The managers of Aberdeen Emerging Markets (AEMC) are optimistic about the prospects for the company. Strong performance last year has not yet translated into a reduction in the discount that the share price trades at relative to the asset value, but if outperformance can be maintained, this should follow in time. Investors might also be comforted by AEMC’s much lower volatility of returns compared to its peers and its benchmark.
Companies: Aberdeen Emerging Markets Invstmt Co
There was palpable shift in sentiment over the third quarter with the cautionary undertone perhaps best reflected by gold’s resurgence. Ongoing trade jockeying between the US and China did not help the mood and neither did the Argentine debt default in August. At the real economy level, manufacturing output has been trending lower across some of the major global economies.
Companies: AEMC BIOG SIGT IBT JEFI MHN MERI MTE PSHD RSE SIR FJV LTI MVI SEQI SONG SLI EGL SUPP VNH CSH VSL BRLA UTL ADAM SOHO GPM TPOU LEAF JRS JLEN SEC IGC MPO LIV INTU THRL
Year to date, Aberdeen Emerging Markets (AEMC) has been performing well, outstripping both its benchmark and the average of its peer group by some margin (see page 8). The members of the investment management team, who predicted a resurgence in AEMC’s performance in 2019, believe there is more to come over the remainder of the year. They highlight that, globally, investors are still underweight emerging markets. In addition, the recent rate cut in the US could signal a halt to US dollar strength, to the benefit of emerging market currencies and stock markets.
Worries about interest rates, trade wars and falling credit growth in markets like China have caused valuations in emerging markets to fall sharply. As trade issues get resolved, China refocuses on growth and the Fed pauses, the managers of Aberdeen Emerging Markets Investment Company (AEMC) believe that there is room for emerging markets to continue to rally. Since Andrew Lister and Bernard Moody took charge as co-managers on 1 July 2014, AEMC has outperformed almost all its EM peers, with lower volatility and tracking error. We believe this combination of long-term performance and an attractive dividend yield makes AEMC an attractive candidate for investors looking to increase their emerging market exposure.
In 2018, Aberdeen Emerging Markets (AEMC) gave up the gains it made in 2017; this left its shares trading on a 3.9% dividend yield (one of the highest in its peer group) and a wider discount to its net asset value, currently 15.0%. The shift was largely one of sentiment, investors were worried about the potential effects of rising US interest rates and a US trade war with China on emerging markets. Emerging market currencies weakened and funds focused on the sector experienced significant outflows. The underlying companies now trade on much lower valuations and AEMC’s managers believe that emerging markets have overshot on the downside. The potential is there for a reversal of fortune in 2019.
In 2018, Aberdeen Emerging Markets (AEMC) gave up the gains it made in 2017; this left it trading on a 3.9% yield (one of the highest in its peer group) and a wider discount. The shift was largely one of sentiment, investors were worried about the potential effects of rising US interest rates and a trade war with China on emerging markets. Emerging market currencies weakened and the sector experienced significant outflows. The underlying companies now trade on much lower valuations and AEMC’s managers believe that emerging markets have overshot on the downside. The potential is there for a reversal of fortune in 2019.
Aberdeen Emerging Markets (AEMC) will be 20 years old on 22 June 2018. This is no small feat; it has survived numerous crises in emerging markets (EM), the distortions of ‘hot money’ and a long-standing market focus on growth sectors (which does not suit the managers’ value-investment style). Furthermore, since launch, it has delivered an NAV return of 646% or 10.6% a year, ahead of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, 541% or 9.8% per annum, and well ahead of the MSCI World Index, 256% or 6.6% per annum*.
The Board of Aberdeen Emerging Markets Investment Company (AEMC) has announced that the continuation resolution was approved with 65.3% of the votes cast voting in favour. There will be a further continuation vote in 2023. The Board has also announced the results of the tender offer. The tender price is 652.6487p per share. Given the number of measures introduced in the last year to increase the attractiveness of AEMC and the combination of strong historic performance and low tracking error we continue to recommend that investors buy AEMC for their core emerging market exposure.
The Board of Aberdeen Emerging Markets Investment Company (AEMC) has noted that for the three-year period ending 31 October 2017 the fund outperformed its benchmark index and its Direct Peer Group average. The Board has announced today proposals for a tender offer for up to 10% of the Company’s ordinary shares in issue at a price reflecting a discount of 3.5% to NAV. It has also declared a first interim dividend of 5.25p per share and anticipates that the total dividend for the year will be no less than 21p per share (up from 5p a quarter for the previous two quarters). We believe that these measures further enhance the attractiveness of AEMC and investors should buy AEMC for their core emerging market exposure.
