Shares for Sema Group plc, an Anglo-French IT consulting and services company, plunged 43% last week as nervous investors sold off shares following a profit warning.
But it has emerged that Sema director Hartmut Lademacher – a founder of US telecoms software company LHS – sold 2.6 million shares in August and September this year.
The move breached the Financial Service Authority’s rules forbidding the sale of shares by directors two months prior to results. The company’s half-year results were published on 5 September.
Some of the largest Sema investors are now calling for an FSA probe into the sale. One institutional investor told the Financial Times: ‘If regulators let this one go unchallenged, it would set an unfortunate precedent.’
The company told the Daily Telegraph: ‘Lademacher told us that he had misunderstood the close period and that the sales were made in error’. Lademacher is now ‘considering his position’ and awaiting FSA advice.
Sema’s shares are currently trading at 339p, down 27p or 7.4% The company’s shares, which are listed on London’s techMARK index, have lost over 38% of their value in the last month.
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