Research, Charts & Company Announcements
Research Tree provides access to ongoing research coverage, media content and regulatory news on Greencoat UK Wind. We currently have 59 research reports from 6 professional analysts.
Inflation has been relatively tame for the past two decades, yet history suggests it would be unwise to reject the possibility of a damaging period of higher inflation out of hand. Central banks’ post-crisis quantitative easing policies have not led to the high inflation expected by some, but periods of high inflation in the past have been due to very different causes. When looking at the historical record, we see clear signs that the threat of inflation cannot be written off, and so taking out an insurance policy might be wise. Below we consider the potential sources of an inflationary shock to the global economy, and some assets and trusts that offer protection.
Companies: UKW RICA BREI BRWM
Bonds have traditionally been a core part of private client portfolios. Harry Markowitz is generally credited with developing and popularising the modern approach to investment diversification, as part of his doctoral thesis in 1952. Markowitz’s 60/40 equity/bond portfolio quickly became a staple of retail investor portfolios, and for many years equity and bond portfolios built around this basic concept have been highly successful for investors. The attractions were clear: aside from the solid income that bonds offer investors as a portfolio component portfolio, they also provided something of a hedge to equity exposure.
Companies: UKW TRIG HICL SONG
Whilst not everyone is yet declaring a “climate emergency”, most people now recognise that the global economy is not on a particularly sustainable trajectory. Recent news from Nestle – that they aim to be “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 - shows that what might have seemed a “fringe” idea a few years ago, is now mainstream. According to a 2018 YouGov survey, 62% of people believe Government are doing too little to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change. 71% believe fossil fuel companies should help pay for damage caused by extreme weather events, and (perhaps of most immediate relevance to our readership) 62% of people are interested in a pension fund or financial institution that considers the environmental impact of the companies it invests in (Source: YouGov 2018). At the same time, consumers are increasingly aware of their buying power, and the influence it can have on companies’ corporate behaviour and supply chains. Allied to this, investors also recognise the effect their investing behaviour can have on companies they invest in. Increasingly, they look to the managers of the funds they invest in to engage with company management and see this as a mechanism by which positive change in investee companies can be brought to bear. Many established funds and ETFs offer “ethical”, “green” or another shade of socially responsible investment. However, these labels don’t in our view really reflect the full range of what is potentially on offer. We understand the broad concept as “ESG Investing” – environmental, social, governance. As a theme or concept it is clearly rising in popularity - Google searches for ‘ESG investing’ have risen rapidly over the past decade, with a compound annual growth rate of 73%, almost double that of ‘passive investing’ (42%). Many fund managers (or their marketing departments) have been jumping on the bandwagon, and ESG now features in many presentations where perhaps as recent ago as last year, there had never been any mention! Despite its apparent popularity, many investors do not have a fixed idea of what they really mean when they say they want funds with better ESG credentials. For example, some investors may mean that they want a very narrow focus in the types of companies they invest in – for example supporting renewable energy, and thereby generate strong returns but also help finance the shift to a less carbon intensive economy. Others may want to invest in companies which are leading the way in reducing (or actively addressing) the harmful effects of their business operations’ externalities, meaning that they are comfortable investing in companies and industries that pollute – but only if they are “getting their act together”, trying to reduce negative externalities, or are “best in class” in trying to minimise their negative effects. Others may want their fund managers to actively engage with company managements, and try to influence the strategic direction the company is taken on. Lastly, investors may only want to own companies with what they see as a correct gender-balance, or have policies which prevent child labour within their supply chains. There are many different ways of interpreting what ESG really means. The job of investors looking at ESG must be to find a fund or investment trust which is aligned with their own specific values, irrespective of the marketing document or industry sector it belongs to. We believe an increasing number of “mainstream” funds will be suitable for ESG investors, depending on what their requirements are. How, then, do investors find them?
Companies: IEM UKW MNP
Greencoat UK Wind (UKW) provides a pure investment exposure to UK wind farms, with the aim of delivering a high, RPI linked, income return for shareholders whilst maintaining capital value in real terms. We have recently launched an Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) analysis section as part of our standard fund profiles. From an ESG perspective, UKW clearly ticks the “environment” box in that investing in UKW provides the long-term capital which enables an increase in renewable energy provision in the UK, and the shift to a lower carbon economy. The managers estimate UKW prevents over 1m tonnes of CO2 per annum from being emitted with thermal generation being the alternative. We calculate that this is equivalent to 0.8kg per share. Setting this into context, a flight from London to Milan emits 181kg of CO2 (Source: Atmosfair). A £10k investment in UKW is equivalent to 5.6 tonnes of CO2 “prevented” per year. In other respects, Greencoat as manager is clearly a keen proponent of ESG, and aware of its responsibilities therein. Greencoat were signatories to the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in 2016 and provides a lot of detail of how it incorporates ESG issues in its decision-making process and asset management. Wind is a resource that the UK has plenty of. In 2018 it was a significant contributor to the UK’s electricity supply – meeting 17% of the country’s total demand (renewables as a whole contributed 30%). As such, it is likely to remain one of the central planks of the UK’s strategy to achieve a lower carbon economy. Greencoat UK Wind (UKW) currently owns a portfolio of 35 wind farms around the UK, which together generate enough electricity to power 940,000 homes and is the largest renewable infrastructure fund listed on the LSE with net assets of £1.9bn. UKW remains amongst the best performing of the renewable infrastructure funds since it launched in 2013. Since launch, the company has delivered strong total returns comprising the 6p dividend, which has risen with RPI, and capital growth of 23.9%. In share price terms, shareholders have enjoyed a total return of 96.8% in just over six years. Despite the considerably lower volatility that the company exhibits, on a NAV total return basis UKW has outperformed the FTSE All Share Index total return since launch by over 30 percentage points. UKW’s main objective is to pay a high dividend to shareholders that is linked to inflation (RPI) and to preserve capital after taking inflation into account. The trust has a target for 2019 of 6.94p per share, representing a 2.66% increase over the prior year, and in line with RPI for December 2018. This year so far, UKW has paid two dividends totalling 3.47p which is in line with the target. Since launch (and based on the dividend target for 2019) the dividend has risen by 2.95% p.a., which compares to the retail prices index of 2.6% p.a. over the same period. At the current share price, the prospective yield is 5.0%. Around 50% of the company’s cashflows are directly index-linked, with the remainder being exposed to electricity prices. As such, electricity prices, which are assumed to have a correlation to inflation, affect UKW’s ability to grow the NAV by RPI in the long term. Given the high dividend cover of 1.7x on average, the company expects to be able to continue to grow the dividend by RPI on an annual basis over the long term. UKW has been growing strongly, and during 2019 so far has invested in excess of £600m funded from equity issuance and re-investing surplus cashflows supplemented by debt facilities. Net assets are now £1.9bn. Shareholders benefit from this growth in the form of a declining OCF, which has been coming down rapidly and through operational economies of scale within the business. As at the end of 2018, the OCF was 1.13%, a reduction from the 1.24% level at the end of 2017, and 1.46% at the time of initially listing. The published forecast OCF from the managers for 2019 was 1.08% at the beginning of the year. Many of the listed 'alternative income' funds continue to trade at significant premiums – and UKW is no exception on a current premium to NAV of 13%.
