Witan Pacific Investment Trust (WPC) offers broad exposure to the Asia Pacific region (including Japan), employing a multi-manager strategy. The board remains confident that the current line-up of four complementary managers is capable of good long-term outperformance; however, it has a contingency measure in place. If WPC does not outperform its benchmark in the two years ending 31 January 2021, investors will be given the opportunity to realise their holdings close to NAV, so either relative performance will improve or the trust’s discount will narrow. WPC has a progressive dividend policy; its annual distribution has increased for the last 14 consecutive years and the trust currently offers a 2.1% yield.
Companies: Witan Pacific Investment Trust
Witan Pacific Investment Trust (WPC) employs a multi-manager strategy, offering investors broad exposure to pan-Asian equities. The board recently announced a renewed commitment to improving the trust’s investment performance. If WPC’s NAV total return lags its benchmark over the period from 31 January 2019 to 31 January 2021, the board will put forward proposals that include a full cash exit at close to NAV. As a result, shareholders should enjoy NAV performance ahead of the benchmark or share price outperformance versus NAV as the discount is closed. In its recently released FY19 results, WPC proposed a meaningful 27.3% increase in its annual dividend; the fully covered 7.0p distribution, to be approved at the June 2019 AGM, equates to a 2.1% yield.
Witan Pacific Investment Trust (WPC) offers investors broad exposure to Asian equities, including Japan. While global equities, and emerging markets in particular, have sold off in recent months, the trust’s managers consider that this has created an attractive buying opportunity, and they remain very constructive on the outlook for WPC’s holdings. They believe that there is a disconnect between Asian equity prices and corporate earnings, which continue to grow at a healthy pace. The managers are finding what they consider to be exciting investment opportunities in the region, including in Japan and China, where its stock market has suffered disproportionately due to concerns about global trade as a result of the US’s ‘America First’ policy.
Witan Pacific Investment Trust (WPC) has outperformed its MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free benchmark since adopting a multi-manager strategy at end-May 2005. However, following a period of relative weakness (particularly since mid-2016), the board has changed the external manager line-up (effective from end-September 2017). It is enthusiastic about the two new managers: Dalton Investments and Robeco Institutional Asset Management (and has continued confidence in incumbent managers Aberdeen and Matthews). The board is hopeful that the new line-up can build on WPC’s long-term record of outperformance. WPC aims to generate long-term growth in both capital and income, and the regular annual dividend has increased in each of the last 13 years.
Witan Pacific Investment Trust (WPC) employs an active multi-manager strategy, aiming to generate long-term growth in capital and income from a diversified portfolio of Asia Pacific equities, which includes Japan, Australia and India. Since adopting the multi-manager approach in 2005, WPC has outperformed its benchmark, the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free index, in eight out of 12 financial years, but has lagged since mid-2016. The board changed the manager line-up from end-September 2017, dropping Gavekal and appointing Dalton Investments and Robeco Institutional Investment Management. WPC has a progressive dividend policy, aiming to grow the annual distribution in real terms. The regular dividend has increased in each of the last 12 years.
Witan Pacific Investment Trust (WPC) has a multi-manager approach, aiming to generate capital and income growth from a diversified portfolio of primarily Asian equities, including Japan and Australia. WPC currently has three external managers: Aberdeen, GaveKal and Matthews; they follow different investment strategies but are all unconstrained versus the benchmark (MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index). WPC has a competitive fee structure and aims to generate real growth in annual dividends; its current dividend yield is 1.5%. In FY17, investment performance was strong in absolute terms but lagged the index and its peers. However, so far in FY18 all three external managers are outperforming the benchmark. Since adopting the multi-manager approach in 2005, WPC has outperformed in eight out of 12 financial years.
Witan Pacific Investment Trust (WPC) offers broad exposure to Asian markets including Japan and Australia, adopting a multi-manager approach which tends to smooth the performance fluctuations of individual managers. Current managers Aberdeen, Matthews and Gavekal, all invest across the region pursuing distinct, unconstrained strategies. Although weaker over six months, NAV total returns have been largely consistent with the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free index benchmark over three years and WPC has outperformed over 10 years. Fees are competitive versus peers, with the board aiming to contain ongoing charges at 1% of net assets per annum. WPC aims to grow annual dividends above the rate of UK inflation; the current dividend yield is 1.7%.
Witan Pacific Investment Trust (WPC) is a well-established investment trust differentiated by its broad Asian exposure and multi-manager approach adopted in 2005.The three investment managers – Aberdeen, Matthews and Gavekal – employ different investment styles but all have a remit to invest in the Asia-Pacific region including Japan and Australia. WPC has outperformed its benchmark over the longer term and achieved its aim of growing annual dividends at a higher rate than UK inflation. Investors may be attracted by the forward P/E valuation of the Asia-Pacific region, which is currently at the low end of the historic range relative to global markets.
Witan Pacific Investment Trust (WPC) has followed a broad Asian multi-manager approach since 2005. It has outperformed its benchmark over this period and is now unique among Asia-Pacific investment trusts in retaining a mandate that includes Japan and Australia. Macro uncertainties have contributed to a market setback during the summer, but this may provide a more attractive entry point for investors in terms of market valuation and, for WPC, a wider than average discount.
