There was an eclectic mix of property companies to feature in the top price movers for September. Top of the tree was private rented sector and residential development specialist Sigma Capital Group, with a 34.2% rise. The group launched a £1bn joint venture with EQT Real Estate, the real estate platform of global investment firm EQT, to deliver 3,000 private rental homes in Greater London. Micro-cap investor Panther Securities also hit double-digit gains, while Macau Property Opportunities saw an uplift in its share price after announcing debt refinancing and a disposal. CLS Holdings, the investor in offices in Germany, France and the UK, continued to see a recovery in its share price – which has risen 15.1% in the last three months. Off the back of solid results, Berlin residential landlord Phoenix Spree Deutschland saw its share price gain 7.2%. Schroder REIT’s share price rose 6.6% in the month as it embarked on a share buyback programme, while Irish commercial property investor Yew Grove REIT also saw positive shareholder reaction to amending its investment strategy to increase its target loan to value ratio to 40%.
Companies: SUPR DIGS CRC PSDL ASEI TPON RLE UKCM BREI BCPT RGL SIR SLI TOWN CAL
GCP Student Living’s (DIGS’s) FY20 financial performance was robust with increased rental income and fully adjusted earnings despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Portfolio valuation gains drove NAV growth and including dividends paid the accounting total return was 7.6%. The pandemic will continue to negatively affect FY21, including reduced bookings for the 2020/21 academic year just commencing. However, beyond the current challenges we see no change in the positive fundamentals for DIGS’s quality portfolio assets located primarily in and around London.
Companies: GCP Student Living Plc
A number of REITs have the ability to thrive in current market conditions and thereafter. Not only do they hold assets that will remain in strong demand, but they have focus and transparency. The leases and underlying rents are structured in a manner to provide long visibility, growth and security. Hardman & Co defined an investment universe of REITs that we considered provided security and “safer harbours”. We introduced this universe with our report published in March 2019: “Secure income” REITs – Safe Harbour Available. Here, we take forward the investment case and story. We point to six REITs, in particular, where we believe the risk/reward is the most attractive.
Companies: AGR CSH ESP DIGS IHR LXI PHP RESI SIR SUPR THRL SOHO BBOX SHED WHR
The covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the share price of property companies, with 31% wiped off the value of their total market capitalisation during the first quarter of 2020.
Companies: AEWU CREI CSH BOOT INL HLCL THRL SUPR RESI RGL DIGS GR1T SOHO PHP EBOX ASLI UTG AGR UAI BLND UANC CAL SHED CWD WHR EPIC WKP GRI YEW HMSO PCA CCRGF NRR
We have knitted together the impact on the investment companies from what is now widely considered to be the most severe pandemic in a century. The collapse in asset prices over the latter part of March, brought the curtain down on an up-market that lasted more than ten years. In amongst this, there were pockets, such as the technology sector, that held up well. For many industries, the worst is still to come, as we brace ourselves for the sharpest contraction to global growth since the US great depression.
Companies: ASL SDV ASIT BGEU BRLA CCPE DPA IEM JMF JZCP JUKG EPIC PSHD CSH RIII CCPG BLP TMPL BPCR SEQI AIF SMT KKVX FAIR ICON RSE CRS GWI USF DIGS
GCP Student Living (DIGS) continued to generate strong accounting and share price returns in the three months ended 31 December 2019 (Q220). Portfolio performance continues to benefit from strong supply-demand fundamentals in the markets in which it operates, primarily in and around London (85% of the portfolio value). This is reflected in full occupancy, above inflation rental growth and tightening valuation yields. Dividends are growing and cover building as new assets come on stream and DIGS is well on track for full cover on a fully developed and let basis.
GCP Student Living (DIGS) owns a portfolio of student accommodation buildings located in areas of high demand and low supply – London, Brighton and Bristol. It aims to provide capital returns and dividends that can grow in line with or above inflation, although the majority of its income is not directly index-linked. Returns to date have validated the thesis that high quality, modern accommodation would lead to capital gains and income growth, with the capital values of the portfolio being substantially written up and the accommodation running at 100% occupancy over the past three years. NAV total returns have been substantially ahead of the average real estate investment trust (REIT) and the FTSE index, as we discuss in the Performance section. The dividend has grown each year, and the last annual payout of 6.15p amounts to a yield of 3.5% at current share price levels. We discuss the levels of cover in the Dividend section. The trust has traded on a significant premium for much of its life, which reduces the yield for those buying now. The company, which is a REIT, owns 11 properties, with agreements signed to purchase a further two. There is debt secured against individual assets (see Gearing section).
