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The European Investment Trust

Trade dispute weighing on investor sentiment

Review | Investment Companies | 07 Jan 2019

The European Investment Trust (EUT) is managed by Craig Armour at Edinburgh Partners (EP, which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Franklin Templeton Investments). He aims to generate attractive investment returns from a diversified portfolio of continental European equities, employing a disciplined, valuation-based stock selection strategy. The manager believes investor sentiment has become too negative, on the back of slowing global growth in response to the US/China trade dispute. He says that as a result, many sectors of the European stock market – including industrials and other cyclicals – are looking attractively valued. EUT’s board has a progressive dividend policy and the trust currently offers a yield of 3.5%, which is the highest for a non-income-focused fund within the AIC Europe sector.

China Water Affairs Group

Strong performance delivers growth

Update | General Industrials | 13 Dec 2018

Interim results confirmed that China Water Affairs Group (CWA) continues to grow rapidly. We remain optimistic about CWA’s capacity to extend this growth trajectory and see the 50% increase in the interim dividend payment as evidence of management’s confidence in the outlook. In our view, the rating of the shares does not reflect the growth prospects.

CASI Pharmaceuticals

Evomela approved in China

Update | Pharmaceuticals & healthcare | 10 Dec 2018

CASI announced that it has received approval in China for Evomela. The drug is a formulation of melphalan hydrochloride used in the treatment of multiple myeloma, and CASI obtained the rights to the drug in Greater China from its original developer, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, in 2014. This put CASI in a unique position to take advantage of the regulatory reforms in China. The drug was approved under the new priority review pathway at the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA, formerly the CFDA) and serves as a test case for this new regulatory regime.

CASI Pharmaceuticals

Riding the wave of Chinese reform

Initiation | Pharmaceuticals & healthcare | 29 Nov 2018

We are initiating coverage on CASI Pharmaceuticals, which is focused on leveraging regulatory synergies between the US and China to quickly bring products to market. The regulatory environment in China is rapidly evolving and is actively encouraging the entry of foreign drugs. CASI intends to leverage this with a portfolio of three proprietary oncology drugs (licensed from Spectrum) and 30 ANDAs (bought from Sandoz and Laurus Labs). We arrive at an initial valuation of $754m or $8.06 per share.

Entertainment One

2019: Year of the (Peppa) Pig

Update | Media | 20 Nov 2018

Entertainment One’s interims are in line with expectations. Our FY19 and FY20 revenue forecasts are trimmed but we have lifted expected margins, leaving EBITDA and EPS broadly unchanged. This reflects the further mix shift to Family & Brands, where good momentum continues behind Peppa Pig and PJ Masks, especially in China. Film & TV is part-way through its transition from distribution to content production, with divisional EBITDA also impacted by an H2-weighted release schedule. The net effect was a group EBITDA margin of 14.8% (H118: 13.3%). Changing consumption patterns provide a strong backdrop to high-quality content providers such as eOne. We regard the shares as attractively priced on earnings and with regard to the portfolio valuation of $2.0bn.

Fidelity China Special Situations

Accessing China's superior growth prospects

Review | Investment Companies | 15 Nov 2018

Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) aims to provide an attractive way for investors to gain exposure to the faster-growing areas of the Chinese economy, with China’s growing economic influence raising its importance within a balanced portfolio. FCSS’s longer-term performance has been strong – its NAV total return is ahead of the MSCI China index over five years and since its launch in 2010 – but returns are negative over one year, reflecting the Chinese stock market downturn. While market sentiment has suffered due to the US-China trade dispute, earnings forecasts have been largely unaffected, and the manager has used the correction to add to holdings with strong long-term prospects at historically low valuations.

Circassia Pharmaceuticals

Joining the dots

QuickView | Pharmaceuticals & healthcare | 09 Nov 2018

Circassia's recent interims demonstrated 55% y-o-y revenue growth to £28.4m and a 75% R&D expense reduction (to £6.9m from £27.2m in H117) while growing the commercial infrastructure that now includes China. Investors should see a path to profitability, but we note recent licensing opportunities in the respiratory therapeutic area could accelerate this.

Fluence Corporation

Delivering on expectations

Update | General Industrials | 02 Nov 2018

Q3 saw Fluence delivering on expectations. It signed its first multiproduct Aspiral deal in China ($45m), reported in-line revenue (up 140% y-o-y) and held FY18 gross profit guidance. An equity offer raising c $23m (net) should address any funding concerns. Capital raising aside, our forecasts are unchanged; the company still has to deliver a strong Q4, but following the China deal, confidence in the long-term story should be growing.

Witan Pacific Investment Trust

Diversified exposure to pan-Asian equities

Review | Investment Companies | 02 Nov 2018

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.

NetScientific

Fosun Pharma investing in Glycotest

Update | Pharmaceuticals & healthcare | 24 Oct 2018

NetScientific announced the completion of a $10m Series A funding for Glycotest with Fosun Pharma, a Chinese pharmaceutical company with a market capitalisation of HK$71bn. As part of the transaction, Fosun will invest an initial tranche of $3m, with another $7m due upon the completion of certain milestones, in return for a 40% interest in Glycotest as well as the China rights for its hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) panel. The transaction still needs to be approved by regulatory authorities in both China and the US (where Glycotest is based). Approval is expected in around 30 days’ time.

Fluence Corporation

China Contract catalyst?

Flash note | General Industrials | 15 Oct 2018

Fluence has secured a deal for its Aspiral product in China that should generate at least US$45m in revenue over the next three years. This deal is significant as, aside from the financial benefit, it demonstrates the size of the opportunity for Aspiral in China. Greater investor confidence in Fluence's prospects here could drive a sharp re-rating of the shares, in our view. We make no changes to numbers now but will review estimates after the Q3 trading statement.

Cellular Biomedicine Group

CBMG and Novartis sign manufacturing partnership

Update | Pharmaceuticals & healthcare | 05 Oct 2018

Cellular Biomedicine Group (CBMG) announced it has signed an exclusive partnership with Novartis to manufacture the CAR-T therapy Kymriah in China. Novartis retains all marketing responsibility and CBMG will be entitled to both a mark-up on manufacturing costs and an escalating single-digit royalty on sales. Additionally, Novartis will take an equity stake in CBMG of approximately 9%: $40m at $27.43/share. Our valuation is lifted to $535m (from $353.1m).