Edison Investment Research is terminating coverage on Avacta Group (AVCT), BCI Minerals (BCI), Destiny Pharma (DEST), Globalworth Real Estate Investments (GWI), Henderson Alternative Strategies Trust (HAST), Herantis Pharma (HRTIS), Jupiter Green Investment Trust (JGC) and Rockhopper Exploration (RKH). Please note you should no longer rely on any previous research or estimates for these companies. All forecasts should now be considered redundant.
Previously published reports can still be accessed via our website
Companies: Henderson Alternative Strategis Trst
The spice of life is variety. [It’s also a curry house in Glasgow, now sadly defunct.] Achieving variety by diversifying your assets has been an innate part of human risk management from time immemorial. Why else did the English Plantagenet kings maintain their claim to the French throne for so long? All investors, however, not just medieval royal families, have to consider how best to diversify the risks to which their wealth is exposed – whether they’re managing their own money or doing it professionally. For regulatory as well as theoretical and philosophical reasons, most UK investors actively seek portfolio diversification. Increasingly, as the advice industry becomes ever more regulated, advisers are making use of multi-asset, multi-manager products as a one-stop shop, especially as the asset management industry has become increasingly attuned to the opportunities and benefits of scale they can offer. Yet at this particular point in time, in an economic and financial environment unlike any we have experienced in the modern era, how exactly to achieve meaningful diversification is an increasingly difficult question. American economist Harry Markowitz is generally credited with developing and popularising the modern approach to 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. Over the last thirty years in particular, the risk parity model, pioneered by investor and philanthropist Ray Dalio and his Bridgewater All Weather hedge fund, has achieved enormous success. The targeted aim of this model is a more equal split of realised risk/volatility between asset classes, and it is built on a more sophisticated version of the staple equity/bond approach. The success of this diversified approach in providing superior returns while also dampening volatility can be seen from the historic returns. The graph below shows returns from a 60/40 portfolio in the US since 2003, rebased monthly. Returns are shown on a log scale to reduce recency bias.
Companies: BMPG RICA MIGO HAST SOND
Henderson Alternative Strategies (HAST) offers access to niche and specialist investments, which are otherwise hard to buy, aiming to outperform listed equity markets over the course of a cycle with lower volatility. James de Bunsen took over in 2014 as co-manager, shortly after the management of the trust was awarded to Henderson. James, and original co-manager Ian Barrass, who retired last year, then spent considerable time overhauling the portfolio and liquidating unwanted and unwise investments. The trust offers access to unlisted opportunities in the private equity, hedge fund and property space as well as more mainstream investments selected for their cheap valuations or idiosyncratic risk and return profile. Risk-adjusted returns have been on an upward curve, with the three-year Sharpe ratio on NAV top quartile for the AIC Flexible Investment sector, according to Morningstar data, and the trust used the diversification benefits of its wide universe to outperform equities strongly in the down year of 2018. The trust trades on a discount of 16%, having struggled to earn a re-rating despite the improved performance and new approach.
Henderson Alternative Strategies Trust (HAST) aims to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for investors seeking to allocate to specialist and alternative assets. Following the retirement of co-manager Ian Barrass in June, HAST is now co-managed by James de Bunsen and Peter Webster. The trust’s focus on areas such as property and hedge funds, alongside specialist credit, private equity and emerging markets, among others, means it should be well placed to act as a source of less-correlated returns in times of mainstream equity market volatility. HAST’s NAV held up well in the market wobbles of Q118 and its move to more defensive positioning through the summer has so far stood it in good stead during the current sell-off in equity markets. Meanwhile, recent ‘buying on the dips’ in favoured holdings such as Worldwide Healthcare Trust and Polar Capital Global Financials will allow HAST to take full advantage of any recovery in sentiment.
Henderson Alternative Strategies Trust (HAST) has recently passed its three-yearly continuation vote, underlining investor confidence in the rebuilt portfolio of specialist and alternative funds. Medium-term NAV total returns are now in line with the informal annualised target of c 8% over rolling three-year periods, and in FY17 (to 30 September) all the underlying strategies – hedge funds, private equity, property, specialist sector and specialist geography – contributed positively to returns. In an environment of increased market volatility, the differentiated nature of many of the underlying assets could provide a source of diversification for investors, and a progressive dividend policy underpins the current yield of 1.8%.
Henderson Alternative Strategies Trust (‘HAST’) has delivered a share price total return of 19.8% for its financial year ending 30th September 2017. Over this period the discount has narrowed from 19.3% to 13.1%. Since the HAST financial year end the NAV has risen 2.4% and the discount has narrowed further to around 11%. In addition, the look through discount on the underlying portfolio is around 7-8%. HAST has a shareholder continuation vote at the end of this month, which we are confident will be passed by shareholders on the back of this strong performance. The continuation vote is repeated in three years’ time. Ordinary dividend of 4.75p, up 25% from last year puts the shares on an approx. 1.5% yield.
Henderson Alternative Strategies Trust (HAST) has continued in H217 to produce solid absolute returns from its portfolio of specialist and alternative funds investing in areas such as private equity, property, emerging markets and specialist credit. The three-year process of rebuilding the trust’s portfolio after its move to Janus Henderson was concluded nearly a year ago, and the managers are pleased with the progress made towards the informal target annualised return of 8%, measured over a three-year period. Share price returns over one year have kept pace with buoyant equity markets but with lower volatility, and over the same period HAST ranks third in its peer group for NAV total returns. The improved performance and a narrower discount may provide support as the trust approaches a three-yearly continuation vote in January 2018.
Henderson Alternative Strategies Trust (HAST) invests in a portfolio of specialist and alternative funds with the objective of beating longer-term global equity market returns. It allocates assets to five main types of strategy – hedge funds, private equity, property, specialist geography and specialist sector – focusing on funds that private investors would be unable or unlikely to access individually. After a three-year reconstruction process following its move to Henderson, the portfolio now represents the 30-40 best ideas of the investment team, and recent performance has improved dramatically. The trust has instituted a progressive dividend policy and also recently announced a special dividend.
Henderson Alternative Strategies Trust (HAST, formerly Henderson Value Trust) has been reconstructed into a portfolio of specialist and alternative funds. The managers have focused on private equity, hedge funds, property and specialist sector and geographical funds that individual investors are unable or unlikely to access. The aim is to achieve returns in excess of those from global equities on a three-year view, but with limited correlation to equity markets. The reconstruction is beginning to show through in performance, and over 12 months the trust has outperformed its informal composite benchmark and the FTSE All-Share. The discount remains wide at c 19%, reflecting a difficult history and a climate of investor risk aversion, but has scope to narrow should the performance upturn be sustained.
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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
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)
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
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
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.
Companies: Equals Group Plc
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
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
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
Today's news & views, plus announcements from AV, BVIC, PZC, RQIH, PMI, MUL, AEXG, INCE
Companies: AEX RQIH INCE