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TRG concessions

The Restaurant Group (RTN, 135p) keeps hitting the radar screen. This is the owner of Garfunkels, Frankie and Bennys, Chiquito, as well as many other brands and concessions, owning over 300 restaurants in the UK.

It hits the screen on director purchases, but also because these purchases are in a sector highly vulnerable to a fall in consumer confidence. And lastly, it scores highly due to the unusually high number of directors buying shares.

Five executive directors, the Non Exec Chairman, and the Company Secretary have over the last month put £400k to work in Restaurant Group shares.

Andrew Page, who was wise (not lucky, surely) enough to execrise an option and sell 650,000 shares at 351p in March last year, is now starting to buy back at less than half the price. Page has increased his position in Restaurant by about 60% over the last two weeks, buying 147,000 shares at between 140p and 147p.

Other directors who have participated in purchases are Bacon, Corzine, Morgan, Critoph, and Richardson, increasing their positions by between 15 and 50%.

Nick Salmon- Cookson CEO Mike Butterworth- Cookson CFO

Mike Butterworth, CFO, and Nick Salmon, CEO, of Cookson Group PLC (CKSN, 614p) yet again put their money where their mouth is.

Cookson on Tuesday declared in line results for 2007, with a confident outlook for 2008.

Butterworth and Salmon have been consistent buyers of the stock over the last three years. They last bought in March 2007, which prompted me to pick up some stock too. From March to October Cookson outperformed the FTSE250 by 40%. Since June 2005 Cookson were up 130% vs the FTSE250 up 60%, until October 2007. They’ve given up all this outperformance over the three months to January 2008.

The fact that Butterworth and Salmon have increased their holdings in Cookson by 90% and 45% respectively, gives me the confidence to buy some more for myself.

This is not a short term trade, ahead of news, but a longer term ‘invest alongside the management’ which has worked for me before.

Caveat: I’ve just read the statement from the company, not disclosed in the stock exchange statement, which shows this purchase to be part of the long term incentive plan. Under this plan, Butterworth and Salmon get ‘matching shares’ which means that essentially they’ve bought this stock at under 300p. So substantially lower risk to them than buying them at 590p (like you or I would have to).

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