Wetherspoon chairman tops up

A round-up of the biggest director deals today so far.

Wetherspoon's chairman Tim Martin has topped up his stake in the pub group, with the purchase of more than £700,000 worth of shares, the company revealed today.

He took 300,000 shares at 239.6p a time and now holds about 33.5m shares, or just less than 24% in the company. His latest purchase comes after sharp falls in the company's share price.

On January 7, Martin forked out nearly £1m for a smaller stake, taking 297,127 shares at 333.9p a time.

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In March, he warned that the introduction of the smoking ban resulted in a strong growth in food sales but a decline in bar sales, putting pressure on margins and profits.

The company has also been squeezed by a combination of higher input costs and reduced consumer confidence.

In a third quarter trading update released 29 April, the group said it anticipated continuing pressure on the operating margin in the second half as a result of higher marketing, food, and labour costs.

Like for like sales for the 39 weeks to 27 April fell 1.5%, but overall sales rose by 1.5%.

"The market for bar sales remains challenging and the company continues to be cautious in the short term," said the group.

Directors at Kingspan spent a combined total of more than €400,000 on shares in the Irish building products supplier yesterday.

Peter Wilson, managing director of the group's insulation business, bought 40,000 shares in the company for €6.05 each. The purchase brings his holding in the County Cavan-based company to 217,656 shares, which is just over 0.1% of the company.

Russell Shiels, who is responsible for the group's access floors and insulated panels businesses in North America, bought 30,000 shares in the company at just over €6.18 a share, taking his holding to 337,330 shares.

Shares in Kingspan have slipped since it reported tough trading in line with a difficult housing market in the UK and Ireland on 15 May.

Wilson paid €7.50 a share for 50,000 shares in the company in April.

Top Director Buys

Banco Santander Central Hispano (BNC)

Director name: Mr Abel Matutes Juan

Amount purchased: 400,000 @ 989.00p

Value: £3,956,000

JD Wetherspoon (JDW)

Director name: Mr Timothy Martin

Amount purchased: 300,000 @ 239.60p

Value: £718,800

Kingspan Group (KGP)

Director name: Mr Peter Wilson

Amount purchased: 40,000 @ € 6.05

Value: € 242,000

Amino Technologies (AMO)

Director name: Mr Robert J Giddy

Amount purchased: 216,181 @ 55.00p

Value: £118,900

Redhall Group (RHL)

Director name: Mr Ian P Butcher

Amount purchased: 40,000 @ 288.50p

Value: £115,400

London Stock Exchange Group (LSE)

Director name: Mr Doug Webb

Amount purchased: 10,660 @ 913.20p

Value: £97,347

Workspace Group (WKP)

Director name: Mr Anthony (Tony) J Hales

Amount purchased: 50,000 @ 166.20p

Value: £83,100

Getmobile Europe (GETM)

Director name: Mr Sven Schreiber

Amount purchased: 50,000 @ 128.00p

Value: £64,000

Widney (WDNY)

Director name: Mr Joseph Grimmond

Amount purchased: 600,000 @ 9.50p

Value: £57,000

H.R. Owen (HRO)

Director name: Mr Brendan Moynahan

Amount purchased: 50,000 @ 110.50p

Value: £55,250

Top Director Sells

Redhall Group (RHL)

Director name: Mr David Jackson

Amount sold: 640,000 @ 288.50p

Value: £1,846,400

Amino Technologies (AMO)

Director name: Mr Robert J Giddy

Amount sold: 1,029,116 @ 55.00p

Value: £566,014

Aegis Group (AGS)

Director name: Mr Adrian Chedore

Amount sold: 197,000 @ 123.80p

Value: £243,886

BBA Aviation (BBA)

Director name: Mr Simon Pryce

Amount sold: 24,163 @ 135.30p

Value: £32,693