Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon aims to maximise capital returns by investing in the equity of Japanese smaller companies. The management team, led by Praveen Kumar since 2016, are long-term growth investors, and aim to identify disruptive companies which will be long-term winners and to hold them through cyclical changes in sentiment and revenues until their potential is realised. The approach is ultra-long term and ultra-active. The active share of the portfolio was 94% at the end of the last financial year, meaning that there is very little overlap between the trust and the MSCI Japan Small Cap index. The turnover last year was 18.7%, consistent with an average holding period of 5 years, while almost 23% of the portfolio is held in stocks which the trust had owned for over 10 years. The trust has handsomely outperformed the index and peer group over the longer run, leading to its current premium rating. Over five years, the NAV total return is 218% compared to just 135% for the average Japanese smaller company trust and 97% for the Topix. The trust trades on a 2% premium compared to a 3.6% five-year average. The trust has structural gearing worth around 11% of NAV at current levels. While this has been a long-term tailwind, it did hinder returns in 2018 when the Japanese market fell, although this was offset by good stock-picking. Praveen took over management in 2016 and works with 10 other members of the Japanese Equities team with a collaborative approach to a clearly-defined style that is followed across the funds on the desk. The management fee was reduced slightly in December 2018 as the trust has continued to pass benefits of scale on to investors (the premium rating has allowed the trust to grow significantly over the past few years by issuing new stock). It is the cheapest AIC Japanese Smaller Companies trust on an OCF basis.
Companies: Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon
Today, we introduce our investment trust ratings. According to the quantitative screens we have selected in an attempt to highlight the best performers in the closed-ended universe, the trusts discussed here have been the best in their classes over the last five years. We have selected trusts using two different sets of criteria, aiming to identify the top performers for capital growth and for achieving a high and growing income. There are many rating systems for open-ended funds, but no quantitative-based system for investment trusts that is available to the average investor. While we cannot identify trusts which will perform well in the future – past outperformance is no guide to future out-performance – we hope these ratings will highlight the outstanding performers in the closed-ended universe and those managers who have best used the advantages of investment trusts to generate alpha. We are trying to reward consistent and long-term outperformance, and so we have decided to look over a five-year period. All data is as of the end of December 2018, sourced from Morningstar and JPMorgan Cazenove. We have looked at NAV total return performance and discount value has not been considered: the aim is to identify those trusts which have performed the best rather than highlight bargains.
Companies: IPU FAS ATR JEO FEV FGT THRG SEC PAC BRSC IAT HNE MIGO TRY JMG DIVI SLS BGS SDP JETI SOI BCI MRC TIGT EDIN JAGI BEE SDV BRIG AAIF HFEL SCF SIGT BRFI IVPG CTY HINT JCH NAIT
Research due to be published in the CFA’s Financial Analysts Journal claims to demystify Warren Buffett’s astonishing long-term success, and shows how he has achieved his incredible run of returns. In a nutshell, the Buffett “secret sauce” is leveraging up low beta, cheap, high quality stocks. This approach has allowed Buffett to generate a high information ratio - a ratio used by analysts to show risk-adjusted returns relative to a benchmark - over a multi-decade career, and returns which have generated significant value over a passive investment strategy. Using the same analytical ratio as a starting point - albeit over a shorter time period - we identify investment trust managers in the UK who have generated returns with similar characteristics, and then examine their investment style. We then consider whether Buffett’s “secret sauce” is past its sell by date; could it be that the approach which worked so well for him in the past is dated now, in a world where innovative disruption is occurring at an ever-faster pace?
