William Hill finance chief buys in

William Hill finance chief buys in

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British bookies are hoping that Americans will be keen on sports betting after legislation banning this type of gambling was overturned earlier this year. In August, William Hill announced it would provide technology and risk management services to 11 casinos in Mississippi and another in West Virginia. Last week, the group announced it would partner with Eldorado Resorts for digital and land-based sports betting and online gaming in the US, initially comprising 21 properties across 11 states and a customer base of 23m people.

Management is perhaps thinking the so-called “land of opportunity” will compensate for tougher trading in its UK retail business. At the half-year results last month, a £916m impairment, charged mainly on its UK retail assets following the decision to cut the maximum stake allowed on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), wiped out group profits. Still, management seems confident in the future: chief financial officer Ruth Prior — along with other connected parties — has spent more than £100,000 topping up her stake.

Seven senior managers at Vodafone, including new chief executive Nick Read and chairman Gerard Kleisterlee, have topped up their holdings in the telecoms giant. Whether they’re trying to boost sentiment or merely capitalising on recent share price weakness is unclear, but Vodafone’s investors could do with some reassurance — the share price has fallen 30 per cent since January.

The market seems wary of the group’s difficulties in the UK, where intense competition dented revenues in the year to March 2018. But there’s still plenty of growth on offer in Europe, where the group has secured some assets from peer Liberty Global.

At 166p, the shares trade on a price to forward earnings ratio of 14 times and the dividend yields over 8 per cent. Mr Read and his colleagues — who, together have shelled out £1.4m on the shares — seem to have picked a good moment to top up their stakes.

Directors’ Deals, September 10 2018
Company Director No of shares Price (p)
Advanced Oncotherapy* Enrico Vanni 204,082 49
Advanced Oncotherapy* Piers Plowman  306,122 49
Advanced Oncotherapy* Hans von Celsing 30,000 49
Anglo Pacific Robert Stan 10,000 155
Better Capital  Jonathan Moulton 1,750,000 11.016
Bigblu Broadband  Michael Tobin (ch) 8,770 113.9
British Empire Trust  Susan Noble (ch) 2,635 754.7
Collagen Solutions  Tom Hyland 115,988 4.31
Coro Energy  James Menzies (ceo) 712,576 4.21
Essentra  Paul Forman (ceo) 20,000 441
Franchise Brands  David Poutney 60,000 80
Georgia Capital  Irakli Gilauri (ch & ceo) 3,571 1,014.74
Great Eastern Energy  Prashant Modi (ceo) 250,000 70
Great Eastern Energy  Yogena Modi (ch) 250,000 70
Haynes Publishing Eddie Bell (ch) 10,946 205
Legal & General Carolyn Bradley 669 256.5
Legal & General John Kingman (ch) 1,490 256.5
Legal & General Toby Strauss 1,072 256.5
Lowland Investment Co  Gaynor Coley  500 1,524.45
Micro Focus International  Kevin Loosemore (ch) 4,866 1,309.05
Mortgage Advice Bureau  Nathan Imlach 217 668
Mporium Nelius De Groot (ceo) 750,000 6.1
Obtala  Miles Pelham (ch) 5,000,000 5
Obtala  Miles Pelham (ch) 3,020,000 5.16
Smith (DS)  Adrian Marsh (fd) 7,978 502.71
Staffline Christopher Pullen (ceo) 2,000 1,240
TP ICap  Robin Stewart 12,000 286.141
U and I Richard Upton 25,000 223
Vodafone Gerard Kleisterlee (ch) 112922 164.33
William Hill♥ Ruth Prior (cfo) 38998 257.66
Worldwide Healthcare Trust  Sven Borho  7,000 2,900
Bilby  Philip Copolo 12,596,896 100
Creo Medical Christopher Hancock 480,000 125
Creo Medical Craig Gulliford (ceo) 480,000 125
D4t4 Solutions  Roger McDowell 1,550,000 189.62
TBC Bank Giorgi Shagidze (cfo) 4,452 1,600
TBC Bank Giorgi Shagidze (cfo) 175 1,614
TBC Bank Giorgi Shagidze (cfo) 343 1,626
* placing/tender/open offer ♥ spouse/connected party; Trades between August 30-September 5; source: Morningstar/Investors Chronicle

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