Aberdeen Emerging Markets (AEMC) is designed for investors who want exposure to the compelling investment opportunity that emerging markets provide. Its managers believe that they have built a portfolio of best-of-breed and, often, hard to access managers, and its portfolio is much more diverse than those of competing funds.
Aberdeen Emerging Markets (AEMC) is designed for investors who want exposure to, what the managers are convinced is, the compelling investment opportunity that emerging markets provide. Its managers believe that they have built a portfolio of funds, managed by best-of-breed and, often, hard to access managers, and say that its portfolio is much more diverse than those of competing funds
Aberdeen Emerging Markets Investment Company (AEMC) has, since Andrew Lister and Bernard Moody took charge as co-managers on 1 July 2014, proven itself to be a strong performer, with lower volatility and tracking error than several of its peers. It can access specialist funds in various countries which can potentially boost returns for investors in AEMC. The board’s recent announcement that it will pay a dividend on an ongoing basis and the reduction in AEMC’s management fee add to the fund’s attraction. We recommend that investors should buy AEMC for their core emerging market exposure.
The Board of Aberdeen Emerging Markets Investment Company (“AEMC”) has noted that for the three-year period since Andy Lister and Bernard Moody took charge as co-managers on 1 July 2014, it is the second-best performer in its direct peer group of global emerging market funds and has outperformed the benchmark index. It has achieved these results with significantly lower volatility than many of its peers. Despite these improvements, AEMC continues to trade at a wide discount. The Board has announced today that it plans to pay dividends on an ongoing basis and that AEMC’s management fee is being reduced. It is anticipated that the total dividend paid to shareholders in the next full financial year will be no less than 20p per share, which would represent a yield of 3.4%, based on the share price as at 24 July 2017. We believe that these measures further enhance the attractiveness of AEMC and investors should buy AEMC for their core emerging market exposure.
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AFH interim results have shown resilience in a tough period. Revenues grew by 5% yoy and Adj. EPS is up 8% yoy. We reduce our FY20 EPS forecast by 8% to reflect the wider market falls and slower new business due to the lockdown. This reduction in earnings is significantly less than peers, highlighting the defensive nature of the business and the prudent temporary cost measures being introduced in FY20. The improved FCF of the business should lead to a re-rating, particularly as AFH now trades on 9.3x CY20 P/E, a significant discount to peers. Our reduced target price of 524p implies 81% upside. Re-iterate BUY.
Companies: AFH Financial Group
Much has been written about the effects of the virus on the world and on the stock market. Here is one analyst’s take on some of the likely impacts on the way we should look at companies. This article was originally produced as a blog, “10 Changes Post Virus”, which was published a few weeks ago.
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Aside from its FY 19 earnings presentation, British Land has adopted a more cautious anticipation about Offices in the City of London. We share this pessimism and have been surprised by the recent share’s bump. The latter is the opportunity to turn negative, again, and update our divestment case.
Companies: British Land Company
Hipgnosis Songs Fund (SONG LN) has today announced a trading update for the full year ending 31 March 2020. The unaudited NAV has risen 13% YoY to 116.7p, up 14.3% since the last published NAV of 102.2p as at 10 January 2020. This represents a like for like valuation uplift of 11.4%. All equity has been fully deployed and shareholder approval has been sought to increase net debt from 20% to 30%. Revenue is strong with £64.7m generating an EPS of 10.7p (more than 2x the annual 5p dividend target). NAV growth has been driven by revenue statements which were up 2%, and an increase in streaming growth rate assumptions by the independent valuers. The portfolio comprises 54 catalogues, with 13,291 individual songs, now valued at £757m which was acquired at purchase price of £697m on an acquisition multiple of 13.9x – now valued on 15.0x historical earnings.
Companies: Hipgnosis Songs Fund
Ramsdens has reported a strong set of trading results in the last twelve months to March 2020. COVID lockdown has led to store closures, which will lead to weaker trading over the following months. However, Ramsdens has a very solid balance sheet, is diversified and is well positioned to re-open stores and continue its growth. We use an 8x multiple on last 12 months to March 2020 earnings as a reflection of a normalised earnings base which reduces our target price to 162p from 180p. At this target price Ramsdens would trade on a CY20 P/B of 1.5x. This target price offers 15% upside and we re-iterate BUY.
ULR’s finals were in line with on EPRA NAV and earnings a little better than expected. Valuations remain stable and full rent collection has been achieved for the current quarter. We see fundamental quality and resilience in the (now expanded) portfolio – ULR has already invested nearly £100m in the first two months of the new year following the £136m equity raise. We make no material changes to forecasts. Current valuation points to an 7%+ annualised return, with upside remaining from deployment of funding headroom, active management and potential for valuations to improve.
