Photo-Me International chief builds stake

Photo-Me International chief executive Serge Crasnianski has built his position in the photo booth group after Tibergest PTE, an entity that is owned by the Mr Crasnianski, acquired £231,629 in shares across two transactions.

Following the second purchase, Mr Crasnianski and Tibergast had a 23.33 per cent stake in the business.

Photo-Me shares are more than half below their value at the start of 2020, having ebbed down by nearly a fifth before the March market route that saw the shares plunge to present lows.

The group, which has a varied portfolio comprising photo booths, laundry and juice machines, warned in March that restrictions on the movement of people forced by coronavirus had dealt a significant hit to its operations. Customers have been unable to make use of Photo-Me’s machines, while field engineers have not been able to carry out maintenance work. In March, Photo-Me scrapped its interim dividend of 3.71p, which had been due for payment this month.

Mr Crasnianski was not alone in buying Photo-Me shares this month. On May 15, chief financial officer Stéphane Gibon also took the opportunity to buy into the group’s current share price weakness, acquiring 50,000 shares at an aggregate value of £20,000. Director Jean-Marc Janailhac, meanwhile, bought 27,000 shares at a total value of £11,340. Photo-Me did not respond to requests for comment.

Newly-appointed Land Securities chief executive Mark Allan has started building his holding in the commercial landlord by purchasing shares in the group worth almost £150,000. Former St Modwen boss Mr Allan started work in the top job in April, replacing Robert Noel who announced his retirement last year.

At a purchase price of 503p a share, Mr Allan bought into the group the first trading day after its market valuation hit a 12-month low. Like peers, Landsec has suffered a shortfall in rent collection for the second quarter, receiving only 63 per cent of rent due at the end of March. What’s more, the commercial landlord is not hopeful about recouping those arrears, taking a £23m provision that was equivalent to almost three-quarters of the outstanding amount during the year to March.

The economic impact of Covid-19 has exacerbated existing pressure on a structurally challenged retail estate, which suffered a decline in value of more than a fifth last year and caused the group’s pre-tax losses to soar. Even after excluding the second-quarter rent provision, like-for-like rental income from retail assets was down 4 per cent.

The group is also taking a more cautious approach to developments. While it is on-site at four schemes totalling 1m square feet, it has only committed capital expenditure to 21 Moorfields, EC2, which is fully let. It has the option to call a stop to development activity at ground level on the remaining three, which has left the group with £340m of committed unspent funds on sites currently in the development programme.


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