The Bankers Investment Trust (BNKR) has continued to deliver on its twin objectives of long-term capital and income growth, rebounding strongly from the global market declines of Q120 and declaring increased dividends for H120 despite the difficult backdrop for corporate earnings. Coming into 2020, manager Alex Crooke had positioned the trust relatively cautiously with a net cash position of c 3%, which he put to work during the sell-off, boosting the portfolio’s long-term total return potential. At the half year the board reiterated its intention to increase BNKR’s FY20 total dividend by c 3%, using reserves as necessary, which would secure a record-equalling 54th consecutive year of dividend growth for the trust’s shareholders.
Companies: Bankers Investment Trust
The Bankers Investment Trust (BNKR) has recently moved from a slightly geared to a small net cash position, as manager Alex Crooke seeks to lock in gains and await a more favourable re-entry point. The global fund is run as a collection of regional portfolios, with an overall tilt towards a value style of investment, although this varies from one sub-portfolio manager to another. Over 12 months to end-September almost all the regional portfolios have outperformed local indices, with the exception of the UK and the small and now largely liquidated non Asian emerging markets allocation. BNKR invests for both capital and income growth, and is on track to grow its dividend by c 6% for FY19 (ended 31 October), a 53rd consecutive annual increase.
Bankers offers investors capital and income growth from a fund of funds approach to global equities. With £1.22bn net assets, the trust is one of the largest and more liquid in the AIC Global sector. Alex Crooke has been at the helm of the portfolio since 2003, setting geographical allocations for the portfolio, with each of the regional sub-portfolios run by a specialist at Janus Henderson. Each of the major sub-portfolios will typically hold between 25-30 stocks, principally looking for cash generative companies that will grow their dividends going forward. BNKR has a strong track record for capital appreciation, although this has been more varied in recent times. More notably, the trust’s standout characteristic is its dividend growth track record. The company has grown its dividend every year for the past 52 years, and forecasts another increase of 6% for the current year. Furthermore, the company has revenue reserves equal to 1.8x the annual dividend. Currently the trust is trading on a discount of 1%.
The Bankers Investment Trust (BNKR) has re-established its trend of long-term outperformance of its benchmark, after a slightly disappointing H218. While the portfolio retains a cyclical tilt, manager Alex Crooke at Janus Henderson Investors has overseen a gradual shift toward more defensive market areas in recent months. The trust’s regional sub-portfolio managers focus on finding well-managed, cash-generative companies whose growing dividends can support BNKR’s own impressive 52-year record of dividend growth. Crooke recognises the delicate balance between positive and negative factors in the global macro picture, and over the past year has taken some profits in highly rated technology names and kept gearing low at c 2–3%. He expects greater clarity on the macro outlook in the second half of 2019, but in the meantime is taking advantage of more attractive equity valuations resulting from the Q418 market sell-off.
The Bankers Investment Trust (BNKR) is celebrating its 130th anniversary with a 51st consecutive year of annual dividend growth, and a new FTSE World index benchmark that better reflects its investment approach. Recent performance has been strong, buoyed by good returns from the US portfolio and eye-catching outperformance in China, while dividends grew ahead of forecasts in FY17. Manager Alex Crooke cautions that recent sterling strength could be a headwind for overseas dividend income in the current period, although the trust’s large revenue reserve (1.8x the FY17 dividend) and focus on stocks with attractive dividend growth should help to ensure that BNKR’s long record of year-on-year growth is maintained. Crooke has recently been appointed co-head of equities at Janus Henderson Investors, but remains committed to overseeing BNKR.
The Bankers Investment Trust (BNKR) invests globally, with the aim of generating higher long-term total returns for its largely UK investor base than it could have achieved in its home market. Share price and NAV returns are ahead of the benchmark FTSE All-Share Index over both the short and longer term, with annualised NAV total returns of more than 15% pa over five years. BNKR also aims to grow its dividend ahead of inflation, and has the second-longest record of unbroken dividend growth of any investment company, on track for a 51st year in FY17. Lead manager Alex Crooke, at the helm since 2003, has slightly reduced the North America allocation as leading economic indicators begin to look less favourable, diverting resources to European portfolio manager Tim Stevenson, who is finding good value opportunities particularly among financial stocks.
