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Sir John Banham, Chairman of Johnson Matthey (JMAT, 1600p), yesterday bought 7400 shares at 1604p, investing £119,000 and taking his holding to 15400 shares.

Is this significant as a signal for investors?


First purchase that I can find for any director looking back to 2004.

First purchase by Banham since he was made Chairman in April 2006.

Decent size in £.

Doubles size of holding for Banham.


Sole buyer. Need to see other directors following Banhams lead by investing their own hard earned $$ before I invest in JMAT.

All the previous ‘acquisitions’ by directors have been through ‘Long Term Investment Plan’ options, whereby directors exercise the options and sell off around 40% to satisfy their tax liability.

So the jury remains out, but could change if/when we see other directors buying. As it stands, this is a WEAK SIGNAL.

Fiberweb (FWEB, 43.5p) are up 26% today (August 7) on the back of interim results demonstrating substantial benefits from cost cutting (Reuters results comment here).

In spite of this move, the CEO David Dayan and CFO David Abrams today bought 115,000 shares each at 43.11p.

This takes Dayan to 1,085,000 shares, and Abrams to 224,000 shares. So a significant % increase for CFO Abrams.

When I look back at historic buying, I find

  • CEO Abrams has bought almost 1m shares since October 2007 at between 43p and 56p
  • ALL six directors of the company have been buying shares. This is very unusual to have all the board investing like this.

And in my post of May 20th (‘Directors pile in after takeover talks collapse’ link here) I note that Fiberweb were also the subject of takeover talks which collapsed on April 23rd which resulted in the shareprice halving from near 60p to 30p.

To me this appears to be a very strong story: directors buying, cost cutting, potential takeover target.

The recent director buying activity means that Fiberweb stays on a STRONG signal.

Disclosure: I have a position in Fiberweb.

Addendum August 8th announcement by Fiberweb:

Richard Stillwell, Non-Executive Director of Fiberweb plc, purchased [on August 7th] 40,000 ordinary shares at a price of 43.5 pence per share. As a result of this transaction Mr Stillwell now beneficially owns 127,500 shares in Fiberweb.’

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August 2008