Companies: Greencoat UK Wind
Over the past two decades, onshore wind power has prospered and now exceeds 12 GW in the UK. The termination of subsidies for new plants from 2017 onwards has cut investment. Instead, offshore wind power is the new ‘goto’ investment sector, as there has been a sea-change in costs. The key event was the 2017 auction for the development of the Hornsea Project Two and the Moray East fields, when 15-year contract for differences (CfDs) were awarded, at just £57.50p per MWh; this compares with the 2018 £100 per MWh target that had been set previously by the Government. In recent years, solar power has come of age. Total UK solar capacity now exceeds 12 GW. Inevitably, most solar farms are based in the Midlands or in the South, where irradiation levels exceed the UK average. A typical solar farm portfolio might include 50 sites with 8 MW of capacity per site. Despite the removal of subsidies for new solar plants, the prospects remain bright for new build, since costs have fallen appreciably in recent years. The levelised cost (LCOE) of solar power should fall below £70 per MWh. The UK’s first subsidy-free solar farm has been commissioned at Clay Hill in Milton Keynes. For many investors, REIFs offer an attractive means of securing exposure to the benefits of rising UK investment in these sectors, much of which is backed by long-term contracts delivering generally solid and secure returns. Our sector research focuses on 11 quoted REIFs, which mirror those selected by members of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC). The recently floated Aquila European Renewables fund is included, despite its declared policy not to invest in UK generation. Since May 2014, REIF returns have been solid, with total returns approaching 10% per year. As a group, their combined market capitalisation is ca.£7bn; the most valuable quoted funds are Greencoat UK Wind (£2.1bn) and The Renewables Infrastructure Group (£1.8bn). The sector premia over net asset valuations (NAVs) for most REIFs now lie in the 9%-19% range. The premium for Greencoat UK Wind, following its £375m gross fundraise, is ca.14%; The Renewables Infrastructure Group premium is similar. Targeted real dividend increases underpin the attractions, in particular, of wind and solar investments; major earnings shortfalls are low-risk, with little likelihood of a dividend cut. Prospective dividend yields for most REIFs currently lie in the range of 5.0%-6.0%. In terms of risk, future movements of interest rates could have a material impact on NAVs and, consequently, upon share price ratings. The precise effect will depend on the degree to which the discount rates moves relative to the riskfree rate. Regulatory amendments, subsidy changes and possible tax adjustments are also key risk factors with one company commenting that movements in long term power price forecasts are the most significant risk.
Companies: TRIG UKW NESF FSFL AERI GSF GRP SEIT USFP
Greencoat UK Wind – Results of fundraising | Oakley Capital – Investment in Inspired
Companies: Greencoat UK Wind Oakley Capital Investments
Impact Healthcare REIT – Results of fundraising | Hipgnosis Songs – Acquisition | Greencoat UK Wind – Fundraising prospectus and timetable | Triple Point Social Housing – Response to BEST regulatory announcement
Companies: IHR SONG UKW SOHO
Greencoat UK Wind – Share issuance programme and initial fundraising | UK Commercial Property – Q1 2019 NAV and dividend
Companies: Greencoat UK Wind UK Commercial Property Trust
Fundraising showed signs of picking up this month, and the focus was very much on the renewables sector. First of all there was Renewables Infrastructure Group, which launched a placing programme and an initial fundraising early in the month, targeting up to £170m. It ended up raising just over £300m, having received applications for nearly three times as many shares as were originally available, in an upsized and scaled back issuance. Greencoat Renewables also announced and completed a placing which raised EUR 148m, around 40% more than the target. Another indication of interest in this sector was John Laing Environmental Assets successfully placing around 22m of its shares that were being sold by The John Laing Pension Trust. Finally, with regard to news in this sector, the close of the US Solar Fund* IPO had to be put back after just falling short of its target by the original closing date – closing is now expected to take place on 10 April.
Companies: TRIG BBOX UKW GRP ALF ELTA ESP FAIR BCPT BREI HTCF MERI UKCM
Many investors think ISA investing is all about sticking equities away for the long term and forgetting about them. However, we think there are good reasons for allocating to alternative income-generating assets in your ISA, even for those concerned with longterm capital growth. We think that many investors don’t fully appreciate the benefit of reducing the volatility on a portfolio. When thinking about long-term returns, the tendency is to think of the average return in the long run as what you will get, and to think of volatility as a measure of the mark to market “discomfort” along the way. However, this ignores the devastating effect of sequencing risk, and the fact that a particular average annual return can be consistent with negative eventual outcomes. Adding uncorrelated assets, such as alternative income funds, to your portfolio can massively reduce the risk of a terrible investment outcome, and, as we shall see, without necessarily reducing the expected return. This is certainly true when you consider how favourably the returns of these alternative income funds compare to those from equities in recent years, another fact we think is under-appreciated, and which sets them apart from traditional diversifiers such as high-quality bonds. There is no guarantee that future return patterns represent the past, of course. With respect to the alternative income funds we consider below, there are specific risks to capital which have to be considered. However, we think that there is a way to use these trusts taking these risks into consideration. The re-investment of the income from these trusts, reliable in the short term, gives the investor the opportunity to “pound-cost-average” their investment in equities when they look cheap, or reinvest in the same high yielding alternative assets. We consider how this might work below, and look at a range of alternative income funds that might be suitable.
