Director Dealings: United in their optimism

SHARES in student accommodation provider Unite Group jumped by more than 50% last week as it narrowed losses and gave an upbeat view of prospects.

With record occupancy of its properties and rental growth running at more than 9%, the company said it was well placed for challenging times ahead.

Three directors spent heavily following the announcement to back up their confidence in the company's business model.

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Chairman Geoffrey Maddrell bought 120,000 shares to take his holding up to 382,000; chief executive Mark Allan bought 107,361 and now holds 470,967, and chief financial officer Joe Lister bought 80,400 shares to take his stake up to 167,521.

They paid between 46p and 50p each for the shares and are already showing a paper profit on their investments thanks to further gains since the purchases, although the shares are still well down on the highs of over 3 seen last year.

• Paddy Gallagher, finance director at casinos and bingo hall group Rank, bought 160,000 shares at 60p each.

Earlier this month chief executive Ian Burke bought 85,000 shares at a similar price.

• Two directors at international civil engineering consultancy Hyder have increased their stakes.

Chairman Alan Thomas bought 160,000 shares at 72p each and now holds 301,000 shares, and chief executive Ivor Catto bought 30,000 shares at the same price to increase his holding to 62,000 shares.

• Colin Day, a recently appointed non-executive director at Cadbury, has bought his first significant stake in the company with the purchase of 10,000 shares at 508p each.

• Board members at software firm Psion have increased their holdings in the company following results which were in line with market expectations.

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Chief executive John Conoley bought 14,800, chief financial officer Fraser Park purchased 73,700 and Andy Clegg, senior vice-president of supply chain, bought 188,500, all at around 50p each.