Founder and chief executive of household appliance seller AO World (AO.), John Roberts, has upped his stake in the FTSE 250 firm after buying another £1.5 million worth of shares.

Roberts, who set up AO in 2000, bought around 882,000 shares earlier this week at an average price of 168.9p each, and now holds a 22.8% stake.

It comes after a strong period for the online retailer, which has gained considerable market share since lockdown came into force, with its share price surging.


AO World has been the best performing retail stock this year, with its share price doubling in the year to date, and more than trebling from the 50p low it hit on 23 March as lockdown began in the UK.

It’s worth noting the share price rise has come from a low base however, with AO World having continually disappointed the stock market since joining in 2014.

But investors have been taking interest in the business since May when it said it had grown market share with increased demand and sales since lockdown.

Its results for the year to March, published earlier in July, also showed double-digit gains in revenue and adjusted earnings, while the business also managed to swing to a small reported pre-tax profit compared to a loss the year before.


Meanwhile Andy Skelton, the chief financial officer of power generator Drax (DRX), has piled in to his company's shares and bought another 60,902  for 272p each, worth around £165,000 in total. Skelton now owns 142,976 shares in the firm.

The company’s share price has bounced back strongly since the market low in March and is now up marginally year to date.

Drax reported a £61 million pre-tax loss for the first half of 2020 on Wednesday, after taking a £44 million hit due to the coronavirus.

It said the coronavirus-related loss came mainly from its customer business, which sells power, gas and energy services to small to medium-sized (SME) companies.

But the hit failed to dampen investor enthusiasm with its shares continuing to rise. The company, which has the capacity to provide electricity to around 13 million homes, saw stronger generation from its biomass plants, up 16% compared with the first half of 2019 to 7.4 terawatt hours.


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Issue Date: 31 Jul 2020