Companies: TRIG UKW HICL NBLS MGCI
Greencoat UK Wind – Finals to 31 December 2018 | Tetragon – Finals to 31 December 2018 | RM Secured Direct Lending – Proposed fundraising | Electra Private Equity – Dividend declaration
Companies: UKW TFG RMDL ELTA
Greencoat UK Wind’s (UKW) aim is to provide investors with an annual dividend that increases in line with RPI inflation (target of 6.94p for 2019, a yield of 5.1%) while preserving the real value of the NAV in the long term through reinvestment of excess cashflow and the use of portfolio gearing. So far it has delivered on all of its promises since launch in 2013. UKW is now the largest listed renewable infrastructure fund, with net assets of in excess of £1.7bn (after the recent placing). Investment activity this year has continued apace, with £452m invested so far in 2019. This will bring the total portfolio to c. £2.3bn in size by the end of March. The managers expect to be able to benefit from scale, both in operational terms, but also in terms of acquisitions and financing. The OCF last year fell to 1.13% (from 2017’s 1.24% and 1.46% at listing) and is forecast to be 1.08% after the recent placing. The portfolio will shortly constitute investments (in whole or in part) in 34 operating UK wind farms around the country. These assets represent a net generating capacity of 950MW, enough to power c.900,000 homes. As such, the portfolio has geographic diversification around the UK, not to mention diversification by turbine manufacturer and by units – the company will own (or has interests in) a total of 715 turbines by the end of March. UKW buys only operating wind farms in the UK. UKW has unequivocally been a strong performer since it launched. The NAV total return (i.e. with dividends reinvested) since launch has been 8.3% pa. Despite the considerably lower volatility that the company exhibits, on a NAV total return basis UKW has outperformed both the FTSE All Share Index total return since launch, and peers in the listed renewable infrastructure sector. Around 50% of the company’s cashflows are directly index-linked, with the remainder being exposed to electricity prices. As such, electricity prices, which are assumed to have a correlation to inflation, affect UKW’s ability to grow NAV by RPI in the long term. Given the high dividend cover of 1.7x on average, the company expects to grow the dividend by RPI on an annual basis over the long term. Currently the trust has £400m of longer-term fixed rate borrowing, with a weighted average cost of 3.08% and remaining term of 5.6 years. The trust has an additional £394m of shorter-term gearing drawn down, equivalent to 34% of gross assets. Together the average interest cost is 2.76%. Over the medium term, the team expects total gearing to be between 20% and 30% of total assets. Many of the listed 'alternative income' funds continue to trade at significant premiums – and Greencoat is no exception on a current premium to NAV of 13%.
Companies: Greencoat UK Wind
PSH* – Pershing Square Holdings – Dividend payments | UKW – Greencoat UK Wind – Results of placing | MERI – Merian Chrysalis – Portfolio update | SYNC – Syncona - Quarterly update
Companies: PSHD UKW MERI SYNC
UKW – Greencoat UK Wind – Accelerated close of placing | RDL – Ranger Direct Lending – Portfolio, management and valuation
Companies: Greencoat UK Wind Ranger Direct Lending Fund
Research Tree provides access to ongoing research coverage, media content and regulatory news on Greencoat UK Wind. We currently have 59 research reports from 6 professional analysts.
|02Dec19 08:00||RNS||Total Voting Rights|
|01Nov19 08:00||RNS||Allotment of Shares and PDMR Shareholdings|
|29Oct19 07:01||RNS||Chairman Succession|
|10Oct19 14:02||RNS||Acquisition of Glen Kyllachy Wind Farm|
|07Aug19 07:00||RNS||Investment Manager Share Sales|
|06Aug19 07:00||RNS||Appointment of a Non-Executive Director|
|01Aug19 07:00||RNS||Total Voting Rights|
We welcome a confident outlook statement and dividend raise after hitting H1 expectations, even excluding the extra profit from gold sales. EPS estimates unchanged.
