Airlines have soared since the value rally started in November as the vaccine rollout fuels optimism over those all-important summer holidays, but a recent share sale by Wizz Air (WIZZ) chairman Bill Franke suggests the easy money in such stocks might already have been made.
Franke, an 83-year-old veteran of aviation investing who became Wizz Air chairman in 2004, has sold around half his 17.5% stake in the budget airline, offloading over 7.6 million shares at £52 each in two deals worth a combined £400 million.
Given his status and experience in the world of aviation investing, when someone like Franke takes money off the table it could be informative, and could signal uncertainties about the pace of the vaccine rollout in Europe.
SKIN IN THE GAME
From a share price point of view, Wizz Air has weathered the pandemic the best out of all its rivals, trading around 25% above its pre-pandemic level, with rival Ryanair (RYA) the next best with a 10% rise over its pre-pandemic level.
However, it’s worth noting that Franke still has plenty of skin in the game at Wizz Air. In addition to his remaining 8.5% stake, Franke holds bonds that could convert into 17.5 million shares, which is still a very significant exposure to a sector which has been largely grounded and still has many uncertainties ahead.
GREGGS CHIEF SELLS DOWN
Roger Whiteside, the chief executive of Greggs (GRG), sold over 100,000 shares this week at prices of £20.98 and £20.88 each, in deals worth a combined £2.1 million.
It comes after the food-on-the-go firm reported its first ever loss as a listed business after Covid-19 lockdowns crunched sales during the financial year to 2 January 2021.
However, the retailer has also highlighted a better-than-expected start to 2021 and said it was seeing ‘an improving trend each week’ despite the persistence of lockdown conditions across the UK.
Tadeu Marroco, finance director of cigarette and vaping products maker British American Tobacco (BATS), bought 10,600 shares in the business this week at a price of £28.30 each in a deal worth around £300,000.
The firm recently beat market expectations with its full year results for 2020, though it flagged an uncertain outlook for 2021 after warning of a likely currency headwind of ‘around 7%’ on earnings per share growth this year.
For a full list of the week’s most significant trades, click here.