Tesco share price rises as bosses dip into their pockets and buy stake in troubled supermarket chain

Kasmira Jefford
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Chief executive Dave Lewis spent £200,000 on shares (Source: Getty)

Tesco's board have thrown their support behind the embattled supermarket group by buying nearly half a million pounds worth of shares.

Chief executive Dave Lewis has spent £200,000 of his own cash to buy his first 99,950 shares in the grocer.

Non-executive directors Richard Cousins and Mikael Olsson have also invested in the business for the first time, spending nearly £45,000 between them to buy 22,357 shares.

Tesco’s finance chief Alan Stewart and chairman John Allan have topped up after investing around £100,000 each, a company filing showed.

Shares in Tesco closed up 2.4 per cent to 201.75p on the news yesterday, already netting some of them a tidy profit after buying their shares at prices between 196.5p and 202.4p.

The share buying spree comes just a day after chief executive Dave Lewis said that they had banned themselves from buying shares whilst they conducted a review of the business because of their exposure to sensitive inside information.

“We excluded ourselves from buying Tesco shares because we had inside information and it wouldn’t have been appropriate for us to trade shares and because we thought that was good corporate governance,” he said at the company’s full-year results presentation at the London Stock Exchange yesterday.

Lewis has faced criticism for not purchasing shares since he joined a year ago, particularly after the boss of rival grocer Morrisons, Dave Potts, snapped up a stake after he took the helm in March.

A spokesperson said that with the company’s one year review of the business officially complete, they had gone ahead and bought shares.

Tesco revealed a 55 per cent drop in half-year operating profit yesterday to £354m, laying bare the challenges still facing the chain a year on from its £326m accounting scandal.

Lewis insisted its performance was improving, after a pick-up in both transactions and the number of goods people are putting into their baskets. UK like-for-like sales fell 1.1 per cent, however trading picked up in the second quarter as the decline in sales slowed to one per cent, from 1.3 per cent in the first quarter.

The company has sold its Korean business and ruled out a rights issue or any further asset sales for now after deciding to keep its data arm Dunnhumby.

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