One of the most notable director deals over the past week comes from motor insurer Sabre Insurance (SBRE), whose chief executive and chief financial officer both sold a chunk of shares.

Chief executive Geoffrey Carter sold over 140,000 shares this week at a price of 260p each in two separate transactions worth a combined £370,000, while chief financial officer Adam Westwood sold around 70,000 shares at the same price to net a cool £180,000.

SABRE SHARES STILL BELOW PRE-PANDEMIC LEVEL

Sabre shares are still significantly below their pre-pandemic level, with its full-year numbers last month coming in below forecasts as lockdowns dented premiums.

Pre-tax profits in the year to 31 December 2020 were £49.1 million, down on the previous year’s £56.5 million and around 6% below what analysts had expected.

Gross written premiums fell to £173.2 million from £197 million, a bigger decline than expected, while the combined ratio was 75.3%, against 73.4% the year before, with analysts looking for a figure of around 73%.

The combined ratio measures the costs of paying claims and administration costs as a percentage of written premiums. A number below 100% equates to an underwriting profit.

Sabre said lockdowns meant there were fewer cars on the road, leading to fewer accidents and a lower cost of claims. Premiums were discounted to reflect expected savings, reducing the premium available in the market. Revenues were also hit by fewer people either buying new cars or learning to drive.

OTHER DEALS

Christopher Bogart, the chief executive of litigation finance provider Burford Capital (BUR:AIM), and chief investment officer Jonathan Molot have each bought 38,620 shares in the business at prices of $9.94 to $10.09 per share, in transactions over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week totaling over £770,000.

The week before Bogart and Molot each bought over 77,600 shares. Bogart now has 9.2 million shares and Molot 9.8 million.

Burford shares have recovered to back above their pre-pandemic level, but still trade significantly lower than the £15 they traded at two years ago just before being targeted by a short seller, accusing Burford of ‘egregiously misrepresenting its return on capital.

Duncan Painter, a non-executive director at ITV (ITV), has bought around 82,000 shares in the broadcaster at a price of 121p each in a deal worth just under £100,000.

ITV is a running shares Great Idea, and is seen as a big beneficiary of a reopening of the economy as advertising spend should increase.

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

Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account.

Issue Date: 15 Apr 2021