AVZ Minerals chairman Klaus Eckhof offers explanation for stock selldown

Klaus Eckhof AVZ Minerals ASX shares selldown price plunge
AVZ Minerals’ share price plunged this afternoon after it was announced that executive chairman Klaus Eckhof sold off nearly half his stake over the past few days.

Market lithium darling AVZ Minerals (ASX: AVZ) has received a “please explain” from the ASX today after its share price had plummeted almost 30% by early afternoon, triggered by executive chairman Klaus Eckhof’s on and off-market selldown over recent days.

Today’s price is a far cry from the company’s peak of A$0.365 in mid-January when investors where referring to the company as “the goat”.

AVZ has been advancing its flagship Manono lithium project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where massive spodumene intersections have been pulled out of the ground up to 295.03m wide grading 1.75% lithium and 856 parts per million tin from 62m.

Despite ongoing news of positive drill and metallurgical results, the company’s share price has been declining since mid-March to hit today’s bottom of A$0.086.

In response to today’s ASX price and volume query, AVZ stated it “was not aware of any information concerning it that has not been announced, which, if known, could be an explanation” for the recent drop.

However, AVZ did point to its announcement today of Mr Eckhof’s recent on and off-market share disposals where he offloaded almost half his stake in AVZ for more than A$4.5 million.

Klaus Eckhof share selldown AVZ Minerals
AVZ Minerals executive chairman Klaus Eckhof.

On the 4 June, Mr Eckhof managed to divest 9.5 million ordinary shares off-market for A$1.615 million or A$0.17 per share.

However, the rest of the shares were sold on-market at prices ranging between A$0.1447/share and A$0.1189/share between 4 June and 6 June, which gave Eckhof almost A$2.94 million.

The disposal in recent days is by no means a solo act, with Mr Eckhof and non-executive director Patrick Flint moving stock in September last year and January this year.

In September, Mr Eckhof discarded 25 million shares to free up A$3.88 million in cash. The disposal was both off and on-market.

Meanwhile, Patrick Flint sold 2 million shares the same month for A$310,000 all on-market.

Mr Flint divested AVZ stock again in January by selling 2 million shares on-market at A$0.2567, giving him A$513,400.

The disposal has sparked ire with AVZ holders, with many outraged the share price has been pummelled.

When approached for comment by Small Caps, Mr Eckhof said he “had a small window” to sell stock because he had been unable to push it previously due to “various disclosure reasons”.

He added “everyone has personal financial needs” and noted that last year he sold at A$0.15 per share, before they slid to A$0.097 in September and rebounding to tip the mid-January peak of A$0.365.