Harvey Norman shares tank as insiders sell shares

Coogee beach. Brendon Thorne  Getty Images

Coogee beach. Brendon Thorne Getty Images

Harvey Norman shares fell out of bed yesterday, losing more than 8% to end a rough day's trading at nine month lows.

Harvey Norman shares are taking a battering, after it was revealed that both Katie Page and the head of consumer electronics and electrical David Ackery, an 11-year veteran at the mass retailer, sold down shares in Harvey Norman who are facing a battering from Amazon if they launch in Australia.

Mr Ackery's share sale followed the on-market sale on March 14 of 210,000 ordinary shares worth $1.06 million by Ms Page, Harvey Norman's long-serving managing director and the wife of Mr Harvey.

Harvey Norman shares picked up in early trade today after being pinged by the ASX following a sharp fall on Monday.

When the shares began falling yesterday, chairman Gerry Harvey increased his controlling stake in the company, buying up two million shares for A$8.7m, which also shored up the share price.

Currently Ackery still holds 335,800 shares and 150,000 performance rights in the Company. He also has an indirect interest in 153,335 shares held in trusts.

It's also been revealed that Ackery had to repay a loan facility with ANZ Private Global Wealth, which was secured by 658,619 shares, this was repaid in full on March 15.

Retailer Harvey Norman says it is complying with its obligations after it received a "please explain" notice from the Australian stock exchange.

Shares in Harvey Norman hit an eight-year high of $5.38 last August, but have fallen 16 per cent since it posted a better-than-expected, half-year profit in February. Despite these concerns, only 3.8 per cent of Harvey Norman shares are sold short.

Credit Suisse believes that, depending on Amazon's impact, Harvey Norman's earnings could fall between 3 and 9 per cent, while a Citigroup report a year ago estimated the retailer's profits could fall 19 per cent.

Credit Suisse analyst Grant Saligari said that many retailers "would not be competitive with Amazon".

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