Companies: Urban Logistics REIT
TCS has confirmed it will pay the previously announced interim dividend of 3.25p. A number of mitigating actions to preserve cash ensures that this is affordable. We estimate the £1.7m payment is less than 10% of cash and available facilities, which should be little changed from the April update. Rent collection levels of 75%, or 86% including deferrals, is resilient under the circumstances. There are also optimistic signs from Europe that people will be shopping in material numbers from 15 June. TCS will have all locations safely open from that date. We lower our NAV forecasts c.2%, mostly for the dividend payment, but also for a tougher outlook for CitiPark. Official guidance understandably remains withdrawn. The shares currently price in a c. 30% decline in underlying property values, which we think is excessive. On this basis, we see upside to the share price, setting it at 235p, still a c. 25% discount to NAV while short-term visibility is low. BUY
Companies: Town Centre Securities
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.
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Today’s FY update reports that the decisive action taken at the outset of the COVID crisis has protected returns. Revenues held up through to the May year end. Aided by cost savings, adj. EBITDA is expected to be 20% ahead. We expect a more modest final dividend to protect the capital surplus. Additional savings have been outlined, which we overlay on a conservative “flat market/fewer new clients” scenario for FY21e – where we hope outperformance is possible. Updating EPS forecasts: FY20e +25%, FY21e -10% and FY22e -7%; also incorporating the Hurley Partners acquisition (+8%). We consider MW a high quality core holding with long term potential.
Companies: Mattioli Woods
Tetragon Financial Group (TFG, Tetragon) achieved a 13.6% NAV/share total return and a 13.4% ROE in FY19, in line with its long-term target of 10–15%. The main driver of Tetragon’s performance was its asset management business (TFG Asset Management), which comprises managers with a total AUM attributable to Tetragon of US$27.4bn and generated an EBITDA of US$59.5m in FY19 (up 51% y-o-y). The late-2019 investment activity left Tetragon with a relatively low net cash position (4.1% of NAV at end-April). The shares trade at a three-year average discount to NAV of 44% (currently at 62.7%), which is relatively wide compared to peers given the company’s track record of delivering a 16% NAV TR pa over the last 10 years. The recent market sell-off has so far resulted in a 5.1% decrease in NAV (ytd to end-April 2020).
Companies: Tetragon Financial Group
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.
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MJ Hudson has confirmed that it expects to achieve profits in line with expectations for FY20E. This is a good result linked to new client wins during the COVID-19 disruption and timely cost management. Whilst much of the group's activities are proving resilient, uncertainty remains and in line with most of the peer group, MJ Hudson is withdrawing guidance for FY21E. We similarly withdraw our FY21E forecasts until visibility improves, moving our rating to Under Review. Meanwhile, the shares are now down 30% since their pre-COVID-19 highs, which is beyond that seen at outsourcing peers (Sanne, JTC). Whilst COVID-19 is presenting challenges for many businesses, we believe that: 1) the structural growth drivers in alternatives that underpin MJ Hudson's growth will continue to remain highly relevant, and 2) its strong balance sheet gives it a relative advantage.
Companies: MJ Hudson Group
Today's update confirms Equals delivered another quarter of significant revenue growth YoY, delivered by organic and acquisitive means. Performance across the product range has varied unsurprisingly and we expect these trends to continue over Q2/20E. Given the great uncertainty over the duration and severity of COVID-19's impact on the group, we withdraw FY20-21E forecasts and place our recommendation Under review, awaiting further clarity. Equals is supported by a strong, debt-free, balance sheet and is undertaking measures to further conserve cash.
Companies: Equals Group
In the past month the group has made significant progress in pivoting its business away from its traditional face-to-face model. Although lending levels remain appropriately subdued, it has achieved an impressive collections performance, with its largest business running at about 90% of pre-lockdown levels. This, combined with the group’s high risk-adjusted margins has enabled it to generate £3m of FCF in the first three weeks of April, taking its net cash position to £38.7m as of 21 April. This strong financial position, combined with the group’s innovative approach to product development puts it in an extremely strong position to serve its clients and win share when the current government restrictions are eventually lifted. Reflecting this positive outlook we reiterate our BUY rating.
Companies: Non-Standard Finance
Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust (SIGT) is managed by a four-strong team at Seneca Investment Managers, seeking undervalued securities across multiple asset classes in order to diversify the trust’s risk and return drivers. Its UK equity portfolio was particularly negatively affected by the coronavirus-led market sell-off in March, given its focus on domestic, mid-cap value stocks, which performed relatively poorly. However, these holdings could stand SIGT in good stead during an economic recovery. The trust’s board has committed to continue paying quarterly dividends, using reserves where necessary if income falls short, which seems likely given the number of dividend cuts announced by corporates in response to the global pandemic.
Companies: Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust