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Hulamin - Insider Trading

18 October 2021 By PDSNET

In our opinion on Hulamin, last updated on 3rd September 2021, we noted “What is noteworthy about this share is that it has a net asset value (NAV) which is more than 3 times its current share price making it a possible takeover target”.

On Thursday last week the company issued a bland “cautionary” notice on the Stock Exchange News Service (SENS) advising investors to exercise caution when dealing in its shares. In order to minimise the effect of insider trading, the JSE requires listed companies to publish a cautionary if they know of an imminent event which may have a significant impact on the share price.

Often, a cautionary announcement like this indicates that the company has become involved in negotiations with a potential suitor. Obviously, this can have major implications for the share price.

But what is interesting about the Hulamin case is that its share price and volume traded spiked up 3 days before the cautionary was published. Consider the chart:

Hulamin (HLM): 24 May 2021- 14 October 2021. Chart by ShareFriend Pro

The top chart shows a candlestick chart of the share from the end of May 2021 to date. You can see the sharp rise in price and where the cautionary was issued on Thursday last week. The middle chart shows the on-balance-volume (OBV) indicator which gave a strong buy signal on Tuesday. The bottom chart shows the volume traded and the black line through the middle of it is a 30-day simple moving average of the volumes.

What is noteworthy is that the volume traded before last week showed an average of 484 000 shares changing hands each day. On Monday last week (11/10/21) the share traded 681 000 shares, a 40% increase on the average, and closed up 11% at 250c. On Tuesday the volume was just under 2 million shares traded and the price rose to 274c. On Wednesday when about 1,5 million shares changed hands it closed at 319c.

To us, this indicates quite clearly that some of the people who were privy to whatever is going on bought up large quantities of the share, directly or indirectly, before Thursday’s announcement. What else could possibly account for the sudden rise in volumes and prices just days before such an announcement?  

As you can see, on Thursday, once the announcement was made public, the share jumped almost R1 per share netting the insiders a tidy profit of about 30% in a couple of days. They probably sold out on Friday and put their profits in the bank.

Insider trading is illegal, but it is commonplace on the JSE. As a private investor you can see it happening, and even jump on the bandwagon, by watching the volumes traded and the movement of the closing prices. If you see radically increased volumes with slight increases in price then you may well be looking at insider trading prior to a public announcement, especially when a share has been trading at less than a third of its Net Asset Value (NAV).


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