Recent years have seen companies opt to remain private for longer; due to their ability to access capital from alternative areas and to remain free of the increasingly burdensome requirements of being listed. The implosion of the Woodford Equity Income Fund as a result of liquidity problems has shone a negative light on open-ended funds holding stakes in private companies. However, the capacity to hold illiquid assets is one of the key characteristics of the investment trust structure. In this article we assess the advantages and disadvantages of holding minority stakes in private companies, and the impact that being re-valued periodically can have in a market characterised by wild swings in sentiment; which is perhaps of most relevance in the current market.
Companies: MERI USA SMT FCSS RCP EWI AUGM
There was palpable shift in sentiment over the third quarter with the cautionary undertone perhaps best reflected by gold’s resurgence. Ongoing trade jockeying between the US and China did not help the mood and neither did the Argentine debt default in August. At the real economy level, manufacturing output has been trending lower across some of the major global economies.
Companies: AEMC BIOG SIGT IBT JEFI MHN MERI MTE PSHD RSE SIR FJV LTI MVI SEQI SOND SLI EGL SUPP VNH CSH VSL BRLA UTL ADAM SOHO GPM TPOU LEAF JRS JLEN SEC IGC MPO LIV INTU THRL
Merian Chrysalis – Results of fundraising | Highbridge Multi-Strategy – Finals to 31 December 2018 | Bluefield Solar Income – Guernsey Green Fund status
Companies: MERI HTCF BSIF
Hipgnosis Songs – Proposed fundraising | Merian Chrysalis – Portfolio update and placing price | Residential Secure Income – Statement on regulator's report
Companies: SOND MERI RESI
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
Pershing Square Holdings – Finals to 31 December 2018 | Merian Chrysalis – Proposed fundraising
Companies: Pershing Square Holdings Merian Chrysalis Investment Company
Augmentum Fintech – Company update | Merian Chrysalis – 31 December NAV and portfolio update
Companies: Augmentum Fintech Merian Chrysalis Investment Company
Merian Chrysalis – Starling Bank grant award | Augmentum Fintech – ClearBank/Tide grant award | Aberdeen Standard Euro Logistics Income – Q4 2018 NAV | LXi – Accretive acquisition
Companies: MERI AUGM ASLI LXI
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
BioPharma Credit - TESARO statement | Merian Chrysalis - Portfolio update | HgCapital Trust - Partial realisation of Visma
Companies: BPCR MERI HGT
Last year set new records for the investment trust sector, with launches from Baillie Gifford, Fundsmith and Mobius Capital Partners amongst others adding to assets which reached a record of £189bn by the autumn. We look at the new funds which came to market and examine the progress of the most interesting so far…
Companies: OIT AIE AJOT MMIT SSON MERI
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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: AGY ARBB ARIX BUR CMH CLIG DNL HAYD NSF PCA PIN PXC PHP RE/ RECI SCE SHED VTA
Accelerating activity in to FY21
Companies: Manolete Partners
Equals' FY19A results confirm another year of strong, double-digit revenue and adj EBITDA growth. The move to a B2B focused offering continues to progress and looks well timed in view of Covid-19's impact on overseas travel. While the pandemic impacted Q2/20E trading early on, we note June KPI's indicate a positive rebound. Given the continued uncertainty as to Covid's full impact upon FY20E trading, we refrain from reissuing forecasts and thus leave our recommendation under review.
Companies: Equals Group
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
Trading Well in Tough Market
Companies: Palace Capital
Record delivered full year results matching expectations with assets under management equivalent (AUME) slightly ahead as positive inflows more than offset the impact of market moves and fee margins were broadly stable. The group also demonstrated its operational resilience and expertise to clients during the onset of COVID-19 and accompanying volatility. Looking ahead, the group has a fresh focus on growth and to support this is investing in a measured way in IT and its staff.
