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G8, Ingenia, Ardent Leisure and Vision Eye: Fund managers buy up

Most readers are familiar with the daily feed of company announcements released by the ASX (ASX: ASX). Some of these announcements are of course very interesting, such as financial result releases, while others are slightly more mundane and ‘procedural’ in nature.

One of the many ‘procedural’ rules is that investors are required to lodge an initial substantial shareholding notice when they purchase 5% of a company. This disclosure helps to keep market participants informed regarding significant movements in the share register and can provide useful insights into what other investors are up to.

National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB) and its associated funds management entities (including MLC Investments) recently lodged notice that it now owns 5.07% of G8 Education (ASX: GEM). G8 Education has only been listed for about six years, however in that time it has grown into one of Australia’s largest operators of early child care services.

The company has been impressive at returning profits to shareholders, and unlike most dividend paying companies which pay out twice a year, G8 pays quarterly returns. The company also announced recently that it was raising the annual dividend by 20%, from 10 cents per share (cps) to 12 cps.

BT Investment Management (ASX: BTT), a fund manager with substantial funds under management, has announced an initial stake of 7.73% in Ardent Leisure (ASX: AAD). Ardent Leisure owns a number of appealing assets including the Dreamworld theme park in Queensland, along with a number of other entertainment venues such as bowling centres and cinemas. The stock has a yield of over 6% and exposure to foreign and domestic earnings streams.

Fisher Funds is a New Zealand-based investment manager that has significant investments in Australian listed stocks as well as NZ ones. Fisher Funds recently purchased 5.21% of Ingenia Communities (ASX: ILF), a small real estate investment trust that owns, manages and develops senior housing communities.

Highly regarded fund manager Ausbil Dexia moved to a 5% ownership position in Vision Eye Institute (ASX: VEI) recently. Vision has had a tumultuous decade in which its share price fell from a high around $5 to low of nearly 5 cents. The company managed to survive this near death experience and looks to be on the mend, with the share price gaining 137% in the past 12 months to 80 cps.

Foolish takeaway

Trying to play ‘copycat’ with a highly regarded investor’s portfolio rarely seems to work in practice, however using other investors for idea generation can be a helpful tool for identifying companies to research further.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur owns shares in BT Investment Management.

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