GCP Student Living (DIGS) is continuing to benefit from strong supply-demand fundamentals in the markets in which it operates, primarily in and around London. It is maintaining full occupancy, rents continue to grow ahead of inflation and profitability is showing the benefits of scale. Dividends are growing and cover building as new assets come on stream, and DIGS is well on track for full cover on a fully developed and let basis. Investor sentiment towards the sector is positive and the new London Plan appears to be adding to the scarcity value of DIGS’s London assets.
Aquila European Renewables Income – Results of IPO | GCP Student Living – Results of fundraising | SQN Asset Finance – C share conversion update
Companies: GCP Student Living Plc (DIGS:LON)Kkv Secured Loan Fund Limited (SQNX:LON)
Starwood European Real Estate Financing – Results of fundraising | GCP Student Living – Proposed fundraising | Civitas Social Housing – Q1 2019 NAV and update | GCP Infrastructure Investments – Response to BeST regulatory announcement
Companies: SWEF DIGS CSH GCP
GCP Student Living – Acquisition, NAV and dividend declaration
Strong growth continued at GCP Student Living (DIGS) in H119. Rental income benefited from development/refurbishment completions, above inflation rental growth and continued full occupancy. Profitability showed the benefit of scale economies, with the operating margin increasing. Dividend cover increased strongly to 81%, well on track for full cover on a fully developed and let basis. The existing portfolio is performing well (H119 NAV total return of 7.9%), developments are on track to deliver further income growth, and the company continues to identify attractive opportunities for further growth.
Greencoat Renewables – Results of fundraising | Empiric Student Property – Finals to 31 December 2018 | GCP Student Living – Interims to 31 December 2018 |
Companies: GRP ESP DIGS
NESF* – Next Energy Solar – NAV update and dividend | DIGS – GCP Student Living – Portfolio update
Companies: Nextenergy Solar Fund (NESF:LON)GCP Student Living Plc (DIGS:LON)
GCP Student Living (DIGS) saw strong growth in FY18 rental income, driven by an increasing number of operational beds, continuing full occupancy and good levels of rental growth. Growing dividends should be fully covered once current development projects are completed and let. Capital values also grew, with investor interest in the asset class remaining strong, contributing to 11.5% NAV total return for the FY18 year. The company continues to find attractive investment opportunities, maintaining its selective approach to investment, both by location and asset quality, and is seeking to raise up to £55m in a share pacing.
Research Tree provides access to ongoing research coverage, media content and regulatory news on GCP Student Living Plc.
We currently have 113 research reports from 7
Although 2020 will probably go down in history as one of the most challenging years experienced during our lifetime, it will also likely be chronicled as one of the best years for the recognition and appreciation of science. As we entered 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was in its infancy. However, it rapidly evolved through the exponential rise in infections and mortality globally. Much has been achieved during the past 12 months in the fight against COVID-19, but, as we enter 2021, there are considerable concerns about the emergence of a mutant version of the virus and the second wave that we are now facing.
Companies: AVO ARBB ARIX BBGI CLIG DNL FLTA ICGT OCI PCA PIN PHP RECI STX SCE TRX SHED VTA YEW
What’s new: Ahead of the publication of the Group’s interims results for the six months to 31 December 2020, CLIG has released a detailed trading update which reveals:
Group consolidated FuM of US$11.0 billion (£8.0 billion), which is twice the FuM of US$5.5 billion (£4.4 billion) at the Group’s year end on 30 June 2020;
The merger with Karpus Management Inc ("KMI") added c US$3.6 billion from 1 October 2020;
Investment performance across CLIG’s investment strategies was “strong”, following “significant discount narrowing” and “good NAV performance”;
Rebalancing of client portfolios resulted in US$ 290 million of net outflows.