Mercia has announced the proposed acquisition of three VCT contracts for a total consideration of up to £25m, which would add £270m AuM – driving the group to pro-forma cash profitability from asset management in the first full year. An accelerated bookbuild has been launched to raise £30m (gross) at 25p in order to fund the initial acquisition consideration (£12.4m) and £15m to drive the Mercia balance sheet towards an evergreen (self-funding) position. Interim results, also announced, show NAV growth (+2.6%) including £3.2m net revaluation gains in the portfolio. As joint broker to Mercia, we await the outcome of the General Meeting (20/12) before updating our forecasts.
Companies: Mercia Technologies
Duke delivered significant YoY growth in H1/20A results, as earlier efforts to broaden the royalty portfolio came through this year. This strong growth will continue with recent debt & equity raises forward funding investments to income levels of £15m by FY21E. Met with an enhanced, but now stabilised cost base, operational leverage should drive continued strong adj EBIT growth (to £13m, at a c85% margin) and further DPS rises.
Companies: Duke Royalty
Priory House disposed; empty rates & costs saved
Companies: Palace Capital
Following continued delays of a Brexit agreement, few sectors within the UK market have remained attractive to investors despite low valuations. One sector which has continued to outperform despite the political drama has been the UK video gaming sector (henceforth UK gaming), which we are fans of. We believe a combination of sector-leading growth, strong cash conversion and timely cyclical positioning support our positive view on the UK video gaming sector.
Companies: ABBY AMS ANX ARS ATYM AVON BLVN PIER BUR CGS CAML CDM CSRT TIDE CYAN DTG DEMG ELM EMR FPO FDEV GTLY GENL GHH GRI GEEC GKP HMI HAYD HEAD HILS HTG HUR IBPO IOG INDI JHD JOG KAPE KEYS KWS KCT KGH LAM LIT LOK MACF MANO MOD OXIG PCA PANR APP SRE PHC PMO RBW RMM RBGP REDD RSW RNO ROR SUS SCPA SEN SHG SOLG SOM SUMO TM17 INCE TWD TRAK TRI VNET VTC ZOO ZTF
NewRiver has acquired Bravo Inns for £17.9m, representing an attractive 6.8x EBITDA. The transaction is expected to generate annualised outlet EBITDA of £2.6m (14% yield on cost) and importantly will be accretive to underlying FFO, further increasing dividend cover.
Companies: Newriver Reit
Impax closed FY19 managing £15.1bn of assets, 20% up on the £12.5bn AUM of 30 Sep 2018, and beating our forecast of £14bn. Longer-term, we think the business remains well placed for strong revenue growth, capitalising on a global structural shift towards Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing, and even stronger profit growth because of operational leverage.
Companies: Impax Asset Management Group
Revenue increased 17% to A$34.7m (Ae: A$48.4m). We note that the difference to our forecast was due to an accounting presentation change only, whereby revenues are now stated net instead of gross including capital deployed. We believe this new presentation is much more intuitive and note that, if it had not been applied, revenue was in fact in line with our numbers at A$48.2m. Gross profit, or net gain on investment, was up 23% to A$20.3m (Ae: A$19.0m). This is particularly encouraging as it shows the actual gain on the capital previously deployed. We noted in our 5 July note that our numbers were likely on the light side, so it is pleasing to see this come through. ROIC increased from 117% last reported to 135%, displaying the lucrative returns of recent settlements.
Companies: Litigation Capital Management
The trade-off in the risk/reward for gold and gold mining equities is improving, as central banks push the current iteration of the post-World War II Bretton Woods financial order towards its limits.
