Barratt Developments chief operating officer Steven Boyes has sold a total of 435,000 shares at £8.4235 per share, banking an aggregate sale value of £3.66m.
The sale, conducted across four tranches that included Mr Boyes’ wife Andrea, occurred a week after the release of the housebuilder’s interim results. Barratt’s half-year figures revealed its highest half-year home completion figure for 12 years, with the group completing 8,314 homes — representing a 9.1 per cent rise on the previous year. Its adjusted operating margin edged up to 19.4 per cent from 19 per cent a year earlier.
Investors have flocked to the housebuilder in recent months, with the shares having gained about 17 per cent since the start of 2020. Barratt boasts healthy cash flows and a strong balance sheet, forecasting full-year net cash of around £600m.
The group is a good dividend play, having now extended an annual special dividend of £175m to 2021. While management has made room for rewarding shareholders, it maintains its land investment strategy which has supported the growth of the business. Barratt approved £406m of land acquisitions over its interim period, up from £338m last year.
The company said the transaction was conducted “purely to balance personal investments”. Mr Boyes, who is also deputy chief executive, has a residual interest of 457,890 shares.
Legal and professional services provider Gateley has announced that certain directors and employees have sold 5.5m shares worth £11m via a placing. While only 4.75m shares were originally set to be placed at 200p each via an accelerated bookbuild, more shares were divested in response to “excess demand”.
The group said the placing was to “satisfy market demand and broaden the institutional investor base of the company”. The names of the directors involved and their resulting holdings have not yet been disclosed.
Unlisted law firms typically operate under a partnership structure where lawyers buy into the company to become a partner and receive a share of the profits. If a law firm goes public, those partners become shareholders and salaried employees.
Share ownership tends to be concentrated at first. When Gateley listed on Aim in 2015, the former partners held 70 per cent of the issued share capital and were subject to a five-year “lock-in agreement”. This arrangement dictates that they can only dispose of a maximum of 10 per cent of their holdings in any 12-month period after the first anniversary of the IPO.
This is the fourth placing since Gateley made its market debut. Chief executive Michael Ward and chief operating officer Peter Davies, along with their spouses, both trimmed their holdings in the previous placings. Mr Ward is due to step down at the end of April, but will remain with the group and “retain a significant shareholding in Gateley for the foreseeable future”.