H&M's Chairman Is Buying Up More of Retailer as Shares Slump

(Bloomberg) -- As shares of Hennes & Mauritz AB slump and analysts cut their forecasts and ratings on Europe’s second-largest clothing retailer, at least one investor is seeing it as a buying opportunity.

H&M Chairman Stefan Persson has spent some 4.69 billion kronor ($538 million) buying an additional 20.6 million shares in the company this year, data from the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority show. The combined H&M stake owned by his investment company Ramsbury Invest AB and his children now stands at 39.7 percent, up from 38.5 percent at the end of last year.

Persson has acquired H&M shares this year in several tranches, most recently on May 22, when he purchased 350,250 shares at a price of 223.6 kronor per share. He also raised his holdings in 2016.

H&M’s shares have slumped 10 percent this year amid concerns about pricing pressure and markdown risks. While it has recovered some losses in recent sessions, it still lags the benchmark OMX Stockholm 30 Index, which has risen 8.2 percent. Rival Inditex SA, owner of the Zara and Oysho fashion brands, has climbed about 12 percent in the period.

Analysts haven’t been as keen as Persson, lowering their estimates as the stock declined. The average 12-month price target for H&M has dropped 7.2 percent since the beginning of the year, to 245.1 kronor. The proportion of sell ratings has also increased, to 33 percent from 27.5 percent in early 2017, the highest level in a year.

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