Investor confidence in Toll Brothers, based on its rising stock price, has been growing since early March, despite first-quarter losses and the selloff of three sizable chunks of stock by the company’s chairman.
Robert Toll currently owns slightly more than 10% of Toll Brothers’ 161.1 million outstanding shares and shows no signs of bailing on his own company. But that hasn’t kept analysts from speculating about the motives behind his recent liquidations. On April 1, Toll sold 192,956 shares, at $18.6134 per share, or $3.59 million. On March 18, he sold two blocks of stock, 467,600 and 32,000 shares at $17.4611 and $18.0664 per share, respectively. Two days earlier, Toll sold another two blocks of stock, 470,192 and 29,808 shares, at $17.3674 and $17.0126 per share, respectively.
His brother, Bruce Toll (who is not involved in the home building operations), sold 300,000 shares, at $17.5874 per share, on March 23.
Those selloffs followed the March 4 release of Toll Brothers’ financial performance for the three months ended Jan. 31, during which the builder lost $89 million (on top of a $96 million loss in the same period a year earlier), and saw its revenue decline 51% to $409 million.
The company’s stock hit a low of $13.72 per share in early March, but has been going up since. It closed at $18.58 on April 1, and at $19.66 last Friday. (Its stock was trading downward in the first minutes this morning.) Last month, Institutional Investor named Toll Brothers the “most shareholder friendly” of all public home builders.
John Caulfield is a senior editor at BUILDER magazine.