Companies: BGFD HNE BGS JEO SJG THRG
Popular wisdom has it that, while over the long term small caps have outperformed large caps, this has tended to be at the cost of greater levels of volatility. However, our research suggests that the extent of this volatility is overstated. In fact, the last five years have seen lower volatility from small-cap stocks relative to large caps across the world. This could be due to the fact we have enjoyed an extended bull run, or that the UK government has been utilising quantitative easing to maintain artificially low interest rates. Whatever the cause, crunch the numbers and you will find that over this period the FTSE SmallCap sector has seen a lower maximum drawdown than the FTSE 100, but a maximum gain 21.6% greater than large caps. This phenomenon is not limited to the UK either. When comparing the MSCI Europe Small Cap Index to the MSCI Europe Index, the former has delivered double the annualised returns, again at a lower standard deviation. This combination of superior returns and comparable volatility is an attractive blend. Furthermore, with research on small caps likely to become even more thinly available as a result of Mifid II, the ability of small-cap managers to add alpha – a trait they’ve already shown themselves very capable of – is likely to be magnified. Against this backdrop, we consider the outlook for smaller companies.
Companies: SLS MINI IPU ASL JUSC BGS
With strong performance from most emerging markets, smaller companies and technology, 2017 will be remembered as the year that rewarded those investors willing to take some risk with their investments. Despite initial worries about political risk stemming from Brexit and upcoming European elections, equity markets in general soared. For the first time in recorded history the S&P 500 made gains in every month of the calendar year, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index ended the year up 30.55% (in sterling terms), while the Japanese Topix Index returned 22.23%.
Companies: IBT SMT JEO EMF SDP FAS BGS AJG
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Litigation Capital Management (LCM) is an alternative asset manager specialising in disputes financing, with its main operations in Australia and the UK. The company provides funding for litigation in exchange for a share of any settlement and has built a strong track record of supporting winning c
Companies: Litigation Capital Management Ltd
Mondelez International has announced that it has appointed MediaMonks to manage global technology infrastructure, global websites and content production for North America, Latin America and AMEA. We believe this account win by S4 Capital further vindicates the unitary structure and integrated offer of the group as Mondelez initially worked with MightyHive before broadening the scope of this relationship to encompass MediaMonks. S4 Capital describes the account as a Whopper, indicating that it will generate revenues of over $20m when the account is fully transitioned. We will update our forecasts for the account win at the next financial newsflow from the group. We currently forecast LFL Gross Profit growth of +26% for FY21 and believe the Mondelez win will further accelerate this. We raise our target price to 500p (was 475p) and retain our Buy recommendation.
Companies: S4 Capital plc
Liontrust has delivered in line interims, however AuM growth since the HY point drives higher earnings estimates. In H1, net inflows remained strong despite the backdrop and, alongside performance, contributed to 28% AuM growth. Post-period, performance momentum has boosted AuM by a further 5% to £28.1bn, plus the completion of Architas. Together, this results in a step up in the run rate. We update our forecasts for higher than expected AuM driving a +5% upgrade to FY21e EPS and +10-13% in outer years. We do not forecast scaling in Architas or Global which could prompt further upgrades, reducing the 15x FY22e PER.
Companies: Liontrust Asset Management PLC
H1 has seen a clearer outlook for portfolio valuations which has allowed Mercia to recoup some of the reduction at the Finals. Cash earnings are better than expected as costs have remained lower for longer. A well-funded portfolio and £25m cash has prompted declaration of a maiden 0.1p interim dividend – a strong signal of confidence. Lower costs and increased asset values have prompted 30-45% upgrades to adj. EBITDA across the horizon. The shares are trading at a 32% discount to NAV, of which 17% is cash. This disregards all value for the asset management platform. A 10x EBITDA multiple ascribed to 3rd party asset management earnings plus NAV points to a c.40p/share intrinsic value, before further value creation.
Companies: Mercia Asset Management PLC
Today's news & views, plus announcements from Capita, JD Wetherspoon, HarbourVest Global Private Equity, Walker Crips Group, Randall & Quilter*, Michelmersh Brick, LoopUp, Schroders British Opportunities Trust and Baillie Gifford UK Growth Trust.
Companies: Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Ltd.
