We've lost count of how many times insiders have accumulated shares in a company that goes on to improve markedly. On the other hand, we'd be remiss not to mention that insider sales have been known to precede tough periods for a business. So shareholders might well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in The a2 Milk Company Limited (NZSE:ATM).
What Is Insider Selling?
It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a company. However, rules govern insider transactions, and certain disclosures are required.
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 Harvard University study found that 'insider purchases earn abnormal returns of more than 6% per year.'
a2 Milk Insider Transactions Over The Last Year
In the last twelve months, the biggest single sale by an insider was when the Independent Non-Executive Director, Peter Hinton, sold NZ$4.5m worth of shares at a price of NZ$14.00 per share. That means that even when the share price was below the current price of NZ$15.11, an insider wanted to cash in some shares. When an insider sells below the current price, it suggests that they considered that lower price to be fair. That makes us wonder what they think of the (higher) recent valuation. However, while insider selling is sometimes discouraging, it's only a weak signal. This single sale was 52% of Peter Hinton's stake.
We note that in the last year insiders divested 707k shares for a total of NZ$9.2m. In the last year a2 Milk insiders didn't buy any company stock. You can see a visual depiction of insider transactions (by individuals) over the last 12 months, below. If you want to know exactly who sold, for how much, and when, simply click on the graph below!
For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
Insiders at a2 Milk Have Sold Stock Recently
The last quarter saw substantial insider selling of a2 Milk shares. In total, Peter Hinton sold NZ$4.5m worth of shares in that time, and we didn't record any purchases whatsoever. In light of this it's hard to argue that all the directors think that the shares are a bargain.
Insider Ownership of a2 Milk
Many investors like to check how much of a company is owned by insiders. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will be incentivised to build the company for the long term. Insiders own 0.5% of a2 Milk shares, worth about NZ$56m. 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 a2 Milk Insiders?
An insider sold a2 Milk shares recently, but they didn't buy any. Looking to the last twelve months, our data doesn't show any insider buying. On the plus side, a2 Milk makes money, and is growing profits. While insiders do own shares, they don't own a heap, and they have been selling. We're in no rush to buy! Of course, the future is what matters most. So if you are interested in a2 Milk, you should check out this free report on analyst forecasts for the company.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.