Henderson International Income Trust (HINT) was launched in 2011 with the aim of enabling UK-based investors to diversify their sources of income by investing overseas. As shown in the chart below, the UK market suffers a high degree of dividend concentration, with the top 10 dividend payers accounting for 55% of total UK dividends in 2018 compared with 9% for the top 10 payers globally. Since launch, HINT’s investors have enjoyed total returns of c 10% a year, supported by well-covered dividends that have grown at a compound annual rate of 5.2%. While manager Ben Lofthouse’s value-oriented investment approach has been somewhat at odds with growth- and momentum-driven markets recently, he is finding plenty of attractive investment opportunities.
Companies: Henderson International Income Trust
Henderson International Income Trust (HINT) has been proposed as the default rollover vehicle in the forthcoming planned liquidation of the Establishment Investment Trust, further cementing its position as a trust with a commitment to achieving the benefits of scale (its assets have grown sevenfold since launch in 2011). It has also recently locked in €30m of long-term borrowing with a low interest rate of 2.43%, which may allow the manager, Ben Lofthouse, to be more adventurous with gearing in his search for income and growth from sustainably financed non-UK companies trading at unwarranted discounts. HINT’s NAV has recovered well from the Q418 market sell-off, and the shares currently yield 3.4%.
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 JAI BEE SDV BRIG AAIF HFEL SCF SIGT BRFI IVPG CTY HINT JCH NAIT
Henderson International Income is value-orientated portfolio of global dividend-paying equities that aims to deliver a growing income stream combined with attractive capital appreciation over the medium to long- term. The portfolio is managed by Ben Lofthouse, who is a valuation driven investor who focuses on undervalued companies that can generate strong free cash flow and, therefore, potentially produce a sustainable and growing dividend. Typically, he looks for companies run by strong management teams, with healthy balance sheets, have high barriers to entry and business models that aren’t too capital intensive. Henderson International Income is highly differentiated from its peers in the AIC Global Equity Income sector and the open-ended IA Global Equity Income peer group due to the fact Ben deliberately avoids the UK, arguing that most investors turn to global income portfolios in order to diversify their portfolio away from popularly-held FTSE stocks such as HSBC, Royal Dutch Shell, GlaxoSmithKline and British American Tobacco. As we note in our latest research, dependency on UK stocks for dividends is surprisingly high in the two global income sectors – meaning Henderson International Income is the only trust in the AIC Global Equity Income sector to have a 0% weighting to the UK. This positioning hasn’t negatively affected performance either, as since launch in April 2011 to the end of December, the trust has delivered an NAV total return of 112% compared to an average return of 90% across the peer group. The trust has also paid a growing and covered dividend each year since inception, though its yield has come down to less than 3% following decent share price apperception, it has produced more in total income over five years than its average peer and generated stronger annualised dividend growth than its two main rivals in the sector, Murray International and Scottish American. As a result of this performance profile and its positioning (which has made it attractive for income investors searching for greater diversification), demand for shares in Henderson International Income have been strong since its launch, with the trust (on average) having traded on a narrow 0.2% discount over the past five years. The board has used this as an opportunity to grow the trust significantly, though the merger with the now defunct Henderson Global Trust has also helped in that regard.
We have highlighted, on many occasions, the high level of concentration among UK equity income funds – in particular, the fact that many managers in the AIC UK Equity Income and IA UK Equity Income sectors rely on a small handful of mega-cap FTSE stocks for their dividends. This isn’t necessarily an issue in itself, but the fact many of these companies are fundamentally challenged due to low levels of dividend cover compounds the potential problems going forward. For example, in a piece of research we wrote in November , we showed that 10.6% of all income generation in the closed-ended AIC UK Equity Income sector comes from Royal Dutch Shell and BP – and, at the time of writing, both had dividend cover of less than 1x (suggesting that the companies are taking from last year's profits to pay this year's dividend, which isn’t sustainable). Given it is a very similar story in the open-ended IA UK Equity Income sector (whereby the five most popularly-held stocks, which have a dividend over of less than 1x, account for 20% of the total dividends paid in the peer group), many investors have been looking elsewhere to try and find a more reliable income stream. A popular destination for those investors has been the global equity income peer group, where managers literally have the whole world to choose from for income-producing opportunities. Indeed, many funds and trusts in the space market themselves as the natural home for UK income investors seeking diversification. However, as we will highlight in this report, many closed and open-ended funds in the Global Equity Income sectors also have a significant proportion of their assets and income reliant on UK dividend-paying stocks.
Companies: MYI SAIN HINT BRFI FCSS BEEP
Henderson International Income Trust (HINT) is the only global equity income investment trust offering a portfolio invested wholly outside the UK. Its aim is to provide a focused yet diversified selection of overseas companies offering attractive, sustainable yields and the potential for both dividend growth and capital appreciation. Manager Ben Lofthouse has recently increased the cyclical bias of the portfolio, seeing attractively valued opportunities in areas such as financial and consumer stocks. The trust is structurally underweight the US versus its MSCI World ex-UK benchmark, with the manager finding better growth and value dynamics elsewhere. Strong recent share price and NAV performance has been achieved with very low gearing and the trust currently yields 3.0%.
EPE Special Opportunities saw a dramatic rise in its NAV as its largest holding, Luceco, IPOd. Alternative Liquidity’s discount narrowed a little as its share price rose after it announced an increase in its NAV. One of Polo’s investments won a court case and another’s gold mine commenced production. Menhaden’s discount narrowed. India Capital Growth had a good month, we published a note on it. It, like most of the funds on these lists, was a beneficiary of weak sterling. The Brazilian market hit a four year high during October as investors remain optimistic about a recovery in its economy. AXA Property said it hopes to sell its remaining portfolio in coming months.
Companies: HINT IGC PHI
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The sharp falls in sterling over the past few months have flattered the performance of many funds investing overseas, including Henderson International Income Trust (HINT), but have compounded problems for some UK equity income trusts. The threat of dividend cuts looms large for UK-focused trusts and now, more than ever, the yield on HINT’s overseas equity portfolio should look very attractive to UK-based investors. HINT has just raised its quarterly dividend to 1.2p, up 4.3% on the previous quarterly dividend.
The sharp falls in sterling over the past few months have flattered the performance of many funds investing overseas, including Henderson International Income Trust (HINT), but have compounded problems for some UK equity income trusts. HINT’s manager warns that the threat of dividend cuts looms large for UK-focused trusts and thinks that now, more than ever, the yield on HINT’s overseas equity portfolio should look very attractive to UK-based investors. HINT has just raised its quarterly dividend to 1.2p, up 4.3% on the previous quarterly dividend.
Henderson International Income Trust (HINT) seeks a high and growing income as well as capital growth potential; it is unusual in that it invests exclusively outside the UK. The trust has produced annualised total returns (NAV and share price) of 8-9% since launch in 2011 and is comfortably ahead of most peers over one, three and five years. Following the rollover of stablemate Henderson Global Trust (HGL) in April 2016, HINT has doubled its asset base, which should widen its appeal to some investor groups, as well as reducing the impact of fixed costs. Manager Ben Lofthouse currently favours European companies over those in the Americas and Asia, with continental stocks making up almost half the portfolio at 31 May.
Henderson International Income (HINT) has delivered the highest NAV growth in its peer group since launch, is on track to achieve 15% cumulative dividend growth over the past four years and offers investors a unique way of diversifying their dividend income outside the UK.
Henderson International Income (HINT) has delivered the highest net asset value growth in its peer group since launch, is on track to achieve 15% cumulative dividend growth over the past four years and offers investors a unique way of diversifying their dividend income outside the UK.
