Interactive Investor

Insider: bosses spend over £1m on FTSE 100, AIM and Aston Martin

6th March 2023 08:41

by Graeme Evans from interactive investor

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Things are looking up for Aston Martin’s share price and its F1 team, and one director reckons they can do even better. Other chiefs are digging deep too, backing their firms to thrive.

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An Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Ordinary Shares (LSE:AML) director who doubled his money thanks to the luxury car maker’s recent FTSE 250 leading performance has made another purchase of shares.

Sir Nigel Boardman’s November investment worth £35,000 was near an all-time low of 90.6p after the company revealed delivery delays caused by a shortage of interior parts.

The shares have since rallied to finish last week at 240p, their highest level in nine months as momentum continued in the wake of Wednesday’s better-than-expected 2022 results.

A full-year loss of £118 million was well ahead of the £135 million City consensus, while the company said it expected significant growth in profitability this year and positive free cash flow in the second half.

Executive chairman Lawrence Stroll also stuck by a long-running target for around £2 billion revenue and £500 million of adjusted earnings by 2024/25.

He added: "As I have said before, I knew it would take multiple years to build Aston Martin into the world's most desirable ultra-luxury British performance brand. With the heavy lifting behind us, we are now poised to see the results of this transformation, starting in 2023.”

Analysts appear to be increasingly optimistic towards the stock with a series of price target hikes from the likes of JP Morgan, Barclays and Citigroup already this year.

The upgrades have contributed to Aston Martin shares rising 48% so far in 2023 and by 150% over the past three months as the Warwickshire-based company registered the fastest growth of any stock in the FTSE 250 index.

The price compares with 103p for new shares in September’s heavily discounted £650 million rights issue and the 1,900p in Aston Martin’s £4.3 billion stock market debut in October 2018.

Sir Nigel, who is sitting on a paper profit of £54,000 from his November investment, returned to the market on Thursday by spending £26,318 on more shares at a price of 219.7p. He has been a non-executive director on the Aston Martin board since October, having been a partner at the legal firm Slaughter & May from 1982 until 2019.

Among last week’s other director deals, the incoming chair of specialist insurance business Beazley (LSE:BEZ) spent £500,000 on shares ahead of starting in his new role next month.

The purchase by former Phoenix Group chief executive Clive Bannister was made after Thursday’s annual results sent the FTSE 100-listed stock sharply lower, even though Beazley hailed “a very strong” underwriting result for 2022 with a combined ratio of 89%.

Profits of $191 million (£159.3 million) were down 48% due to investment losses but the cyber security specialist continued its progressive dividend policy by lifting the payment planned for 28 April by 5% to 13.5p a share.

Bannister bought his shares at 635.7p, with Beazley ending the week at 643p compared with about 400p the same week a year ago. Jefferies last week raised its price target to 930p from 825p and JP Morgan highlighted 835p.

Peel Hunt, which has a price target of 710p, believes the outlook is positive for the Lloyd’s of London insurer but adds that shares are not cheap at 2.1 times 2023 net asset value.

Atome Energy (LSE:ATOM) boss Olivier Mussat has spent more than £750,000 doubling his stake in the AIM-listed green hydrogen and ammonia production company.

Mussat now owns 4% of Atome after buying 720,000 shares from chairman Peter Levine, who continues to be a major shareholder with a 24.2% stake.

Levine called Tuesday’s move a “significant demonstration” of Mussat’s personal commitment and one in the interests of all shareholders as Atome seeks to become a leader in its field.

The dealings took place at 106.2p a share, the same price as December’s fundraising when Atome generated £3.75 million for growth opportunities including its Villeta green ammonia project in Paraguay.

It said at the time its performance had been substantially beyond the expectations held in its December 2021 listing, when shares were priced at 80p as the first dedicated green hydrogen and ammonia production company on the stock market.

Shares peaked above 150p last April as Europe’s race to reduce reliance on Russian gas heightened interest in several London-listed green energy stocks. Valuations have since cooled due to higher costs and interest rates, leaving Atome shares at 100.5p on Friday.

Atome ’s projects in Paraguay and Iceland are ideally suited to produce green hydrogen given the continuous supply of green electricity, while higher fertiliser prices have shown the appeal of green ammonia as a suitable alternative feedstock.

Analysts at Liberum recently highlighted a price target of 180.4p, having seen Atome expand its portfolio through a joint venture with Latin America-based Cavendish.

The broker said: “We see this as a natural evolution for Atome , as the company looks to replicate its success in Paraguay to establish a material position across wider Central America and the Caribbean.”

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