S4 Capital has announced the merger of Lens10, a leading Australian digital strategy & analytics consultancy, with MightyHive, its data & programmatic media practice. Founded in 2010, Lens10 provides a range of data services including digital strategy, digital analytics, optimisation and tag management. It is a certified Google Partner in Google Analytics, Google Cloud & Google Marketing Platform and is an Adobe Analytics partner. It has 25 data specialists in Melbourne and Sydney, and has a blue-chip client list including CottonOn, National Rugby League, Australian Ballet and ME Bank. Data analytics continues to grow in importance as marketers accelerate their digital transformation and S4 Capital indicates it has seen explosive demand for these services. No financial information has been disclosed, though we note the group reiterates its commitment not to compromise its balance sheet, which remains net cash. Separately, the group has announced that Miles Young, previously Chairman & CEO of Ogilvy, is joining the board. He has particular expertise in creative work and talent, new technologies and Asia Pacific developed over 35yrs at Ogilvy
Companies: S4 Capital
ICGT, the 39-year listed private equity (PE) investor, has delivered a total NAV return of 178% over 10 years (comparable FTSE All Share return 61%). Since Intermediate Capital became the manager in 2016, ICGT has earned mid-teen p.a. underlying returns every year. This has been achieved by leveraging the attractive PE market with incremental manager synergies. It has a concentrated portfolio of “high-conviction” investments (19% p.a. average returns over five years, 42% of portfolio, defensive growth focus) and a diversified third-party PE funds book. ICGT manages over-commitment tightly. The 33% discount to NAV is above peers.
Companies: ICG Enterprise Trust
The covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the share price of property companies, with 31% wiped off the value of their total market capitalisation during the first quarter of 2020.
Companies: AEWU CREI CSH BOOT INL HLCL THRL SUPR RESI RGL DIGS GR1T SOHO PHP BOXE ASLI UTG AGR UAI BLND UANC CAL SHED CWD WHR EPIC WKP GRI YEW HMSO PCA INTU NRR
Wirecard UK’s suspension by the FCA has been lifted, allowing U Account business through Shelby Holdings and Morses Club to resume as normal, permitting customers full access to cash, which was previously frozen, albeit ring-fenced in a safe Barclays UK account. Morses Club has offered its U Account customers free use of the previously affected U Account accounts in July as compensation for the issue, helping to mitigate any negative impact and ensuring the relationship with customers remains strong.
Companies: Morses Club
Hipgnosis Songs Fund (SONG LN) has today announced a trading update for the full year ending 31 March 2020. The unaudited NAV has risen 13% YoY to 116.7p, up 14.3% since the last published NAV of 102.2p as at 10 January 2020. This represents a like for like valuation uplift of 11.4%. All equity has been fully deployed and shareholder approval has been sought to increase net debt from 20% to 30%. Revenue is strong with £64.7m generating an EPS of 10.7p (more than 2x the annual 5p dividend target). NAV growth has been driven by revenue statements which were up 2%, and an increase in streaming growth rate assumptions by the independent valuers. The portfolio comprises 54 catalogues, with 13,291 individual songs, now valued at £757m which was acquired at purchase price of £697m on an acquisition multiple of 13.9x – now valued on 15.0x historical earnings.
Companies: Hipgnosis Songs Fund Ld
The impressive full year 2019 results included some eye-catching numbers, including a record PBT of £40.1m (nearly 3x FY18 @ £14.3m), £620m of reserves acquired over 16 legacy deals, and $842m of (estimated) Contracted Premium in the Program business – on track to breach $1bn in FY20 as previously guided and $1.5bn-$2bn in 2022-2023.
Companies: Randall & Quilter Investment
Blackbird plc* (BIRD.L, 19.25p/£64.7m) | Mirada plc* (MIRA.L, 92.5p/£8.2m) | Tern plc* (TERN.L, 10.75p/£29.0m) | Checkit plc (CKT.L, 39.5p/£24.5m)
Companies: BIRD MIRA MIRA TERN CKT
Ground Rents Income Fund (GRIO) has today released its interim results for the period ending 31 March 2020. The fully diluted NAV is 110.1p down marginally from previous NAV of 111.3p as at 30 September 2019 year-end. This valuation included a material valuation uncertainty clause as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has subsequently been removed since the period end for long dated ground rent valuations given the defensive nature of the income streams and continued market/transactional activity. The latest valuation represented a decrease on a like for like basis of £0.36 million or -0.3%. Two Interim dividends were paid during the six-month period ending 31 March totalling 1.98p, and a further dividend of 0.99p has been declared today (ex 16 July / payable 10 August). Dividend cover excluding the non-recurring litigation costs on Beetham Tower was 90%. Assuming a full year dividend of c4p this puts the shares on a flat yield of 4.9% and a discount of 26%.
Companies: Ground Rents Income Fund
S&U released its preliminary FY20 results yesterday morning, which demonstrate considerable resilience against a backdrop of election and Brexit turbulence and weakening consumer demand - although that already feels like ancient history.