Director dealings: Executive on board as bus firm hits road to recovery

BUS manufacturer Optare believes it is continuing to make strong progress on the road to recovery.

Although sales fell to 52.3 million from 79.8m last year, losses reduced by 68 per cent to 2.7m. Debts have also fallen significantly. With improving fortunes and a move to a new factory in North Yorkshire planned, the company said it looked forward to the future with confidence.

Peter Phillips, the recently appointed chief financial officer, last week purchased his first stake in the company. He took 500,000 shares at an average price of 2.9p per share.

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• Nicholas Bull, a non-executive director at corporate broking group Westhouse Holdings, has bought 20,000 shares at 61p each. It was his first stake in the company.

• Robert Forrester, chief executive of car dealership group Vertu Motors, upped his holding in the company with the purchase of 462,000 shares at 30p a time. He now holds 6.3 million shares. Vertu last week reported a rise in profits for the year to 28 February and said that trading has been in line with expectations.

• Simon Cloke, a non-executive of The Restaurant Group which operates chains including Frankie & Benny's and Garfunkel's, has bought his first stake in the company. Cloke purchased 7,000 shares at 306.9p a share.

Last week the company said its total sales for the first 18 weeks of the new financial year rose by 5.5 per cent, but saw tough market conditions ahead.

• Michael McTighe, chairman of set-top box supplier Pace, went into the market after a profit warning sent shares plunging.

He bought 20,000 shares at 96p each and now holds 80,000. Pace blamed factors including the Japanese earthquake and tsunami for the warning.

• Richard Tice, chief executive of the property investment group CLS Holdings, has bought 40,000 shares at 645p to increase his holding to more than 250,000.

• Francisco Soler, chairman of hygiene products firm Tristel, has topped up his already significant holding with the purchase of 50,000 shares at 41.5p each. He now owns more than 7.5 million shares.

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• Guy Zarzavatdjian, a managing partner at investment group 3i Group, has bought 860,000 shares at 287p each.

• George Salamis, a non-executive director of resources group Caledon, has sold 266,000 shares at 104p each.

The company stressed that Salamis, a founder of the company, had not sold shares in the company before and that he retains a stake of 771,500 shares.

• Willem Mesdag, a director at the private equity group 3i, invested more than 280,000 in the company following full-year results. He bought 100,000 shares at 281p each

• Stephen Burrows, chief executive of insurance broking group Cobra Holdings, has purchased 50,000 shares at 67p for his personal pension fund. He now hold more than 8.7 million shares in the company.

n Simon Moate, chief executive of office supplies company office2office has bought 20,000 shares at 126p each.