Henderson International Income Trust (HINT) is the only investment trust specifically targeting income by investing in companies outside the UK. Launched in 2011, it has provided year-on-year dividend growth and is also building a revenue reserve. While a structural underweight to the US and Japan (because these markets are low yielding) has dented relative performance in the period since launch, the trust has achieved its objective of providing capital and income returns at least equivalent to those available from the FTSE All Share. Manager Ben Lofthouse describes the trust as a “global best ideas” portfolio, with a flexible allocation between three main geographical areas of the Americas, Europe and Asia.
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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.
Premier Miton have reported their H1’20 results, which have shown delivery of key operational milestones during the period and strong performance despite the COVID-19 fears. Since the end of March, markets have recovered and net flows have been positive in April, meaning AUM has reached £9.9bn. We believe this shows the resilience of the business and that the benefits of the merger are coming through. As delivery continues we believe Premier Miton will see a significant re-rating as the shares currently trade on just 9.7x CY20 P/E, a significant discount to peers and historic levels of 12.5x. We reiterate our BUY rating and DCF based target price of 152p, implying 52% upside.
Companies: Premier Miton Group
The Renewables Infrastructure Group - £120m capital raise
Marwyn Value Investors - Proposed share acquisition by manager and crystallisation of carried interest
DP Aircraft I - 5% ownership stake in Norwegian
Companies: Renewables Infrastructure Group Marwyn Value Investors
In this note, we analyze the indebtedness of 35 international E&Ps publicly listed in the UK, Canada, Norway, Sweden and the USA. For each company, we look at (1) cash position, (2) level and nature of debt (including covenants), (3) debt service and principal repayment framework and (4) Brent price required from April to YE20 to meet all the obligations and keep cash positions intact. We also estimate YE20 cash if Brent were to average US$20/bbl from April to YE20. While the oil demand and oil price collapse are of unprecedented historical proportions and the opportunities to cut costs much more limited than in 2014, most companies (with a few exceptions) entered the crisis in much better position than six years ago, with stronger balance sheets and often already extended debt maturities. In addition, this time around, many E&Ps have already been deleveraging for 1-2 years and are not caught in the middle of large developments that cannot be halted. The previous crisis also showed that debt providers could relax debt covenants for a certain period as long as interest and principal repayment obligations were met. This implies that as long as operations are not interrupted and counterparties keep paying their bills (Kurdistan), the storm can be weathered by most for a few quarters.
With (1) Brent price of about US$50/bbl in 1Q20, (2) reduced capex programmes, (3) material hedging programmes covering a large proportion of FY20 production at higher prices and (4) limited principal repayments in 2020, we find that most companies can meet all their costs and obligations in 2020 at Brent prices below US$40/bbl and often below US$35/bbl) from April until YE20 and keep their cash intact, allowing them to remain solvent at much lower prices for some time. In particular, Maha Energy and SDX Energy are cash neutral at about US$20/bbl. When factoring the divestment of Uganda, Tullow needs only US$9/bbl to maintain its YE20 cash equal to YE19. Canacol Energy, Diversified Gas and Oil, Independent Oil & Gas, Orca Exploration, Serica Energy and Wentworth Resources are gas stories not really exposed to oil prices and Africa Oil has hedged 95% of its FY20 production at over US$65/bbl.
Companies: AKERBP AOI CNE CNE DGOC EGY ENOG ENQ GENL GKP GPRK GTE HUR IOG JSE KOS LUPE MAHAA OKEA ORC.B PEN PHAR PMO PTAL PXT RRE SDX SEPL TETY TGL TLW TXP WRL
Despite the disruption caused by COVID, Harworth has continued to make good progress across each business area. Liquidity has also been enhanced with an increase in the RCF announced at the end of April.
Companies: Harworth Group
Companies: AVO AGY ARBB ARIX BUR CMH CLIG DNL GDR HAYD PCA PIN PHP RE/ RECI RMDL STX SHED VTA
There has been much comment on the fact that equity markets in the US and Europe have been shrinking for some years now, certainly in terms of the number of quoted companies, if not in total market capitalisation (MCap). This paper has been written with the assistance of the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA) and focuses on the evidence for such in the London market and, in particular, that for smaller and midcap companies. It assesses that evidence and considers explanations. Finally, we ask why it matters, and assuming that it does, what practical steps can be taken to reverse the trend. Successful public markets have been a key part of the United Kingdom’s economic success for generations, even centuries, and we should not allow them to wither on the vine.
