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4 shares the pros are buying and selling

Our regular roundup of trades by professional investors, featuring Bioventix, Hutchison China Meditech, Urban & Civic and Plus 500.

by Selin Bucak, David Campbell on Oct 30, 2017 at 05:01

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£130m
No. of shares out5m
No. of shares floating4m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees14
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Profit before tax£6m
Earnings per share94.70p
Cashflow per share95.46p
Cash per share120.01p


Citywire AAA-rated value star Keith Ashworth-Lord has upped his stake in long-term core pharma holding Bioventix (BVXP) as its shares pull back on a warning that recent breakneck growth may slow.

Ashworth-Lord increased his stake in the business from 7.7% to just over 8%. He holds 415,000 shares worth £10.6 million at a price of £25.47, down from a record high of £29.50 earlier this month.

The shares are held in CFP SDL Buffettology, one of the best performing UK funds in recent years, returning 71.8% over three years.

This month Bioventix reported a 37% increase in profit to £5.7 million in the year to June. Its shares initially dipped, but have since rallied, as investors focused on a ‘prudent’ warning that demand for its strongest revenue generator, a vitamin D antibody, will ‘plateau in the near future’.

Broker finnCap resumed its coverage on the stock following the update with a £26 price target.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£2,840m
No. of shares out61m
No. of shares floating19m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees349
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover164m USD
Profit before tax-34m USD
Earnings per share0.15 USD
Cashflow per share0.21 USD
Cash per share1.31 USD

Hutchison China Meditech

Citywire A-rated growth veteran Mark Slater has pared his holding in long-term core position Hutchison China Meditech (HCM) as investors book profits on an all-time record high hit earlier this month.

Slater reduced his stake in the business from 1.82 million shares to 1.81 million. This gives him a stake just under 3% worth £83 million at a price of £46.90, just off from last week’s peak of £45.62p.

The company is primarily held by his £456 million Slater Growth fund, with a smaller position in his £37 million Slater Recovery fund. He remains a top five holder of the stock.

The manager has for years described Hutchison, a Shanghai-based pharma business which combines traditional Chinese and modern medicine, as one of his best-ever investments. The shares are up almost nine-fold over the last five years and after stalling between early 2015 and 2017 have climbed almost 50% in the last six months alone. Panmure Gordon last week lifted its target price from £38.40 to £52, rating the stock a buy.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£395m
No. of shares out145m
No. of shares floating89m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees63
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Profit before tax£7m
Earnings per share14.45p
Cashflow per share15.01p
Cash per share10.42p

Urban & Civic

Citywire A-rated UK value manager Alex Savvides has upped his stake in property developer and regeneration specialist Urban & Civic (UANC) as its shares rise on a broad rerating of the housing sector.

Savvides increased his holding in the company from 4.5% to 5.7%. His position of 8.3 million shares is worth £22.6 million at a share price of 273p, up 8% since early October to the top of a three-year range. The shares are held in his £627 million JOHCM UK Dynamic fund.

Urban & Civic entered public trading in early 2014, when it was merged into the previously listed residential developer Terrace Hill, to take on sector heavyweights such as St Modwen.

Shares in the housebuilding sector climbed sharply at the beginning of the month as the government committed a further £10 billion to its Help to Buy programme of first-time buyer subsidies. Stifel Nicolaus rates the company a buy on a 300p price target.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£1,115m
No. of shares out114m
No. of shares floating77m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees48
Trading volume (10 day avg.)1m
Turnover249m USD
Profit before tax115m USD
Earnings per share0.78 USD
Cashflow per share0.78 USD
Cash per share0.90 USD

Plus 500

Hedge fund veteran Crispin Odey has sold down his stake in spreadbetting company Plus500 (PLUS) following a 146.8% rise in its share price year-to-date.

Odey, who is the third largest shareholder at the company through his Odey Pan-European fund, reduced his overall holding in the business from 16.9% to 15.8% or 18 million shares. At a share price of 975p, these are worth £171 million.

Last month, the AIM-listed firm announced that trading had been strong and that it expects full-year profits and revenues to be ahead of market expectations. The shares have risen by a further 10% over the past month.

At the end of last year, the Financial Conduct Authority announced plans to impose stricter rules on the contracts for difference (CFD) market after it identified ‘serious concerns’. While the shares of Plus500 took a hit, at the time Odey increased his overall stake to 23%. However, over the last few months he has been steadily reducing his holding in the business, taking profits.

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Look up the shares

  • Bioventix PLC (BVXP.L)
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  • Hutchison China MediTech Ltd (HCM.L)
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  • Urban&Civic PLC (UANC.L)
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  • Plus500 Ltd (PLUSP.L)
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