Active trade in First Active


First Active shares closed unchanged at £2.90 yesterday after another busy day's trading. The shares opened at £2.90 and immediately began to move ahead to £2.98. They reached a high £3 before drifting back to where they began. The shares' slip in afternoon trading was in line with a weaker tone in the market.

The former building society's members will take some comfort from the fact that the shares managed to hold on to the 65p gain chalked up since they were issued on the Dublin and London markets on Tuesday. At £2.90 each, members allocations of 450 free shares are valued at £1,305.

The Irish Stock Exchange confirmed the turnover in First Active shares on Tuesday was £156.5 million with some 928 transactions taking place. Some 7 per cent of First Active's total new shares were immediately sold on the instructions of more than 13,000 members who opted to dispose of their shares for cash. These were sold at the issue price of £2.25 each, realising £1,012 per 450 shares sold.

The direction of the share price in the short term would be helped if a strategic investor moved in to buy up a sizeable block of First Active shares. Abbey National managed to build a 10 per cent stake in Irish Permanent when it began trading and a rival institution could be planning a similar move in the case of First Active.