Every little helps: Tesco executive sold shares before profit warning
A senior Tesco executive sold more than £200,000 of shares in the supermarket a week before its first profit warning in 20 years wiped nearly £5bn off its market value.
Noel "Bob" Robbins, the grocer's chief UK operating officer, offloaded 50,000 shares at 404.5p each on 4 January and pocketed £202,255. By selling them 10 days ago, he made nearly £44,000 more than he would have done had he sold them yesterday, after the profits warning led to a further fall in Tesco's stock.
Tesco said Mr Robbins, a long-serving employee, had done nothing wrong because he sold the shares outside a period restricted by rules governing trading in shares, and he was not in possession of any "price-sensitive information" at the time.
However, the transaction has raised eyebrows because it took place only eight days before Tesco issued its first profits warning in 20 years. A market source said he could understand how the share sale might be interpreted by those outside the supermarket.
It was also another unfortunate surprise for the City from a company which has been a stock market darling for more than two decades. Mr Robbins – who sits on Tesco's UK management committee but not its main executive board – made the transaction outside the so-called "closed period", when shares transactions among directors are prohibited. Tesco's closed period ran from 7 January until the issue of its trading statement on Thursday.
A spokesman for Tesco said: "Bob Robbins sold less than 5 per cent of his substantial shareholding in Tesco for necessary family expenditure. The sale, which was not made within a closed period, was approved in the usual way. We are confident [he] was not in possession of any price-sensitive information at the time the sale was approved. Tesco did not complete its Christmas trading period until after the sale was made."
By "price-sensitive" information, Tesco is referring to its decision to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in its UK stores, such as by increasing staff numbers to improve customer service, and by improving its product ranges. The spokesman added: "Bob was not party to discussions around the profit guidance or the investment plans at the time he made his sale." The talks were said to have taken place among only a few of the main board members.
Another director, Ken Towle, who runs Tesco's online business, sold 40,193 Tesco shares at 385.6p on 22 December, earning about £155,000. However, the firm said these shares represented less than 5 per cent of Mr Towle's holding and were sold for personal reasons. Every Tesco director was legally allowed to buy or sell shares in the period between the company's previous trading statement on 8 December and 7 January.
Mr Robbins returned to the UK as chief operating officer last March. He has served as chief executive of Tesco's central and eastern European businesses, as well as strategy and development director in Asia.
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
- 1 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 2 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...