Chemical firm chiefs in show of confidence

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SHARES in speciality chemicals company AZ Electronic Materials fell sharply last week after it warned on profits.

In a first-quarter trading update the firm warned that ­although sales were likely to be around the same level as last year, margins were coming under pressure. Shares fell by around a quarter but a number of directors went into the market last week to buy shares in a collective show of confidence.

Chairman John Whybrow bought 40,000 shares at 254p each to take his stake to 118,541 shares. Chief ­executive Geoff Wild also made a similar sized purchase to take his holding to 885,749 shares.

• Peter Spivey, chief executive of West African-focused gold mining company Amara Mining, has bought 50,000 shares at 37p each. The move has doubled his stake in the company.

• Christopher Goodwin, a director of the marketing services group Mission Marketing, has bought 60,000 shares at 34p each. He now holds 311,635 shares.

• Steve Grapstein, a non-executive director at luxury handbag maker Mulberry has bought his first stake in the company with the purchase of 10,000 shares at prices between 920p and 974p.

Last month the company issued a profit alert, partly blaming a drop in spending by tourists who have been crucial to the health of the sector. The firm, whose explosive growth of recent years has made it one of the nation’s biggest export success stories, described sales over the previous ten weeks as “disappointing”.

It warned investors that profits will miss expectations following the post-Christmas slowdown.

• Mark Scott, chief executive at marketing services group Cello, has bought 10,000 shares at 50.78p each. He is now interested in more than 885,000 shares.

• Two directors at five-a-side operator Goals Soccer Centres have sold shares.

Keith Rogers and William Gow each sold 570,825 shares at 137p each. Rogers is now interested in just over four million shares and Gow 1.27 million shares.

• John Summers, a non-executive director at oil and gas group Ithaca, has purchased 40,000 shares at 112p.