Kerry Group chief executive Edmond Scanlon moved into the stock market on Thursday to snap up over €1.1 million of shares in the nutrition giant, taking advantage of an almost 15 per cent drop in its share price from an all-time high reached in July.
The purchase marks Mr Scanlon’s first direct purchase of shares in the company since he took over as chief executive four years ago, other than exercising share purchase options under the group’s executive incentive programmes.
The 10,000 shares involved in the transaction were acquired at €110.925 each just after 8am, according to a stock exchange filing.
Earlier this year, Mr Scanlon acquired 8,500 shares in the company at a strike price of 12.5 cent each as he continued an annual habit of exercising stock options.
Adding the stock purchased so far in 2021 to his existing 26,810 shares at the end of 2020, as disclosed in Kerry’s latest annual report, Mr Scanlon now holds 43,360 shares in the business.
Shares in Kerry rose as much as 0.8 per cent €110.60 by lunchtime as investors digested the chief executive’s share purchase, valuing his stake at almost €5.06 million and putting a market value on the company of €19.7 billion.
Kerry said in its latest trading update, in late October, that it continued to see strong growth in the nine months to the end of September.
Reported revenue for the period rose by 6.3 per cent, driven by an 8.2 per cent increase in business volumes and 0.7 per cent pricing improvement. However, this was partly offset by a 3.6 per cent sales impact from unfavourable currency movements.
The group completed the 4819 million sale of its low-margin meat and meals unit, including the Richmond, Denny and Galtee brands, to US poultry giant Pilgrim’s Pride in September.
In April, Kerry suspended talks with its main shareholder, Kerry Co-op, about spinning majority stake its dairy and consumer foods business, where brands include Dairygold and Charleville, into a joint venture between both.