West China Cement, Asia Cement (China), and China Shanshui Cement.

The acquisitions were made on the back of sharp drops in their share prices and announcements of steep falls in earnings this month.

Chairman Zhang Jimin recorded his first on-market trades in cement producer West China Cement since July 2011, with 3.628 million shares bought from August 16 to 21 at an average of HK$1.20 each - below the stock's IPO price of HK$1.69. The trades raised his holdings to 1.7485 billion shares, or 38.45 per cent of the issued capital.

The acquisitions were made on the back of a 39 per cent drop in the share price since May from HK$1.97.

The purchases were also made after the company announced a 64.57 per cent drop in first-half profit on August 15, to 148.454 million yuan (HK$181.66 million).

Chief executive Chiang Shao Ruey-huey recorded her first on-market trade in cement manufacturer Asia Cement (China) since the stock was listed in May 2008, buying 32,500 shares on August 22 at HK$3.05 each.

The trade raised her holdings to 532,500 shares, or 0.03 per cent of the issued capital. The purchase was made on the back of a 27 per cent drop in the share price since February from HK$4.20.

Chiang's firm also bought more shares of mainland cement producer China Shanshui Cement, with a purchase-related filing on August 16 of three million shares at HK$4.18 each.

The trade raised its holdings to 225.899 million shares, or 8.02 per cent of the issued capital.

The stock closed at HK$4.20 on Friday.

Robert Halili is managing director of Asia Insider