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Primary Health Properties’ boss has snapped up £69,000 of shares in the hospital and primary care centre developer and landlord ahead of his retirement at the end of this month.

Chief executive Harry Hyman, who announced at the end of 2022 that he would leave the business he founded in 1996, bought the 74,890 shares at 92p a share on April 5. He owns 1.83 per cent of the company, according to FactSet data.

Hyman will step down after PHP’s annual general meeting later this month, when shareholders will vote on his appointment as non-executive chair for a maximum term of three years. NewRiver Reit founder Mark Davies will replace Hyman at the helm.

The purchase comes after the company posted its 2023 results, in which pre-tax profit more than halved due to higher interest rates hitting the value of its properties. However, net rental income, rental revenue less the costs of running the building, rose by 5.5 per cent due to contracted rent rises in its long leases with its healthcare providers, mostly comprising parts of the NHS.

The landlord’s history of rental increases guaranteed by the NHS’s reliability as a tenant has allowed it to increase dividend payments every year since Hyman founded the business nearly three decades ago. John Cahill, analyst at Stifel, described PHP as a “rare ‘dividend aristocrat’ in the UK real estate sector, delivering consecutive dividend growth over each of Harry’s 28 years as chief executive of the company, generated from the lowest-risk tenant covenant in the sector, with 90 per cent of rental income backed by the UK or Irish governments”.

Director’s spouse picks up Barr tab

The spouse of a director at AG Barr has bought £59,300 worth of shares in the FTSE 250 drinks company. The owner of the Irn Bru, Rubicon and Tizer brands recently posted a bump in sales and earnings in a bubbly results statement for the 2023 calendar year in March, its last under the leadership of Roger White, who is leaving after 20 years at the helm at the end of this month.

Non-executive director Louise Smalley’s partner bought 10,200 shares at £5.81 per share, close to the stock’s 12-month high of £6.02. Smalley, whose career includes a stint as HR director at Whitbread, joined AG Barr’s board last June.

The near-150-year-old business is going through a transformation. Deals for energy drink brand Boost and the remaining stake in oat drink company MOMA Foods at the end of 2022 added some pep to its results statement. Meanwhile, Euan Sutherland, the former chief executive of Saga and Superdry will come in as the new boss at the start of May, with White “available until the end of July to support a smooth leadership transition as planned”.

Should the share price return to the highs it hit in 2019, before uncertainty around the soft drinks industry levy (colloquially known as the “sugar tax”) raised questions around the company’s exposure to highly sugared carbonated drinks, Smalley’s investment would generate a solid return. The business’s introduction of a version of Irn Bru containing much less sugar, plus its expansion into new brands, has helped it recover some of its lost mojo since then. Following its trading statement in February, analysts at Edison noted AG Barr’s adjusted pre-tax profit had “slightly surpassed prior market expectations, despite facing challenges such as the unseasonably wet summer weather in its third quarter”.

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