An in-line trading update for the year to 31 December 2020 states EBITDA will be at least £3.6m and £2.0 at the PBT level. However, conservative budgeting affects 2021E and 2022E with the company rebasing expectations following year-end re-forecasting exercise, taking into account the prolonged challenging macroeconomic environment. The acquisitive opportunity remains in place.
Companies: STM Group PLC
Today's news & views, plus announcements from LLOY, POG, FRAS, PETS, SPR, WHI, FKE, RLE
Companies: Lloyds Banking Group plc (LLOY:LON)Real Estate Investors plc (RLE:LON)
Today's trading update demonstrates Equals producing robust FY20E revenues, as it rebounds steadily from a COVID-19 affected Q2/20. Material progress has been made on rightsizing costs, the benefits of which should be felt in FY21E. While our newly reissued forecasts expect a weaker profit delivery in H2/20E, we expect strong YoY EBITDA growth thereafter, as the group returns to double-digit revenue growth with a rationalised cost base and geared profit growth. Should these forecasts be met, we expect the current c2x EV/Sales multiple to move back towards Jan 20's pre-covid 4x multiple, hence we move back to “Buy”.
Companies: Equals Group Plc
Record has set itself the goal of generating greater growth and H121 showed some encouraging steps in this direction. The substantial new dynamic hedging mandate in the period was traditional business for the group, but there was also news of a new currency impact fund, which provides diversification, higher fee margins and the potential for significant development. The implementation of new IT systems is underway, and measures to develop and retain staff have been taken.
Companies: Record plc
President Trump likes to project himself as a highly successful businessman, but surprisingly little is known about his true financial position. Various articles, including a 2016 in-depth analysis by The Wall Street Journal, have speculated about his income and asset base. All sorts of claims and counter-claims have been made about his wealth – by Trump himself, pitching his fortune at some $9bn, and by journalist Timothy O'Brien, suggesting that it is as “low” as $150m-$250m. It is doubtful whether we shall ever know the truth, but we can use Trump’s UK corporate filings to gain an insight into his businesses in Scotland.
Companies: AVO ARBB ARIX CLIG DNL FLTA ICGT PCA PIN PHP RECI STX SCE TRX SHED VTA YEW
To achieve YoY revenue growth over H1/20A despite the challenges of Covid-19 and its impact on the travel sector is testament to Equals' resilience and increasing focus on B2B and International payments services. While weaker gross profit and EBITDA margins have impacted profitability in H1/20, we see potential for an earnings recovery in H2/20 given cost reduction measures currently being undertaken. This should lead Equals to cash breakeven in Q4/20 and FCF positive by early FY21.
Palace Capital’s (PCA) H121 performance was robust and ahead of our central expectations. We have slightly increased FY21 earnings forecasts and introduced FY22–23 estimates, with growth driven by Hudson Quarter completion, on track for March 2021. Significant additional reversionary potential and development/refurbishment represent significant value creation potential.
Companies: Palace Capital plc
1H’21 results cover the depths of the initial market impact of COVID-19. We note the 4.7% fall in EPRA NTA and the effect of the dividend rebasing announced some months prior. There are no negative surprises. The focus on regional offices is a positive. There are other positives that we consider to be important, namely the ongoing contractual performance of the leisure asset tenants and lengthening of leases there, and the continuing encouraging residential sales (and small letting) at the mixed-use development of PCA’s newly created Hudson Quarter, York. Here, we see just one of PCA’s initiatives to unlock value and deliver attractive returns.
Today's news & views, plus announcements from KGF, MRO, UU, BAB, BRW, FUTR, GNS, HICL, LIO, AEXG, FUL, KWS
Companies: AEX GNS HICL
Alliance Trust (ATST) underwent a major overhaul three and a half years ago, refocusing on its global equity portfolio. Non-core parts of the company have been sold and overheads slashed. Today, the trust’s assets are managed by nine of the world’s best stock pickers. Investing sustainably is a strong theme within the fund, but the manager, Willis Towers Watson, seeks to blend managers with different styles so that the trust is not beholden to any particular fashion in markets.
Companies: Alliance Trust