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Heavyweights seize on market jitters to top up shareholdings

With an increasing number of company results surfacing, directors top up their stakes.

With an increasing number of company results surfacing, directors top up their stakes.

WITH an increasing number of company results surfacing, directors of a clutch of heavyweight industrials have topped up their stakes.

Bruce Ballantine Teele, the chairman of Australian Foundation Investment Company, once again made an appearance. The former House of Were chief has been through many a market downturn and he continues to buy in this roller-coaster equities market.

He recently bought 163,000 shares at $4.19 each, followed that with 37,000 shares at $4.11 and then 50,000 shares at $3.95 on August 9 - the day the market fell 5.6 per cent.

Mr Teele collected the 13?-a-share final dividend the stock closed yesterday at $4.08 - without the dividend.

Elsewhere, the three Telstra musketeers - Catherine Livingstone, Nora Scheinkestel and Russell Higgins - did what they did in February, which was to buy stock soon after the release of the company's results. Averaging up, they paid about $3.04 a share, compared with about $2.93 in February.

Meanwhile, the overall scorecard registered $74 million to $2.3 million in favour of sellers, with two of the founding directors of Cellestis taking a big hand in proceedings.

Normally takeover transactions are excluded from the table but two personal share sales in the TB diagnostic group made it in this week.

Cellestis is being taken over by Netherlands-based Qiagen, and Cellestis managing director Anthony Radford and chief scientific officer James Rothel have each collected $34 million proving they're no ordinary boffins.

Investors who have held on for the past decade or so are looking at gains of about 29 per cent compound a year. Handy enough.

Among other sellers, five directors of Crusader Resources did some mighty profitable option exercising and selling. They exercised options at around 25? and sold shares for about $1.30.

Other stocks making repeat appearances on the buying list were AP Eagers, Transurban and Gujarat NRE Coking Coal. Share-buying notices by Gujarat directors filed in recent weeks with the stock exchange suggest the price of shares bought is now an optional requirement. The notices showed ''on market purchase'' as the consideration.

Cochlear has attracted some interest from directors recently: Edward Byrne paid $71.86 a share, while last week Rick Holliday-Smith paid $65.57 and Donal O'Dwyer paid $65.77. This week, two substantial shareholders surfaced, Scottish-based Baillie Gifford and New York-based Manning & Napier Advisors. The fund managers have about 5 per cent each.

The reporter owns COH shares.

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