Halfords trio takes stock amid overhaul

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SHARES in car parts and cycles retailer Halfords fell last week after the company announced a 22 per cent plunge in annual profits.

The group also proposed a 35 per cent reduction in its final dividend to 9.1p a share to fund a three-year overhaul and maintain a “robust balance sheet”.

Chief executive Matt ­Davis said the strategy will involve about £100m of ­investment in the firm’s retail offering in a bid to grow sales to £1 billion by 2016.

Halfords, which employs about 12,000 people, has ­experienced a varied year as bicycle sales were initially hit by poor weather, before being lifted by the “Wiggins effect” of Britain’s Tour de France and Olympics success, while sales of de-icer and screenwash kept tills ringing during the winter.

Following the update, three directors went into the market to up their stakes. Davies was joined by chairman Dennis Millard in buying 10,000 shares at a price of 319.6p each. Davies now owns 174,056 and Millard 50,000. Finance director Andrew Findlay bought 7,704 shares.

• Stephen Harris, chief executive of Bodycote, has sold 200,000 shares in the heat treatment company at 546.50p. He still holds more than 570,000 shares in the company.

• Norman Murray, chairman of oil firm Petrofac, and Tim Weller, the company’s chief financial officer, have bought shares. Murray bought 7,500 and Weller 7,454 shares at around 1,340p each.

• The wife of Wood Group’s chairman Allister Langlands has sold more than £2.1m of shares. Helen Langlands sold 250,000 shares at 846p each, reducing the couple’s stake to 574,000. Updating shareholders at its AGM earlier this month, Langlands said Wood Group remained confident of meeting its full-year targets despite sluggish progress in its gas turbines division.

• Julia Henderson, a non-executive director at engineering firm Corac, has bought 100,000 shares at 12.85p each. It represented her first purchase of shares in the group.

• Stephan Shakespeare, chief executive at polling group YouGov, has sold 300,000 shares at 70.5p each. The group said the sale was made to finance the repayment of part of a personal loan secured against Shakespeare’s shareholding.