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3i Groups (III, 820.5p) CEO Philip Rea has ample experience in dealing in his companys shares. Experience that is worth noting.

In May/June 2006 he bought 30,000 shares at an average price of 830p

In August 2007 he sold 76,203 shares at 1070p.

And now, on March 4th 2008, he is seen buying 60,000 shares at 809p

In the Interim management Statement of January 24th, Yea stated: ‘Our mid-market position and the depth of our international network have allowed us to continue to source good investment opportunities notwithstanding the more difficult economic outlook.’

If there is one person who knows what is going on on the ground, in terms of the economic performance of the companies 3i have invested in, then it’s Rea.

Reas purchase of 60,000 shares takes him to 336,000 shares, so this is what I would deem a significant investment in proportion to his current holding in the company. I’d like to see a few other directors lifting their stakes too.

But because Rea has his ear to the ground, I see this as a vote of confidence not only in 3i, but also in the broader market.

For all posts on 3i click here.

Alison Carnwath last Friday invested just shy of £1m in Land Securities (LAND, 1580p). Carnwath (bio) has held the position of non exec director since April 2004, and this appears to be her first major purchase in that time.

Alison Carnwath- Land Securities Non exec.

Previous insiders buying Lands shares have included Myners (non exec Chairman), Ellis (Executive Director) and Salway (CEO), who all bought back in July last year, at prices only about 10% higher than today.

The real estate sector is up about 11% since its low in mid November, when we started to comment on directors buys in the sector, whereas the FT All Share index has fallen by 4%.

If you look at the ratio of net activity in the sector, net buys (above £50k) number 26 companies in the sector now, versus net sells (above £50k) only four, taken over the last three months. This in itself remains a pretty strong signal to stay invested in the real estate sector.

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March 2008