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Wow- ‘Liberty undermined by fundraising chatter’ (Independent)’ (LII, 365p)

Sounds very underhand to me.

But wait – only a month ago, Liberty International announced results and said they ‘intend to take further action to improve our liquidity and financial strength, including potential further asset sales and new capital raising’ (February 26th Liberty International Preliminary Results announcement).

Judging by the share price since then, the bears have been covering their shorts (Liberty up 15% from Feb 25th to last night, FTSE unchanged) , and we are reminded through market gossip that the capital raising is imminent.

The cynic in me says that Goldman are not involved, hence the move to a SELL with a target of 302p (Independent article). Where were you Goldman when the price was near 1000p in August last year, and senior management of Liberty were selling shares?

Since our note on August 31st (link below), Liberty International are down 62% in absolute terms, or down 44% relative to the FTSE 100 index.

The ‘directors selling’ signal was reinforced in January 2009, when we saw Harold Newton and William Black selling shares.

Hopefully all will be revealed in the next few weeks, maybe as soon as the Company’s EGM on April 1st (EGM notice here).

Look for opportunities to close the negative view on Liberty International below 300p.

Click here for all Followthedirectors comments on Liberty International:

January 11th, 522p: Liberty International shares continue to be vulnerable

August 31st, 984p: Liberty International- PDMR selling

February 20th, 958p:Liberty Internationals Gordon buys shares. So what.


Capital and Regional (CAL, 199p) get a great rap for their news of an ‘overhaul of its banking covenants and significantly reduced overall debt levels’ , see Telegraph article here.

It should come as no surprise then to find management confident and buying shares, having been extensive sellers in 2006 and 2007.

From October 2006 to May 2008, Kenneth Ford, Head of the shopping centre portfolio, sold 210,000 shares, realising about £1.2 million. That’s an average price of around £6 per share. He actually sold as high as £15.30p in April last year, not far off the stocks high of £16.95p in February 2007.

This week Ford bought 50,000 shares at 184.9p, taking his position to 606,000 shares.

Tom Chandos, Non exec Chairman bought 40,000 at the same price, doubling his holding to 80,000 shares, and Hugh Scott-Barratt, the CEO, bought 50,000 shares at 183.5p, a 1/3rd increase in his position to 200,000 shares.

So decent size purchases in £ terms, an average increase in holdings of more than 40%, and three directors buying. Yes I agree that Ford especially has a lot of earlier sales proceeds to commit, but I think these purchases herald the beginning of the end of the ‘fear’ period for Capital and Regional.

Signal strength: MEDIUM, with potential to upgrade pending further ££ purchases by directors.

We’ve looked at, reported on, and acted on recent property sector ‘insiders’ activity (click on ‘real estate’ tag to the left).

Now Anthony Bolton, guru portfolio manager, tells us he is doing the same thing, namely buying property stocks. Follow this link to The Times article. 

Bolton has an awesome reputation, so please listen to him.

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