The lure of cash prevails

DIRECTOR buying remained at relatively low levels this week they spent $2.5 million but sellers made hay, collecting $71 million.

DIRECTOR buying remained at relatively low levels this week they spent $2.5 million but sellers made hay, collecting $71 million.

A big chunk of the sellers' tally related to interests associated with Michael Fotios, including Investmet, who sold more than $30 million of stock in Northern Star Resources at 90? a share.

Done as part of a capital raising by the gold producer, directors said sales by the Fotios interests enabled large institutional investors "to obtain their desired holdings in the company". The scrip closed yesterday at 93.5?.

Also contributing big-time to the overall disposals tally were three directors of MACA, a surface mining and crushing services concern.

They and three other prefloat shareholders collected $40 million when they sold at $2 a share. They sold to "rebalance their personal finances, provide additional market liquidity and to cater for the many requests from institutional investors for sales".

Michael Smith, the ANZ Bank chief, did a spot of profitable option-exercising, which he said left his shareholding unchanged.

The jolly Englishman exercised 260,000 options at $14.18 apiece and sold the resulting shares at $22 each. He said he sold to pay income tax. He retains a useful little nest egg of 1.17 million shares worth nearly $26 million, and nearly 1.3 million options.

Also enjoying some options magic was Gregory Roebuck, the managing director of

He paid $860,000 to exercise 400,000 options, collected $1.7 million when he sold 332,283 shares and wound up with more shares than he started with.

Starpharma Holdings, whose main product is a vaginal microbicide to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, appeared on both the buyers' and sellers' list.

The company's chief executive, Jackie Fairley, who hails from a distinguished medical family, peeled off a modicum of stock, collecting $247,219.

She said she sold to partially fund a tax liability associated with the group's incentive plans. She retains $2.3 million of stock and some performance rights.

At about the same time, Dr Peter Jenkins, a consultant physician and gastroenterologist, bought 50,000 shares.

Meanwhile, Giles Everist dealt in two stocks. He bought 180,000 shares at $2.79 in Decmil Group, a civil engineering concern where he was appointed chairman in December.

Also, he was one of three directors who bought stock in LogiCamms, a mining services provider.

The reporter holds shares in MLD and CRZ.

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