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Are Insiders Selling SSP Group plc (LON:SSPG) Stock?

Lester Strauss

It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. The flip side of that is that there are more than a few examples of insiders dumping stock prior to a period of weak performance. So shareholders might well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in SSP Group plc (LON:SSPG).

What Is Insider Buying?

Most investors know that it is quite permissible for company leaders, such as directors of the board, to buy and sell stock on the market. However, such insiders must disclose their trading activities, and not trade on inside information.

We would never suggest that investors should base their decisions solely on what the directors of a company have been doing. But it is perfectly logical to keep tabs on what insiders are doing. For example, a Columbia University study found that ‘insiders are more likely to engage in open market purchases of their own company’s stock when the firm is about to reveal new agreements with customers and suppliers’.

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SSP Group Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when Chief Executive Officer of SSP UK & Ireland and Director Simon Smith sold UK£1.3m worth of shares at a price of UK£6.55 per share. So it’s clear an insider wanted to take some cash off the table, even slightly below the current price of UK£6.58. Even though it doesn’t necessarily mean anything, that’s certainly not a positive sign, in our book. We generally consider it a negative if insiders have been selling on market, especially if they did so below the current price. It is worth noting that this sale was only 21.7% of Simon Smith’s holding.

Over the last year, we note insiders sold 325.30k shares worth UK£2.2m. Over the last year we saw more insider selling of SSP Group shares, than buying. They sold for an average price of about UK£6.65. It’s not particularly great to see insiders were selling shares around current prices. While some insiders have decided to take some money off the table, we wouldn’t put too much weight on this fact. You can see a visual depiction of insider transactions (by individuals) over the last 12 months, below. If you click on the chart, you can see all the individual transactions, including the share price, individual, and the date!

LSE:SSPG Insider Trading January 30th 19

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Insider Ownership

Another way to test the alignment between the leaders of a company and other shareholders is to look at how many shares they own. We usually like to see fairly high levels of insider ownership. SSP Group insiders own about UK£65m worth of shares. That equates to 2.1% of the company. While this is a strong but not outstanding level of insider ownership, it’s enough to indicate some alignment between management and smaller shareholders.

So What Does This Data Suggest About SSP Group Insiders?

It doesn’t really mean much that no insider has traded SSP Group shares in the last quarter. Our analysis of SSP Group insider transactions leaves us cautious. But it’s good to see that insiders own shares in the company. If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its future.

But note: SSP Group may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE and low debt.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.