The Bankers Investment Trust (BNKR) aims to reward investors who take the additional risk of investing overseas with total returns in excess of those they could have achieved at home (as measured by the FTSE All-Share Index). The trust has a diversified approach, with lead manager Alex Crooke setting the geographical allocation, and regional sub-portfolios managed by specialists at Henderson Global Investors. Value and income are key tenets of the investment process, and the trust has recently achieved a record 50th year of annual dividend growth. BNKR has a long-term record of outperformance versus its benchmark. In the past year it has simplified its fee structure and acted as one of two rollover vehicles for investors in Henderson Global Trust, boosting assets under management by c £60m.
The Bankers Investment Trust (BNKR) is a long-established, globally invested fund with a focus on achieving long-term capital growth greater than that of the FTSE All-Share index, and above-inflation dividend growth. Lead manager Alex Crooke makes use of the substantial resources of Henderson Global Investors, delegating ex-UK stock selection to regional specialists. BNKR has recently achieved its 49th consecutive annual dividend increase, the joint-longest record in the investment company sector. A proposal to merge its stablemate Henderson Global Trust with Henderson International Income Trust could see BNKR – which will be offered as a rollover option to investors who wish to retain a global growth mandate – receive a boost to its assets under management.
The Bankers Investment Trust (BNKR) is a global investment trust that aims to deliver capital growth in excess of the return on the FTSE All-Share index, as well as growing its dividend by more than the rate of UK inflation. Lead manager Alex Crooke looks after UK stock selection (c 38% of the portfolio) and sets the geographical asset allocation; regional portfolios are run by specialists from Henderson Global Investors’ well resourced fund management team. While there is no overall ‘house style’, all the managers are focused on not overpaying for growth. 12-month returns to 30 June have been particularly strong versus the benchmark and the trust is on track to grow its dividend for a 49th successive year.
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Cenkos’s first half results demonstrated the benefits of its flexible operating model and strength of its client relationships. While challenges related to COVID-19 are set to continue, Cenkos’s focus is on growth companies and its fund-raising year-to-date has had a greater emphasis on corporates financing M&A and growth opportunities rather than for defensive purposes. This should prove more sustainable although, as always, the timing of transactions in the encouraging pipeline reported remains uncertain.
Companies: Cenkos Securities plc
Avation is a lessor of 46 commercial aircraft to a diversified airline client base. This morning, the group has released results for the 12-months to 30 June 2020, which illustrate the challenges faced by its customer base as a result of Covid-19, as well as the corrective actions taken by the Board that have resulted in profitability being maintained in the year as a whole. Loan repayment deferrals of c.$24.4m were obtained in the period, in comparison to $13.1m short-term rent deferrals being granted to airline customers and thus emphasising management's focus on liquidity during an unprecedented period for global airlines. Avation again reports that it is currently reviewing alternatives in relation to the 6.5% senior notes due in May 2021. Whilst at this point our forecasts remain under review, and near term challenges remain across the industry, we believe that demand for aircraft from lessors such as Avation will increase in time as a result of airlines being even more reliant upon aircraft leasing firms due to the retirement of older aircraft during 2020 in combination with much weaker balance sheets that are unable to support direct aircraft purchases.
Companies: Avation PLC
Record’s Q221 trading update confirmed that its new $8bn dynamic hedging mandate has started and that, prior to this, assets under management equivalent (AUME) expanded by 4% in the quarter. The group continues to work on developing new products and is deploying technology to enhance its ability to deliver these and existing products cost effectively.
Companies: Record plc
Primary Health Properties (LON:PHP) is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that holds a portfolio of 510 primary health facilities in the UK (92% of the portfolio by value) and Ireland (8%). The business model is to manage the properties for rental income and to grow the portfolio over time. The
Companies: PHP PP51 PHPRF
In another upbeat update, GHT has confirmed that the business is tracking in line, in turn being driven by strong traction with key customer, ANZ. Here, new sales have driven a 20% increase in contracted customer revenue to >£11m in FY21. As a strategic partner (deeply involved with GHT in bringing new Clareti banking services to market) this extra investment is very encouraging, as it’s indicative of these services‘ strong future potential. Also announced today – GHT state that its transition to a recurring subscription model (commenced just two years ago) is now complete and that ARR now stands at £11.9m, ~+16% annualised organic growth since FY20 y/e. In a tough new business environment, we view this as a highly credible performance. It’s also worth noting that management reference remaining pipeline opportunities, these would further benefit strong forwards visibility – already £22.4m for FY21. Given this – and also as sign of confidence – today we reinstate FY21 forecasts. We look for a reacceleration in top-line growth: +16% y/y to £28.7m at a Group level, in turn driven by c.+24% organic growth in Clareti, to £20m. For valuation – with Clareti still in its relative infancy – we continue to view a sales multiple as most appropriate. Here, we note that peers typically trade in a 5-7x range vs. GHT at 4x our FY21 estimate. This suggests 25-75% upside to fair value for this disruptive company, with a multi-year growth opportunity still ahead.
