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John Jackson, Non Exec Director of The Restaurant Group (RTN, 157p), and CEO of Jamie Oliver Holdings Limited, prompted us to reiterate our positive signal on The Restaurant Group shares when he tripled his holding on October 20th by buying 200,000 shares at 104p (‘The Restaurant Group Non Exec trebles holding‘).

In March 2008 five directors invested gbp 400k, increasing their positions by between 15 and 50%. This prompted us to view the signal from director dealings as Positive, and of high value (‘STRONG’). See our March 14th comment: ‘Consumer stocks at risk? Not TRG according to directors’.

Jackson this week (May 8th) sold ALL his holding in The Restaurant Group, 300,000 shares, at 161.84p.

This share sale causes us to take profits on The Restaurant Group.

Share performance since March 14th 2008: Shares are up 14% absolute, or up 42% relative to the index (FTSE 250).

Share performance since October 22nd 2008: Shares are up 34% absolute or 10% relative.

View on The Restaurant Group: Negative

Strength of Signal: Medium

For all comments on The Restaurant Group click here.

The Restaurant Group (RTN, 117p) has outperformed the FT Small Cap by 20%, or the FT All Share by 15% since it was written up here on March 14th : ‘Consumer stocks at risk? Not TRG according to directors‘.

When impressive interim results were announced in August, analysts warned of the impact of cost pressures on the group: ‘Frankie and Bennys profits surge comes with a warning’ (Scotsman 30/8/08). Maybe with collapsing commodity prices those cost pressures are now turning into benefits?

Our opinion on The Restaurant Group remains positive, and is reinforced by the purchase of 200,000 shares at 104.2p on Monday October 20th by John Jackson, a non executive Director, trebling his holding to 300,000 shares.

Opinion on Restaurant Group: Positive

Strength of Signal: Remains STRONG

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%.

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