Companies: City of London Investment Group PLC
Secure Trust Bank’s (STB) pre-close update confirms the upbeat trends evident in its Q3 update in November. The strong lending rebound continued into Q4, loan repayment holidays are at low levels, and the balance sheet has remained robust and liquid. STB reiterated that its FY20 PBT would be well ahead of £9.7m (we forecast £13.0m). However, the new COVID-19 restrictions introduced in December 2020 have affected consumer loan demand into 2021, as well as the Motor Finance business. Management expects to be better placed to disclose its outlook for FY21 when STB’s FY20 results are released on 25 March. Our forecasts (FY21 PBT £31.6m, ROE 9.1%) and fair value (1,756p per share) remain unchanged.
Companies: Secure Trust Bank Plc
Finals (9mths to Sep-20) are in line with expectations. Recurring fee income from 3rd party AuM (incl. PRSR) ensured solid profitability. The balance sheet is well resourced with £26m to develop seed assets. With a positive outlook following the launch of the £1bn JV with EQT, we see accelerating returns over the medium term. PRSR is also on track to materially complete the initial 5,200 portfolio this year. Sigma trades below our 200p+/share intrinsic valuation – which attributes no value to AuM growth, which is a strategic priority.
Companies: Sigma Capital Group plc
Volta Finance (VTA) posted a 5.7% decrease in NAV in 2020, recovering from the initial 32.4% drop in March. This was mainly supported by CLO equity tranches posting solid monthly returns in November and December 2020 at +11.0% and 9.7%, respectively. Volta had anticipated a downturn for some time and repositioned its portfolio into CLO equity over the last two years. During the early-2020 market turmoil, Volta’s manager focused on securing liquidity by fully deleveraging the portfolio and implementing cost-cutting initiatives. In December, Volta introduced a dividend policy to pay 8% of its NAV (in line with historical yields), which currently implies a prospective 9.2% yield on the share price.
Companies: Volta Finance
Allied Minds has announced that Joe Pignato has decided to step down as CEO and from the board with immediate effect. However, he will continue to support the company as CFO for an interim period as the board continues its search for a permanent CFO. As part of a streamlining process, Allied Minds will now become a board-led company with no immediate intention to appoint a new CEO. The chairman and NEDs (experienced VCs and private company investors) will represent Allied Minds on portfolio company boards (including Federated Wireless, BridgeComm and Spin Memory) with an intention to accelerate realisations where possible.
Companies: Allied Minds PLC
Sirius Real Estate has been a stand-out performer within the UK listed commercial real estate sector over the last three years, delivering a total shareholder return of 107%. The shares also offer a valuable portfolio diversifier for investors, with a geographic focus on Germany, and a focus on pro
Companies: Sirius Real Estate Limited
Personal Group's trading update indicates delivery of a solid FY20E result, an outcome better than expected earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, reflective of the group's robust recurring revenues. Strategic progress has been made in the year with new client wins, greater diversification and Sage Employee Benefits (SEB) now moving to a paid-for model. The short-term outlook for FY21 is uncertain, given reduced new Insurance sales this year, however we view this as a temporary headwind resulting from lockdown restrictions, which will be lifted in time. With evidence of traction across the group, we remain positive, but current uncertainty (lockdowns, claims etc) means we maintain an U/R recommendation.
Companies: Personal Group Holdings Plc
Vietnam Enterprise Investments (VEIL) is the largest and longest-established Vietnamese equities closed-end fund. The last quarter of 2019 and most of 2020 marked a period of portfolio repositioning for the fund. The team sold 14 holdings, and bought two, making the portfolio more focused (28 stocks at end 2020 versus 41 at end Q319) but better balanced by market cap as well as domestic and international business exposure. Over H220 the performance has picked up, with NAV total return of 28% versus 24% for the VN Index, after marginally lagging the benchmark over the past three years. The trust is well positioned for longer-term investors looking for an exposure to the fast-growing Vietnamese economy via a relatively large and liquid listed equities vehicle.
Companies: Vietnam Enterprise Investments
Pacific Horizon (PHI) generated a very impressive uplift in its NAV over the course of 2020. This reflects its focus on growth, and technology and biotech stocks in particular. These performed well as we attempted to adjust to life under the pandemic, thereby accelerating a number of structural trends. PHI provided an NAV total return of 86.1%, which eclipsed the return on the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan of 21.2%, the broader MSCI AC World of 12.7% and the average of its Asia Pacific sector peer group of 25.3%. PHI is the top-performing trust in this sector by a significant margin. Despite this stellar growth, PHI’s manager is not resting on his laurels. Emerging Asia still remains a high-growth and underresearched region, and he continues to focus on those themes he expects to do well over the next five years. For example, EV continues to be a significant theme and the manager has been increasing exposure to the commodities needed to deliver a greener future, but which the world is structurally short of, following long-term underinvestment.
