By Stephen Mayne and
ASX listed property valuation company LandMark White has seen some
interesting personnel shuffling and share trading in recent months as
the stock continues its slide (see graph below) from a high of $1.10 last November to 63c.
Directors were certainly keen to support the stock earlier this
year, usually at above market prices and when volume was very small, as
often happens with small, tightly held companies. However, it will be interesting to see if the same applies come
December when the two year escrow expires and the directors are free to
dump the stock.
Given the recent resignations, who could blame some directors
for wanting to get off the register. Non-executive chairman Ian Rust
quit last Tuesday and Ross Perkins also resigned from the board and his
position running the Queensland operation.
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The previous week, National Research Manager Matt Whitby bailed
out, following the move to retrench the entire research department
across Australia in April this year. This was done without making an
announcement to the ASX and was denied when Helen Westerman from The Age made some inquiries.
So just what buying did the directors of LandMark White
do during its steady decline, something HIH Insurance directors also
did in the year leading up to its demise? In total they bought 76,350
27 June and 14 October.
you can see in the chart, LandMark White’s share price rose 10c from around 60c in mid-June to 70c in mid-July, during
which time, LMW’s non-executive director Stuart Gregory bought
16,800 shares, while former chairman Ian Rust bought 6,550 shares.
Before the price spiked a further 2c to 72c in August, the
company’s largest shareholder – with a 36.8% stake –
executive director and now chairman Glen White bought 10,000 shares.
While on 1 September, the company’s second-largest shareholder
and Managing Director Bradley Piltz bought 23,000 shares.
The White family stake is only worth $6 million given Landmark White’s
paltry market cap of $17 million, but the family should be much
happier with what’s happening at realestate.com.au, which is now
capitalised at $268 million. The family’s 15.13 million shares are
worth $37.8 million based on News Ltd’s $2.50-a-share takeover offer.
Interestingly, the independent directors are rejecting Rupert’s advances
but News Corp has lent realestate.com.au some cash to fund its share of
a joint purchase of a UK property portal which was announced yesterday.
The White family of Ray White fame were on the Crikey Revised Wealth (CRW) list before News Ltd’s realestate.com.au takeover bid drew attention to their appreciating assets.