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New faces appear in buyers' list, as miners lose their lustre

SOME new corporate faces appeared on the buying side of directors' trades this week, while mining stocks dominated the disposals list.

SOME new corporate faces appeared on the buying side of directors' trades this week, while mining stocks dominated the disposals list.

The scorecard registered $31 million to $51 million in favour of sellers and once again a couple of directors took a big hand in proceedings billionaire Hans Mende at Whitehaven Coal and concrete vendor Raymond Barro at Adelaide Brighton.

Hills Holdings made a rare appearance thanks to chairman Jennifer Hill-Ling's large-scale buying at prices not seen for at least 15 years.

Hills whose products range from ladders and clothes lines to hospital equipment experienced a weaker second half than forecast, reported a 37 per cent earnings drop and booked a $100 million asset and goodwill write-off.

In 2007, Hills' scrip sold above $6.50 but Mrs Hill-Ling whose father was chairman and managing director for 40 years has spent more than $900,000 on the shares at about $1.20 apiece.

At $1.12 a share, the $1 billion-a-year sales group is selling at about 11 times 2011 earnings 7 times 2010 earnings with a dividend yield of about 9 per cent.

Elsewhere, two directors of employment concern Chandler Macleod, another friendless stock, picked up useful quantities.

John "Jack" Cowin, the fast-food- chain man who joined the Chandler board earlier this year, bought 2 million shares at 34? 43 per cent down on the year's high, while John Plummer also topped up his stake.

Meanwhile, Greg Hywood, Fairfax Media's managing director, opened his account with a $100,000 purchase.

He paid 84.5? a share the group is trading at about 7 times underlying earnings.

On the selling side, Hans Mende's interests disposed of $36 million worth of Whitehaven Coal stock.

AMCI International GmbH, which he co-founded in 1986, sold the shares at $6 apiece.

The Mende interests retain $412 million of shares.

Fellow directors Allan Davies and Neil Chatfield were also sellers.

Michael Donaldson and Robert Watkins, directors of gold counter Beadell Resources, collected about $400,000 each and explained they'd sold to provide funds for "book publishing expenses" and for "personal residence construction expenses", respectively.

Elsewhere, Terry Smart, the JB Hi-Fi chief, did some useful option exercising and selling.

He exercised options at $11 a share, costing nearly $1.2 million, and sold stock at $14.85, collecting $5.2 million. He retains more than $19 million of stock as well as options.

There was multiple-director buying in Probiotec, Sims Metal, Leighton and Circadian.

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