Companies: Pacific Horizon Investment Trust
Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust’s (MNP’s) manager Zehrid Osmani reports that his ongoing focus on long-term structural, sustainable business models was beneficial for the fund’s performance during the coronavirus-led market sell-off in Q120, with portfolio companies undertaking measures to protect their brand equity. He is encouraged by a general increase in investor awareness of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, an area of research that Martin Currie has focused on for several years, as he believes that ESG improvements can lead to higher total returns for shareholders. MNP’s performance has improved since the appointment of Osmani in October 2018, and its NAV is now ahead of its benchmark over the last one, three, five and 10 years.
Companies: Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust
AVI Global Trust (AGT) offers a genuinely different investment approach to those of competing trusts in the AIC’s global sector. It also has a good track record of beating its performance benchmark, the MSCI All Countries World ex the United States Index, with dividends reinvested and translated back into pounds. Some well-timed trades and a willingness to look through the current COVID-19 disruption affecting some businesses have helped drive strong performance from AGT over the past few months. The trust’s shares are on an attractive discount, 10.3% at close of business on 22 January 2021, and it is itself invested in a portfolio of high-quality family holding companies, closed-end funds and cash/asset-rich Japanese securities, which collectively trade at a weighted average discount of 30.1% (as at 18 January 2021) to the value of their underlying assets. The manager sees numerous catalysts to unlock value from AGT’s portfolio over 2021.
Companies: Avi Global Trust
Redde Northgate has come through the COVID crisis in very good shape so far. We expect minimal impact on the former Northgate business from “lockdown 2.0”, a strong recovery in profits and a re-rating as normality returns and Redde reverts to mean. We could see further useful earnings upside from acquisitions such as Nationwide and revenue synergies not yet included. The Group is transforming itself into a mobility business which is higher returning, more diversified and has sustainable compounding growth prospects.
Companies: Redde Northgate PLC
Further media reports that Dr Martens, the British Boot brand is planning an IPO on the LSE. It is currently owned by PE group, Permira who is expected to sell down its stake at the IPO. March 2020 YE the group had revenues of £672m and EBITDA of £184m. Deal size TBC. Upon Admission to AIM, Nightcap will acquire The London Cocktail Club Limited (the "London Cocktail Club"), which is an award winning independent operator of ten individually themed cocktail bars in nine London locations and one location in Bristol. Offer TBC Due mid Jan. HSS Hire Group, HSS.L transfer from Main to Aim. Mkt Cap c. £70m. Recently raised £52.6m. Leading supplier of tool and equipment for hire in the United Kingdom and Ireland and has provided equipment hire services in the United Kingdom for more than 60 years, primarily focusing on the B2B market. Due 14 Jan. VH Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities plc, a closed-ended investment Company focused on making sustainable energy infrastructure investments, today announces intends to launch an initial public offering of shares on the Official List (Premium) of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. Due by Early Feb.
Companies: IUG CBP KAT APP RST DIS NICL BOKU CNIC HE1
Pacific Horizon (PHI) generated a very impressive uplift in its NAV over the course of 2020. This reflects its focus on growth, and technology and biotechnology stocks in particular. These performed well as we attempted to adjust to life under the pandemic, thereby accelerating a number of structural trends. PHI provided an NAV total return of 86.1%, which eclipsed the return on the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan index of 21.2%, the broader MSCI AC World of 12.7% and the average of its Asia Pacific sector peer group (see page 23) of 25.3%. PHI is the topperforming trust in this sector by a significant margin. Despite this stellar growth, PHI’s manager is not resting on his laurels. Emerging Asia still remains a high-growth and underresearched region, and he continues to focus on those themes he expects to do well over the next five years. For example, companies exposed to the growth in electric vehicles (EV) continue to be a significant theme. The manager has been increasing exposure to the commodities needed to deliver a greener future, but which the world is structurally short of, following long-term underinvestment.