Another  choppy week in stock markets has again seen a wave of directors buying shares in their companies.

Two of the biggest buyers this week involve directors at FTSE 100 companies Micro Focus (MCRO) and Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCH).

NEW MICRO FOCUS CHAIR BUYS MORE SHARES

Greg Lock, non-executive chairman of software giant Micro Focus, and his wife Rosemary, snapped up buy 238,500 shares at 368.39p and 362.9p, worth just under £875,000 in total.

It comes after they bought £1.5m worth of shares back in February at 737p each when Lock took over as chairman.

The latest transaction could be seen as something of a bargain with the shares having fallen around 80% in the year-to-date, though analysts at UBS have warned of a ‘long and difficult road ahead’ for the company with its restructuring likely to dent profits for the time being.

COCA-COLA HBC DIRECTORS BUY AFTER 40% DECLINE

While at Coca-Cola HBC, non-executive chairman Anastassis David bought 27,780 shares at around £16.36 each for a total of £454,000, with two other non-executive directors also buying up shares.

Shares in the Coca-Cola bottler have dropped around 40% since the coronavirus crisis began.

In a trading update last week, the company conceded it has been affected by severe lockdowns in Italy and other countries in central and southern Europe.

Demand in the ‘out of home’ channel has been ‘severely affected’ the company said, adding that in these markets, ‘out of home’ represents around 35-40% of sales.

But it added that it is ‘looking at cost-saving measures and reassessing marketing and capex investments’, and that such actions will ‘help to support our profitability.’

CRANSWICK CHAIR OFFLOADS MAJOR STAKE

Meanwhile, a notable seller of shares in the past week has been Martin Davey, chairman of sausage maker Cranswick (CWK), who sold 29% of his holding along with his wife for personal financial planning purposes.

Davey disposed of 34,000 shares at £35.30 each for a total of £1.2m while his wife Linda sold 36,000 at the same price, totalling £1.3m.

Cranswick shares have actually gained in the year to date, with analysts expecting the company to trade well in the weeks ahead as more people keep their fridges stocked thanks to the closure of pubs and restaurants.

Analysts at Peel Hunt have estimated that with such outlets closed, people in the UK could spend up to £1bn extra a week on home food.

For a full list of the week’s most significant trades, click here.

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Issue Date: 02 Apr 2020