Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust (SIGT) is managed by a four-strong team at Seneca Investment Managers, seeking undervalued securities across multiple asset classes in order to diversify the trust’s risk and return drivers. Its UK equity portfolio was particularly negatively affected by the coronavirus-led market sell-off in March, given its focus on domestic, mid-cap value stocks, which performed relatively poorly. However, these holdings could stand SIGT in good stead during an economic recovery. The trust’s board has committed to continue paying quarterly dividends, using reserves where necessary if income falls short, which seems likely given the number of dividend cuts announced by corporates in response to the global pandemic.
Companies: Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust
The outbreak of covid-19 has taken the wind out of global markets and Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust (SIGT) has not been immune to this; its net asset value (NAV) has fallen 30.4% during the first quarter of 2020 (23.6% in March – all in total return terms). It has suffered a triple whammy from its UK-biased value style, its mid cap exposure and the correlation of alternative asset fund prices to equity markets, but its board has said that it intends to maintain the quarterly dividend rate at 1.68p per share for the time being.
The outbreak of covid-19 has taken the wind out of global markets and Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust (SIGT) has not been immune to this; its NAV has fallen 30.4% during the first quarter of 2020 (23.6% in March – all in total return terms). It has suffered a triple whammy from its UK-biased value style, its mid cap exposure and the correlation of alternative asset fund prices to equity markets, but its board has said that it intends to maintain the quarterly dividend rate at 1.68p for the time being.
Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust (SIGT) has an overriding focus on value, which the team at Seneca Investment Managers believes offers compelling long-term investment opportunities. They employ a multi-asset approach in order to diversify the trust’s risk and its return drivers. While stock market volatility has spiked due to the coronavirus outbreak, SIGT’s managers are remaining calm. They are continuing to collect income and are topping up the trust’s positions that they consider are oversold. SIGT’s performance has lagged its inflation-based (CPI +6% pa) benchmark recently, but the managers are confident of outperformance over the course of the investment cycle. The trust’s structural bias to the UK and sterling should serve it well once there is increased clarity about the UK’s future relationship with the European Union.
Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust (SIGT) has a multi-asset investment strategy, with an overriding focus on value. The team at Seneca Investment Managers aims to generate average total returns of at least CPI +6% pa over the course of a typical investment cycle. It believes that there is significant latent value within SIGT’s portfolio, and due to wide disparities in the market, there are opportunities to recycle capital. The managers are reducing exposure to positions that have done relatively well, while adding to long-term opportunities that are trading on very attractive valuations. The fund has a structural bias towards the UK and sterling, which should be beneficial for its performance if there is increased clarity surrounding the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust (LSE:SIGT) was launched in 2005 and adopts a ‘multi-asset value investing’ approach, aiming to generate income and capital growth with low volatility by investing in a multi-asset portfolio of equities, fixed income and specialist assets. Since July 2017, SIGT’s performance has been benchmarked against CPI +6%. Annual dividends have increased each year since 2013. On 1 August 2016, SIGT adopted a discount control mechanism aiming to ensure that its share price trades very close to NAV.
In this webcast, one of SIGT’s fund managers, Gary Moglione, discusses how the environment has been for value managers and how Brexit is affecting the fund’s UK exposure. He then highlights the new positions in the portfolio, before discussing changes within the specialist asset segment of the trust and how overall asset allocation has evolved over the course of this year.
Over the last couple of years, Seneca Investment Managers (Seneca IM), the manager of Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust (SIGT), has been reducing the trust’s equity weighting, in advance of a global recession that it now expects in 2021.
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 SONG SLI EGL SUPP VNH CSH VSL BRLA UTL ADAM SOHO GPM TPOU LEAF JRS JLEN SEC IGC MPO LIV INTU THRL
Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust’s (SIGT’s) manager, Seneca Investment Managers (Seneca IM), has continued to reduce the trust’s equity weighting, in advance of a global recession it now expects in late 2020/ early 2021. Consistent with its view, SIGT has made its first allocation into gold (through a gold ETF and a fund of gold mining companies).
Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust’s (SIGT’s) manager, Seneca Investment Managers (Seneca IM), has continued to reduce SIGT’s equity weighting, in advance of a global recession it now expects in late 2020/ early 2021. Consistent with its view, SIGT has made its first allocation into gold (through a gold exchange traded fund (ETF) and a fund of gold mining companies).
Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust (SIGT) has a value-biased, multi-asset investment strategy. It aims to generate average total returns of at least CPI +6% pa over the course of a typical investment cycle. Recent performance has been significantly enhanced by the holding in financial platform AJ Bell, whose shares have nearly trebled since listing in December 2018. This has more than offset the negative effects from SIGT’s lack of exposure to US equities and safe-haven government bonds, which have performed relatively well. SIGT has a positive medium- and long-term track record versus its benchmark, despite growth rather than value stocks leading the markets in recent years. Performance has been helped by its c 30% exposure to specialist assets, which offer the potential for enhanced total returns, including high yields, supported by stable, inflation-linked income streams, along with lower volatility.
Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust’s (SIGT’s) manager, Seneca Investment Managers (Seneca IM), has continued to reduce the trust’s equity weighting, in advance of a global recession it expects in late 2020/ early 2021. Consistent with its view, the yield curve has all but inverted (as at 22 March, the gap between threemonth and 10-year US treasuries was just 3bp) and the manager says that in the past, on average, an economic recession has commenced 311 days later.
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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.
ULR’s finals were in line with on EPRA NAV and earnings a little better than expected. Valuations remain stable and full rent collection has been achieved for the current quarter. We see fundamental quality and resilience in the (now expanded) portfolio – ULR has already invested nearly £100m in the first two months of the new year following the £136m equity raise. We make no material changes to forecasts. Current valuation points to an 7%+ annualised return, with upside remaining from deployment of funding headroom, active management and potential for valuations to improve.
Companies: Urban Logistics REIT
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
Aside from its FY 19 earnings presentation, British Land has adopted a more cautious anticipation about Offices in the City of London. We share this pessimism and have been surprised by the recent share’s bump. The latter is the opportunity to turn negative, again, and update our divestment case.
Companies: British Land Company
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
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
In the past month the group has made significant progress in pivoting its business away from its traditional face-to-face model. Although lending levels remain appropriately subdued, it has achieved an impressive collections performance, with its largest business running at about 90% of pre-lockdown levels. This, combined with the group’s high risk-adjusted margins has enabled it to generate £3m of FCF in the first three weeks of April, taking its net cash position to £38.7m as of 21 April. This strong financial position, combined with the group’s innovative approach to product development puts it in an extremely strong position to serve its clients and win share when the current government restrictions are eventually lifted. Reflecting this positive outlook we reiterate our BUY rating.
Companies: Non-Standard Finance
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
The positive market movements (£19.5bn) offset the net outflows of £1.3bn. The adjusted operating profit before tax reached £1,149m, down 21.9% yoy. The insurer benefited less from longevity assumption changes (£126m vs. £441m in 2018) in the Heritage business and the lower Asset Management fees margin (38bp vs. 40 bp in 2018) in the Savings and Asset Management one. The current context has led to a decrease in the Solvency II ratio by 10%, but the capital position remains resilient at 166%.
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
U+I’s post-close trading update confirms c. £16m of development and trading gains for FY20, which includes Harwell. This is broadly in line with our revised expectations. Proactive steps are being taken to preserve liquidity in the short-term, including suspending the final dividend and stopping all non-essential spend. Positively, benefits of the cost saving programme will now be realised 12 months early. The balance sheet is strong, with ample liquidity; covenant levels are a long way off. Management’s time is being spent repositioning teams to be ready when restrictions are lifted, when there will be a renewed focus on the short-to-medium term value gain opportunities, of which there are plenty. The shares currently trade at 59% spot discount to our updated NAV forecasts, vs the UK sector at a 9% discount. We leave our recently lowered 180p target price unchanged and continue to see upside from here.
Companies: U&I Group
Recent news: On 21 April CLIG’s 3Q trading update to 31 March 2020, revealed:
27% fall in Funds Under Management (“FUM”) from US$6.0bn to US$4.4bn
- with weaker Sterling, FUM in £ fell 20% from £4.5bn to £3.6bn.
In 3Q, while Diversification CEF strategies (Opportunistic Value and Developed funds) had net inflows of US$25m, the Group’s Emerging Market Funds had net outflows US$68m
The Group has an active pipeline across all its major CEF offerings with increased interest in the Diversification CEF strategies
Post COVID-19, income to FuM remains unchanged at c. 75 bps of FuM
Companies: City Of London Investment Group
The COVID-19-related crisis further increases the top-line pressure. However, the quarter showed ongoing efficiency gains and, above all, management’s cost of risk guidance stood significantly below our stress test based projections.
Companies: Lloyds Banking Group
Smaller companies are usually a problematic area to invest in during significant downturns or recessions; and the sharp fall in 2020 hasn’t been an exception. In this article we assess the performance of smaller companies trusts throughout the pandemic, while identifying the factors that have differentiated the winners from the losers. This includes the impact that cash, market cap exposure, sector allocation, revenue exposure and growth or value biases have had, with some surprising results. We also ask whether now is an attractive time to invest in smaller companies, highlighting the trusts which stand out to us…
Companies: THRG GHE MINI RMMC ASIT ASL MTE TRG BRSC DSM
We wrote on 7 May, about the shape of the music global industry following the publication of the IFPI 2019 report. Taking a deeper dive into this report we examine the prospects of further growth in streaming numbers as the nonwestern markets come online.
Companies: Hipgnosis Songs Fund