(pictured: Rob De Dominicis)
The ASX-listed global software vendor GBST Holdings has confirmed insider Rob De Dominicis as its new managing director amid sustained selling pressure from its long-term shareholders, including recently retired managing director Stephen Lake.
Lake announced on September 17 his pending retirement from the firm after 14 years at the helm and ceased to be a substantial shareholder a week later, on September 24, with the sale of about $11.4 million worth of shares held by him and his wife, Amber. Fellow director Allan Brackin sold a more modest $252,000 worth a couple of days earlier, on September 21. But Brackin was also a seller, of about $900,000 worth, last financial year.
Since Lake’s announcement, National Australia Bank, through subsidiaries Antares and MLC, has also ceased to be a substantial shareholder, and another institution, Perpetual, reduced its holding through sales in November and December.
Last financial year, the chairman, John Puttick, who has also announced his retirement, also ceased to be a substantial shareholder.
Even De Dominicis, who has headed up the company’s wealth business since he sold InfoComp to GBST for $56 million in 2007, with co-founder Ray Tubman, was a seller last financial year, selling about 2.3 million of his then 2.7 million shares. But subsequently De Dominicis has bought back a few and last week issued his first shareholder notice as a director, holding 609,000 shares as at December 15.
Australian Ethical has mopped up some of the recent sales and had about 5.9 per cent of the stock as of the end of October, not far behind the largest shareholder, Crown Financial, with about 7 per cent.
Unsurprisingly, the share price has taken a battering, but not as much as you might have expected under the circumstances. Even though it has fallen from $5.01 on Sept 21, four days after Lake’s announcement and when director Brackin revealed himself as a seller, to $4.12 last Monday, the stock has been on a roller-coaster ride for most of this year. It started in January at $3.65 rose to $6.46 in April and then drifted mostly lower since.
Last week’s news included that Allan Brackin would be the company’s new chair. Perhaps he should get together with his new managing director and decide on a better policy for the directors with respect to their share dealings to help reduce the stock’s volatility.
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