Companies: AVO AGY ARBB ARIX ASAI DNL GDR HAYD NSF PCA PIN PXC PHP RE/ RECI RMDL STX SCE TRX TON SHED VTA
We believe RECI’s 21% discount to NAV reflects a reduction in investors’ confidence, reflecting the uncertain outlook, security values and potential impairments. When considering if this discount is excessive, we note i) a relatively low-risk profile, ii) strong liquidity means RECI can optimise recovery returns, iii) restructuring is a core competency, iv) realised losses to date are just 2.1p, v) bond valuations are expected by RECI to be repaid at par, but priced at 17% below par, and vi) borrowers have been injecting equity into their deals. The stable 3p 4Q dividend and unchanged policy show confidence and re-investment returns rising.
Companies: Real Estate Credit Investments
The Merchants Trust (MRCH) is managed by Simon Gergel at Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI). Aiming to continue to provide a high and growing level of income, he is adjusting the trust's portfolio in the wake of dividend cuts sparked by the negative economic effects of COVID-19. If there is an income shortfall in this financial year, MRCH is well positioned to maintain its dividend, with revenue reserves of more than 1x the last annual payment. It has not been an easy period for value managers over the last decade as growth stocks have led the charge; however, Gergel has outperformed the UK market over this period in both NAV and share price terms. The board reduced MRCH's gearing in late January 2020, which was opportune timing ahead of the recent significant stock market weakness.
Companies: Merchants Trust
Today's news & views, plus announcements from VOD, POLY, SMDS, BLND, BYG, WEIR, DC, SNR, SHI, INTU, IHR, CNC, ARE, INCE
Companies: INTU SHI INCE
Trading Update – Showing Resilence
Companies: Manolete Partners
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.
Companies: AGR CSH ESP DIGS IHR LXI PHP RESI SIR SUPR THRL SOHO BBOX SHED WHR
AFH Financial released an AGM statement suggesting that trading for FY20 remains in line with expectations. In the first four months of FY20 AFH has continued to see inflows at Q4’19 levels. The company also expects to see continued consolidation and a growing need for financial planning. Although the current market uncertainty has hit the industry, we believe that AFH is less affected than others by market movements due to its protection broking revenues and initial advice fees totalling 40% of revenues. We leave our forecasts and TP unchanged. These show AFH trading on 10.8x FY20 P/E falling to 9.7x in FY21, and yielding 2.8% rising to 3.1%. BUY.
Companies: AFH Financial Group
Given the substantial share price decline for Ramsdens in the last month, following clear risks to near term earnings, we revisit the group’s valuation and suggest a potential impact to earnings from the COVID-19 related lockdown. The analysis shows that Ramsdens has a solid balance sheet with a number of clear valuation supports and will be able to withstand the extreme conditions that are likely to occur over the coming months. We use an 8x multiple on FY20 earnings as a reflection of a normalised earnings base which reduces our target price to 180p from 258p. At this target price Ramsdens would trade on a FY21 P/B of 1.6x and yield 4.5%. This target price offers 114% upside and we retain BUY.
Mattioli Woods has issued a trading update around the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We are reassured to hear that trading for the first 9m of FY20e (to Feb-20) was in line with expectations. There is likely to be a revenue impact, from falling asset prices and limits to normal business activity, however, it is not possible to quantify this just yet. A number of proactive measures are being taken to adjust the cost base to mitigate the short term impact, including reduced senior management team/variable compensation. We would highlight that c.55% of MW’s revenue is not linked to the value of client assets, providing a degree of insulation to asset prices. We make no forecast changes at this stage, but will monitor events and make any adjustments when there is greater certainty
Companies: Mattioli Woods