Directors' share-buying spree stretches into fifth straight week
Department store operator, blue-chip utilities and property group among insider trades
Directors' purchases of shares in their own companies rose for a fifth straight week and selling fell, based on filings to the stock exchange for the holiday-shortened week of March 25 to 28.
A total of 23 companies recorded 102 purchases worth HK$504 million versus nine companies that reported 20 disposals worth HK$14.7 million. The number of companies and purchases were up from the previous week's five-day totals of 22 companies and 86 trades, while the value was not far off the previous week's acquisitions valued at HK$540 million.
The number of sales transactions and their value was sharply down from the previous week's 44 disposals worth HK$49 million.
On the buy side, chairman Michael Kadoorie and non-executive director Ronald McAulay picked up 5.93 million CLP Holdings shares worth HK$399 million from March 21 to 26 at an average price of HK$67.36 each. The trades raised insider purchases in the utility company since February 26 to 28.1 million shares worth HK$1.885 billion at an average of HK$67.00 each.
The acquisitions in the past five weeks accounted for 26 per cent of the blue chip's trading volume.
Blue-chip utility Hong Kong and China Gas also reported insider purchases, with non-executive director Poon Chung-kwong picking up 60,000 shares on March 22 at HK$22.25 each. The trade increased his holdings by 113 per cent to 113,000 shares and was made on the back of a 45 per cent rise in the share price since October 2011 from HK$15.31.
Buyback activity by companies was also higher, with 10 companies reporting 60 repurchases worth HK$634 million. The buybacks included purchases by Agile Property and Golden Eagle Retail Group made following steep falls in their share prices since January.
Golden Eagle received extra price support as its chairman also bought shares last week.
Mainland real estate developer Agile Property recorded its first buyback since September 2011, with 2.1 million shares bought on March 27 at HK$9.32 each. The trade could be the start of another heavy buyback programme as the group previously acquired 296 million shares worth HK$1.65 billion from September 2008 to September 2011 at an average of HK$5.58 each with an average of HK$413 million of repurchases per year during that period.
Mainland department store operator Golden Eagle Retail, along with its chairman, Roger Wang Hung, moved in to support its shares after the stock fell by as much as 32 per cent from HK$19.96 in January, with a combined 8.92 million shares bought from March 25 to 28 at an average of HK$14.09 each. The trades accounted for 32 per cent of the stock's trading volume.
Wang bought 3.7 million shares from March 25 to 26 at an average of HK$14.36 each, which increased his holdings to 1.334 billion shares, or 68.99 per cent of the issued capital. The company bought back 5.23 million shares from March 25 to 28 at HK$14.30 to HK$13.66 each.
Robert Halili is managing director of Asia Insider