Companies: AVO AJB AGY ARBB BUR CLIG DNL DPP FLTA GTLY GDR MCL MUR NSF PCA PIN SRE PHP RE/ RECI RMDL STX SCE TON SHED VTA W7L
In parallel with its H120 interim results, Mercia has announced the acquisition of NVM’s VCT business for up to £25m in cash and equity, funded by a £30m placing at 25p per share (a 22% discount). Subject to shareholder approval, the acquisition increases AUM to £760m and moves Mercia towards being the UK’s number one regional investor. The deal expands Mercia’s shareholder register, further dilutes existing major shareholders and means Mercia should be profitable before fair value adjustments, closer to its target of an evergreen model (c £1bn AUM). In its H120 results, Mercia’s direct investment portfolio increased to £102.0m, with £11.1m of cash invested in 16 companies and a fair value uplift of £3.2m. Mercia has £17.8m of unrestricted balance sheet cash (pre-placing) and the shares continue to trade at a significant discount to NAV.
Companies: Mercia Technologies
Interim results are in line. Sustained net inflows during H1 drove AuM to new highs, overcoming headwinds. This delivered +17% adj. PBT growth. AuM momentum has continued into Q3, complemented by the Neptune acquisition which stands to make a step change contribution in H2’20 and beyond. We leave forecasts unchanged. 42% of our FY20 forecast has already been delivered in H1. A 15x FY20e PER falling to 13x FY21e is undemanding given earnings momentum and flow resilience.
Companies: Liontrust Asset Management
U+I’s H1 results were in line and the company is on track to deliver on expectations for FY20E. We expect important progress in H2 from planning consents and submissions in the pipeline, as well as continued operational efficiencies.
Companies: U&I Group
The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG) is a play on the burgeoning renewable energy sector. It differentiates itself from the other funds in the sector by being a non-specialist fund (wind, solar and battery storage so far) but with a remit to invest across the UK and in European countries where the directors and managers believe there is a stable renewable energy framework. Recently TRIG has announced a further extension of this policy, and the board is seeking shareholder approval to increase the proportion of assets the company can invest in Europe from 50% to 65%. TRIG invests in assets which offer attractive long-term cash flows, elements of which are linked to inflation. The aim of the company is to provide long-term, stable dividends for shareholders, with any surplus cash flows after debt amortisation being re-invested to help maintain the capital value of the investment portfolio. The current portfolio, when fully built out in 2020, will be represented by 71 projects, with net capacity of 1.5GW. This is equivalent to 1 million UK homes or 1% of the total electricity generated in the UK. Wind is currently the largest component of the portfolio (86% by value). However in the company’s recent announcement the managers state that to further diversify the portfolio they are considering investing in unsubsidised solar plants in Iberia, taking advantage of steeply declining capital costs and high solar resource. Solar provides a natural complement to wind technologies, given its peak electricity generation is during the summer months, while for wind peak generation occurs in the winter. The push to invest overseas has gathered pace over the last couple of years, and during the 2018 calendar year 77% of new investments by value were made outside the UK. For the six months to end-June 2019, the company has invested in five projects, all of which are overseas (in Sweden, France and Germany). In total, 45% of the portfolio is currently invested outside the UK, up from 28% at the end of 2018. TRIG has a progressive dividend policy. The company’s dividend has increased each year since launch, at an average compound annual rate of 1.8% pa. Every year the board sets a dividend target for the following year, payable in four equal installments. The current dividend target is 6.64p per share, equivalent to a yield of 5.1% at the current price and representing an increase of 2.2% from 2018. The company has delivered strong and consistent returns since inception. Over the past five years, it has outperformed the FTSE All Share index on a NAV total return basis, but with lower volatility. Since its initial public offering (IPO) in 2013 the company has delivered total shareholder returns of 10.4% per annum (to 30 June 2019). TRIG currently has long-term gearing of approximately 36% of portfolio enterprise value, all of which is all held at the project level. This is at the low end of the peer group. The longer-term debt is amortised over the life of each asset’s specific subsidy regime, which de-risks these assets over time (unsubsidised assets are not geared). The company continues to enjoy robust demand for its shares. Currently the share price premium over NAV is around 14%, a slight premium to the sector average premium of 12.7% (Source: Numis).
Companies: Renewables Infrastructure Group
In these six short videos XPS Pensions Group Co-CEO Paul Cuff discusses the 1H20 results with a particular focus on changes made to the Pension business, the separation from Punter Southall, if the regulatory environment will provide a tailwind in H2, how the recent acquisitions are faring and the outlook for H2.
Companies: XPS Pensions