Domino’s Pizza falls after £30m shares sell-off

Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES in Domino’s Pizza tumbled 7.5 per cent yesterday afternoon as investors reacted to news that two prominent non-executive directors sold more than £30m in shares after markets closed on Friday.

Property entrepreneur Nigel Wray, an early investor in the pizza-maker who once held nearly 30 per cent of the firm, has pocketed £28m after selling his remaining three per cent stake for 570p per share.

At the same time, Domino’s chairman and former chief executive Stephen Hemsley sold 500,000 shares for £2.85m, almost halving his interest in the business to 0.4 per cent.

The flurry of share sales comes less than a week after the group announced that half-year profits had slumped to £11.6m from £21.5m the same time last year, as larger-than-expected losses hit its fledgling German business.

The group now expects to break even in Germany in 2016 or 2017, as opposed to an earlier target of 2015. It has also slowed the rate of its expansion programme in the country.

On the same day the FTSE 250 company said that outgoing chief financial officer Lee Ginsberg sold 70,000 shares for 578p per share, or £404,600.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Wayne Brown said Domino’s Pizza has a long history of directors selling shares. But he added: “Have we reached a point where investors should take note?”

A spokesperson for Domino’s declined to comment on the share sales yesterday, except that it had seen strong demand for Domino’s shares in the market – particularly in the US.

Shares closed down 3.64 per cent.