Hills board members lay their own money on the line
No hang-ups: Four of the seven-member Hills board bought shares. Photo: Louie Douvis LDO
WITH an earnings downgrade, asset write-downs and the annual meeting out of the way, four of the seven-member Hills Holdings board this week bought shares at the lowest prices seen for two decades.
Ted Pretty, the new managing director, made it clear at the annual meeting he was putting the broom through the 66-year-old group, unveiling big write-downs, and cost reductions for the current and 2014 years.
The market nudged the scrip 13 per cent higher after those tidings and it was at those levels that chairman Jennifer Hill-Ling, David Spence, Peter Stancliffe and Pretty bought shares.
Not long after arriving on the scene Pretty bought 100,000 shares at $1.15; he's now paying 84¢.
A filing with the stock exchange yesterday revealed that apparently Perpetual doesn't like what it's seeing at Hills. Perpetual cut its stake from 6.6 per cent to 5.5 per cent and revealed in the process that it was flogging stock as low as 70¢ last month. This week it was still going, tipping shares out at about 85¢ apiece
Elsewhere, two directors of WAM Active, an investor, were buyers.
Geoffrey James Wilson and to a lesser extent Matthew Kidman stepped up to the plate and bought shares on the day that former director Ronald Walker disposed of his 8 per cent stake at a discount to the market price.
Walker joined the board in 2008; the shares improved about 2 per cent compound a year under his guidance.
Overall, the scorecard registered $2.4 million to $9.4 million in favour of sellers.
Andrew Brice - a non-executive director of Wotif.com - peeled off $4.7 million of scrip and he reminded observers he's still got 33 million shares.
Elsewhere, another moneybags, Kenneth Fowlie, disposed of some Slater & Gordon stock.
Brian Long went where some others feared to tread, and bought some Ten Network Holdings shares.
There was some more buying of Treasury Wine Estates stock. Michael Cheek opened his account with the purchase of 10,000 shares, joining Garry Hounsell, Lyndsey Cattermole and Paul Rayner who bought recently.