The Woolworths share price has recovered nicely from its very recent low of R63; on Wednesday, it was nudging R73. The improvement is likely to have been a huge relief to shareholders who piled into the shares at comparatively steep levels since the grand Australian adventure was announced back in 2014. Among the many shareholders who will be relieved are members of the group’s management team and nonexecutive directors who bought up the shares on the back of the bullish excitement caused by the David Jones acquisition. Scattered in between the buying frenzy has been some selling, mainly by executive directors and, frequently, to settle tax obligations relating to share option schemes. Some of these transactions were done at levels (well into the R90s) that now seem just distant, happy memories. As recently as October 2015, CEO Ian Moir sold R50m in shares at R89 a piece to settle a zero-cost collar-hedging transaction. But the news out of Australia is not encouraging. Given that, a...

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