Countplus chief adds to stake

Barry Lambert, the executive chairman of Countplus, has again increased his stake in the accountancy practices aggregator.

Barry Lambert, the executive chairman of Countplus, has again increased his stake in the accountancy practices aggregator.

He paid a near-record price for a useful line of shares the other day and he's now sitting on a $7 million-plus scrip parcel in the group, where the biggest shareholder is Commonwealth Bank.

Lambert, the founder of Countplus, paid $1.90 a share, which compared with the $1.67 he paid last month for a smaller quantity.

The group's pre-tax earnings for the December half improved 2.5 per cent to $8.7 million and directors forecast a 10 per cent gain in earnings a share for the current year, which places the scrip on a 17-times earnings multiple.

Elsewhere, there was multi-director buying in Fitzroy River Corporation, which bills itself as an oil and gas investment company with non-operational assets such as royalties, free-carried interests and minority equity positions.

Susan Thomas, who set up and ran a funds management business before its sale to MLC, now holds 18 per cent of the capital following buying last week.

Former investment banker Malcolm McComas, the group's chairman, put some petty change into the stock, paying 39ยข a share and spending about $85,000, a transaction not in the accompanying table.

Elsewhere, Robin Widdup returned to the buyers' list, spending more than five-fold what he did a week or two ago on shares in Lion Selection Group, a mining company investor that recently joined ASX lists. For Mr Widdup, a one-time House of Fear base metals analyst, the latest listing is a return to the ASX following a Lion de-listing a few years ago.

Among sellers, Ken MacKenzie, the Amcor chief, took a handy $1.9 million off the table.

The stock has more than doubled off its 2009 lows.

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