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At 52p this time last year the Telegraph tipped Ennstone (ENN, 27.5p) as a possible bid candidate. It compared the valuation of Ennstone, the ‘last London listed aggregates company left in Britain’ with the then recent acquisition of Hanson at 12.5x ebitda (vs Ennstone at the time at 8.5x ebitda).

They went on to comment that ‘Altium, the house broker, estimates that the share price is only marginally above the company’s underlying asset value.’ (link to Telegraph article of 26/5/07)

For me Ennstone shares right now stand out by trading up on the day, while stocks in the same sector (building materials) plummet over belated concerns about UK housebuilding (capitulation stage?).

Now at 27.5p, Ennstone are trading at half the price of a year ago. Would you find that attractive?

It seems some of the directors at Ennstone do, in particular Eric Gadsden, a non executive deputy chairman. Gadsden since November has bought 2.75m shares between 40p in November and 27p on Monday, taking his holding to 3.8m shares.

I don’t think this is a ‘bid tomorrow’ situation, as there aren’t enough directors buying shares. But I do think it wise in the long term to follow Gadsdens lead.

Signal strength- WEAK (only one director buying)

On March 23rd (BXB A$9.63) I expressed intrigue that a director of Brambles (BXB, 380p), Craig van der Laan, should be selling. See ‘Brambles directors sale- economic slowdown starting to hit?’.

On April 18th (BXB A$9.03) Brambles shares ‘slump’ by 10% after an admission that the supply agreement with Walmart was under review (see Bloomberg news here).

Today (June 2nd) (BXB A$8.10) Brambles declare that van der Laan (Group President of CHEP Asia Pacific) has been selling more shares. Over 26th and 30th May he sold 255,000 shares (in his wifes name) to reduce his holding even further, to 368,000 shares.

June 24th (BXB A$ ??) – Brambles have a scheduled ‘Trading update’. We should expect to be updated on the ‘Walmart contract’. I wonder if van der Laan has any insight into what Brambles will tell us ?

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