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AFH interim results have shown resilience in a tough period. Revenues grew by 5% yoy and Adj. EPS is up 8% yoy. We reduce our FY20 EPS forecast by 8% to reflect the wider market falls and slower new business due to the lockdown. This reduction in earnings is significantly less than peers, highlighting the defensive nature of the business and the prudent temporary cost measures being introduced in FY20. The improved FCF of the business should lead to a re-rating, particularly as AFH now trades on 9.3x CY20 P/E, a significant discount to peers. Our reduced target price of 524p implies 81% upside. Re-iterate BUY.
Companies: AFH Financial Group
Much has been written about the effects of the virus on the world and on the stock market. Here is one analyst’s take on some of the likely impacts on the way we should look at companies. This article was originally produced as a blog, “10 Changes Post Virus”, which was published a few weeks ago.
Companies: AGY ARBB ARIX DNL GDR NSF PCA PIN PHNX PHP RE/ RECI STX SCE SIXH TRX SHED VTA
Burford has announced its results for 2019. As previously indicated, these were lower than in the previous year. Revenue fell 17% from $430m in 2018 to $357m. Profit after tax, on Burford’s basis, declined 31% from $329m to $226m. As announced earlier, there will be no final dividend so only the interim dividend of ¢4.17 was paid for FY19. Unusually, Burford has also released a trading update for early 2020 alongside its main figures. Court results and arbitral awards have been obtained that would generate some healthy profits. Most notable is $200m in income ($300m in cash receipts) regarding which further legal review is unlikely.
Companies: Burford Capital
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
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
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
TCS has confirmed it will pay the previously announced interim dividend of 3.25p. A number of mitigating actions to preserve cash ensures that this is affordable. We estimate the £1.7m payment is less than 10% of cash and available facilities, which should be little changed from the April update. Rent collection levels of 75%, or 86% including deferrals, is resilient under the circumstances. There are also optimistic signs from Europe that people will be shopping in material numbers from 15 June. TCS will have all locations safely open from that date. We lower our NAV forecasts c.2%, mostly for the dividend payment, but also for a tougher outlook for CitiPark. Official guidance understandably remains withdrawn. The shares currently price in a c. 30% decline in underlying property values, which we think is excessive. On this basis, we see upside to the share price, setting it at 235p, still a c. 25% discount to NAV while short-term visibility is low. BUY
Companies: Town Centre Securities
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.
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Today’s FY update reports that the decisive action taken at the outset of the COVID crisis has protected returns. Revenues held up through to the May year end. Aided by cost savings, adj. EBITDA is expected to be 20% ahead. We expect a more modest final dividend to protect the capital surplus. Additional savings have been outlined, which we overlay on a conservative “flat market/fewer new clients” scenario for FY21e – where we hope outperformance is possible. Updating EPS forecasts: FY20e +25%, FY21e -10% and FY22e -7%; also incorporating the Hurley Partners acquisition (+8%). We consider MW a high quality core holding with long term potential.
Companies: Mattioli Woods
Tetragon Financial Group (TFG, Tetragon) achieved a 13.6% NAV/share total return and a 13.4% ROE in FY19, in line with its long-term target of 10–15%. The main driver of Tetragon’s performance was its asset management business (TFG Asset Management), which comprises managers with a total AUM attributable to Tetragon of US$27.4bn and generated an EBITDA of US$59.5m in FY19 (up 51% y-o-y). The late-2019 investment activity left Tetragon with a relatively low net cash position (4.1% of NAV at end-April). The shares trade at a three-year average discount to NAV of 44% (currently at 62.7%), which is relatively wide compared to peers given the company’s track record of delivering a 16% NAV TR pa over the last 10 years. The recent market sell-off has so far resulted in a 5.1% decrease in NAV (ytd to end-April 2020).
Companies: Tetragon Financial Group
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.
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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
MJ Hudson has confirmed that it expects to achieve profits in line with expectations for FY20E. This is a good result linked to new client wins during the COVID-19 disruption and timely cost management. Whilst much of the group's activities are proving resilient, uncertainty remains and in line with most of the peer group, MJ Hudson is withdrawing guidance for FY21E. We similarly withdraw our FY21E forecasts until visibility improves, moving our rating to Under Review. Meanwhile, the shares are now down 30% since their pre-COVID-19 highs, which is beyond that seen at outsourcing peers (Sanne, JTC). Whilst COVID-19 is presenting challenges for many businesses, we believe that: 1) the structural growth drivers in alternatives that underpin MJ Hudson's growth will continue to remain highly relevant, and 2) its strong balance sheet gives it a relative advantage.
Companies: MJ Hudson Group
Today's update confirms Equals delivered another quarter of significant revenue growth YoY, delivered by organic and acquisitive means. Performance across the product range has varied unsurprisingly and we expect these trends to continue over Q2/20E. Given the great uncertainty over the duration and severity of COVID-19's impact on the group, we withdraw FY20-21E forecasts and place our recommendation Under review, awaiting further clarity. Equals is supported by a strong, debt-free, balance sheet and is undertaking measures to further conserve cash.
Companies: Equals Group