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Tech bids demonstrate value
20 Dec 16
Herald Investment Trust’s (HRI’s) manager believes recent portfolio activity (bids for Avesco and Mentor Graphics) shows that HRI’s NAV does not reflect the true valuations of the underlying companies, particularly when a trade buyer is looking to gain control. The UK is seeing considerable expansion from the major technology players (such as Amazon, Apple and Google). HRI’s manager thinks that this development is expanding the skillset of the sector and boosts the ecosystem that supports these tech giants. Small-cap technology, particularly in the UK, has been suffering from a marked lack of liquidity and HRI has seen an expansion in its already significant discount to NAV this year. However, HRI’s UK portfolio has a predominantly global customer base and its manager believes it will likely benefit from an improved competitive position following sterling’s depreciation.
24/7 operations approval boost
28 Nov 16
Wolf Minerals (Wolf) has received approval to operate its processing plant on a 24/7 basis, permanently, and permission to extend mining activities to 2036. Both permissions will have a significant impact on future production at its Drakelands open-pit mine, in Devon.
Long term growth opportunity?
10 Nov 16
Aberdeen Frontier Markets Investment Company (AFMC) offers investors a diversified exposure to the superior growth prospects offered by frontier markets (stock markets that aren’t classified as developed or emerging). Its managers believe that weak commodity and energy prices, as well as concerns over Chinese growth, have weighed heavily on this area and the vast majority of investors are now underweight. A valuation gap has opened up, versus developed markets, but AFMC’s managers see the potential for a strong recovery in frontier markets should a rebound in earnings growth start to emerge. In the meantime, they expect that investors will be able to benefit from an attractive yield. AFMC’s board agrees that income is an increasing part of the rationale for investing in frontier markets and is introducing a semi-annual dividend.
November 2016 - Winners and losers in October
01 Nov 16
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.
A way to diversify income
26 Oct 16
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.
India at a significant discount
21 Oct 16
In August, India Capital Growth (IGC)’s subscription shares were converted into ordinary shares. This increased its net assets by 29.2% before costs. IGC’s manager believes that this expansion should improve liquidity in the company’s shares and lower its ongoing charges ratio. However, IGC’s manager points out that despite these positive developments, an improving outlook for India and superior performance relative to its immediate peers, IGC’s discount has widened both absolutely and relative to its peer group. The manager feels that this is not justified and sees a number of potential catalysts for it to narrow, particularly if IGC continues to grow and passes the £100m market cap threshold (£91.5m as at 20 October 2016).
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