MARKET REPORT: Thomas Cook chief shrugs off turbulence to snap up £89,495 worth of shares

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Turbulence at Thomas Cook brought an opportunity for its chairman this week, who bagged some cheaper shares after the price crashed following a profit warning.

The travel company revealed yesterday that 66-year-old Belgian national Frank Meysman, who is set to step down as chairman once a replacement has been found, bought 150,000 shares on Tuesday worth £89,495.

One day earlier, before Thomas Cook said hot weather in the UK had dented its profits, the shares would have cost around £116,775.

Though the High Street travel agent began to bounce back on Tuesday, after its near-30 per cent slide on Monday, investors weren’t convinced by Meysman’s attempt to shore up confidence. Shares ended yesterday a marginal 0.8 per cent higher, up 0.45p, at 60.25p.

Thomas Cook revealed yesterday that Frank Meysman, who is set to step down as chairman once a replacement is found, bought 150,000 shares on Tuesday worth a total of £89,495.

Thomas Cook revealed yesterday that Frank Meysman, who is set to step down as chairman once a replacement is found, bought 150,000 shares on Tuesday worth a total of £89,495.

Thomas Cook revealed yesterday that Frank Meysman, who is set to step down as chairman once a replacement is found, bought 150,000 shares on Tuesday worth a total of £89,495.

Moving from travel agents to butchers, Crawshaw managed to pull more investors on-side even as it conceded its first-half results were ‘disappointing’. 

The chain said revenue was down 1.9 per cent at £21.6million and its losses had widened from £1.2million to £1.7million but shares climbed 6.9 per cent, or 0.22p, to 3.48p.

Its High Street outlets were struggling, Crawshaw said, as it joined other businesses in complaining about reduced spending and excessive business rates.

The firm said it was reviewing its investment in traditional high street locations. Instead, Crawshaw will focus on factory shops located where it processes and packages meats. 

The 12 it has, out of 54 stores, produce 30 per cent of the group’s sales.

Stock Watch – Directa Plus

The world’s first graphene-enhanced road is now being built, which has driven up shares in materials company Directa Plus.

The business, which makes products containing tiny particles of graphene, is one of the companies which has helped to create Ecopave asphalt to resurface a road in Rome.

Directa Plus ended yesterday up 75 per cent, or 30p, at 70p, as its chief executive Giulio Cesareo decided to buy £14,520 worth of shares.

Outsourcer Mitie, which provides services from engineering to cleaning for customers such as Sainsbury’s and Rolls-Royce, stalled. 

Shares were down 9.2 per cent, or 14.2p, at 139.8p after it admitted operating profit could even be lower than last year, and debt would be higher.

Shares in Laura Ashley slumped 8 per cent, or 0.4p to 4.62p, after it rushed out a statement to investors before markets closed.

The homeware and clothing retailer admitted it had made a technical error in the payment of historic dividends, meaning shareholders will now need to meet for a vote on the retrospective payments.

The FTSE 100 closed fractionally higher, up 0.05 per cent, or 3.93points, at 7511.49. Miners such as Hochschild, Kaz Minerals and Fresnillo were among the index’s biggest losers as base metals prices edged away from recent highs.

In a late business update that came out just before the market close, FTSE 250-listed drugs company Indivior finally revealed just how bad it was expecting its results to be.

The addiction treatment manufacturer has been battling with Indian rival Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, which it has accused of infringing its patents.

Though a US court banned Dr Reddy’s from selling the drug in question until it had investigated further, Indivior said its net revenue will now be in the £750million to £774million range, down from £858million to £888million. Investors reacted quickly. Shares closed down 16.5pc, or 42.4p, at 215p.

Sensing the lower revenues would be a bitter pill for shareholders to swallow, Indivior added a sweetener. 

It said it would save between £61million and £76million in 2019, by reducing administrative costs, cutting ‘support’ jobs such as lawyers and statisticians, and focusing again on research.

Losses were racking up at loo roll manufacturer Accrol, which revealed it had swung from a £10.1million profit last year to an £11.2million loss. 

The cost of materials and labour, an inability to agree price increases with customers and bad exchange rates hit the business. Shares still sank 5.1pc, or 1p, to 18.5p.

 

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