Companies: Gresham House
As expected following the US banks’ releases, Barclays’ third quarter results saw a sharp reduction in provisions build-up while the emergence of delinquencies has been delayed by the State’s supporting measures. Management continues to expect a reduction in the cost of risk next year. It remains to be seen if this guidance is capable of withstanding new lockdowns or a no-deal Brexit.
Companies: Barclays PLC
ANGLE plc (AGL.L): Acceptance of FDA submission | Feedback plc (FDBK.L*): Partnership agreement | Open Orphan (ORPH.L): Human Challenge Study Model contract with UK Government
Companies: AGL FDBK ORPH
Following on quickly from its impressive full year results, these interim results confirm that our confidence for growth in the Program Management business was not misplaced.Contracted Premium increased 95% YoY (and 12% ahead of December 2019) to $925m –a stone's throw away from the $1bn 2020 guidance set in 2018. At the same time, Gross Written Premium (GWP) grew 42.6% to £247.2m, resulting in Economic EBITDA turning positive, at £0.8m compared to a loss of £0.3m in 1H19
Companies: Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Ltd.
Tatton has reported an in-line H1 financial performance: revenue totalled £11.0m (vs N+1Se £10.9m) and £5.0m adj. EBIT (50% N+1S FY21e). AuM grew by 3.4% to £7.8bn as net inflows continued throughout H1 (+£328m) – a positive performance given the backdrop. Paradigm, particularly in Mortgages, has been resilient post-lockdown. Having delivered 50% of our earnings forecast for FY21e, there is potential for upside. However, we leave our forecasts unchanged and a margin for safety as we remain alive to potential external risks/volatility.
Companies: Tatton Asset Management Plc
The interims confirmed that Covid-19 was minimally disruptive operationally in H1 20 and, ironically, may have improved both of R&Q’s divisions’ mediumterm trading outlooks. As the pandemic and other industry events have generated significant losses for insurers, they have created the current ‘hardening’ market driving demand for Legacy and Program Management.
Agronomics has announced it has conditionally raised £10.0m gross from an equity issue at a price of 6.0p, which represents a 6.8% premium to the most recently reported NAV per share of 5.62p. Assuming the company's post-raise cash balance is £8.15m, after repaying a £1.9m bridging facility, we estimate the new NAV per share to be c5.7p. We see significant potential in the cultivated meat sector and believe Agronomics is well positioned to support this developing sector and generate strong returns from these investments. We see upside in Agronomics' portfolio and have today initiated coverage with a Buy recommendation.
Companies: Agronomics Limited
Secure Trust Bank’s (STB) Q3 trading update disclosed that Q3 was stronger than expected and FY20 earnings are likely to be well ahead of consensus forecasts. Loan repayment holidays in its Motor Finance and Retail Finance divisions were down remarkably and credit quality is not deteriorating. Loan demand is strengthening after the lockdown. Capital and liquidity remain good. The bank remains cautious due to continued COVID-19 and Brexit uncertainty and is still not providing formal guidance. We are upping our earnings forecasts and fair value from 1,704p to 1,756p. In our view, the valuation remains depressed compared to fundamentals with banking stocks still out of favour. STB trades on an FY20 P/BV of 0.53x, yet it has a strong track record of value creating returns (ROE above COE), a good capital base and liquidity. The Q3 good news reinforces our view that we are unlikely to see book value deterioration during this downturn to justify any NAV discount.
Companies: Secure Trust Bank Plc
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
Agronomics is an investment company building a portfolio of investments in the developing alternative protein sector. The company is focused on early stage investments, offering attractive valuations and significant upside potential. Importantly, we believe Agronomics represents an opportunity for public investors to gain access to early stage private companies, which might not otherwise be available. We expect the cultivated meat sector to be driven by a number of global mega trends that will increase public awareness of the issues the sector is aiming to overcome. We see strong upside in Agronomics' existing portfolio and initiate coverage with a Buy recommendation.
With a new CEO, Amanda Blanc, Aviva’s shareholders could dream of a possible change in the group’s strategy, with a more focused insurance business. The new Chief has an opportunity to take painful decisions in a year where no one will require a high operating performance.
Companies: Aviva plc