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Aberdeen Latin American Income Fund

Brighter prospects in Latin America

Initiation | Investment trusts | 11 Feb 2019

Aberdeen Latin American Income Fund (ALAI) gives investors exposure to both Latin American equities and government debt, and offers a 4.9% dividend yield. The company is managed by Aberdeen Standard Investments' (ASI) global emerging markets equities and emerging market debt teams. They are cautiously optimistic on the prospects for Latin America in 2019 (favouring the region above other emerging markets), following a series of headwinds in 2018, including a stronger US dollar, rising interest rates, commodity price volatility and a number of important elections. The managers note that commodity prices are stabilising, there is potential for a weaker US currency as the benefits from stimuli and tax cuts fade, and inflation in Latin America is moderating so central banks are more dovish. An improving economic environment in Brazil could contribute towards more robust earnings estimates and higher equity valuations in the region.

Aberdeen New Thai Investment Trust

Strong long-term absolute performance

Review | Investment trusts | 17 Dec 2018

Aberdeen New Thai Investment Trust (ANW) was launched in 1989 and is the only Thailand-focused investment trust listed in London. It aims to deliver a high level of long-term capital growth through investing in a relatively concentrated portfolio of quality companies, following a disciplined bottom-up approach. The Thai equity market has been relatively resilient this year compared to MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan and MSCI Emerging Markets, reflecting Thailand’s solid economic fundamentals. The manager believes Thai companies are particularly well-placed to benefit from the fast-growing neighbouring economies of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, and ANW offers some indirect exposure to these markets. The trust has delivered strong absolute returns over the past 10 years; an annualised NAV total return of 20.5%. Recent returns, however, have lagged the benchmark and the shares have traded at a persistently wide discount to cum-income NAV. In May 2018, the board announced a package of changes to address these issues which, if successful, should support further narrowing of the discount.

Henderson Alternative Strategies Trust

More defensive in response to macro headwinds

Review | Investment trusts | 07 Dec 2018

Henderson Alternative Strategies Trust (HAST) aims to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for investors seeking to allocate to specialist and alternative assets. Following the retirement of co-manager Ian Barrass in June, HAST is now co-managed by James de Bunsen and Peter Webster. The trust’s focus on areas such as property and hedge funds, alongside specialist credit, private equity and emerging markets, among others, means it should be well placed to act as a source of less-correlated returns in times of mainstream equity market volatility. HAST’s NAV held up well in the market wobbles of Q118 and its move to more defensive positioning through the summer has so far stood it in good stead during the current sell-off in equity markets. Meanwhile, recent ‘buying on the dips’ in favoured holdings such as Worldwide Healthcare Trust and Polar Capital Global Financials will allow HAST to take full advantage of any recovery in sentiment.

EDAG Engineering

Engineering the ‘e-motive' future

QuickView | Automotive Retailers | 19 Nov 2018

EDAG is one of the world's leading independent engineering serviceproviders to the global automotive manufacturing industry. With areputation built over decades in the core German market, the companyappears well positioned to benefit from the surge in new vehicle projectsbeing driven by the megatrend towards electromobility. Its existingcustomer base, composed of many of the leading car manufacturers, needsto transition entire product ranges, and new independent vehicle projectsare emerging around the world, requiring specialist engineering resources.


Emerging marketplace for SME loans

QuickView | Financials | 19 Nov 2018

creditshelf (CSQ) is addressing the underserved SME credit market in Germany through the development of its fully integrated online platform, including product portfolio extension and acquisition of new investors. As is typical for an early-stage business, CSQ is currently loss-making, but is seeing dynamic sales growth. Future growth will be supported by the €16.5m gross proceeds raised during the IPO, completed last July.

Witan Pacific Investment Trust

Diversified exposure to pan-Asian equities

Review | Investment trusts | 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.

Genesis Emerging Markets Fund

Emerging markets specialist, unloved asset class

Initiation | Investment trusts | 30 Oct 2018

Genesis Emerging Markets Fund (GSS) was launched in July 1989, making it one of the first emerging markets funds to be listed in the UK. It seeks to generate long-term capital growth, primarily through investing in emerging and frontier markets equities. With few constraints relative to the benchmark MSCI Emerging Markets index, the investment approach is bottom-up and focused on high-quality companies that trade on reasonable valuations. The manager believes income convergence with developed economies, and a rapidly growing middle-class, creates compelling long-term opportunities for the asset class. In the nearer term, the manager is finding attractive entry points for investments following a c 20% correction of the benchmark index since January 2018. The board has recently increased its efforts to promote GSS, including a resumption of distributions, while a tender offer was successfully completed in August 2018. The fund’s 13.5% discount to cum-income NAV is at the lower end of the peer group range, suggesting there is scope to narrow over time.

BlackRock Greater Europe Investment Trust

Building on the record of outperformance

Review | Investment trusts | 15 Oct 2018

BlackRock Greater Europe Investment Trust (BRGE) has two co-managers: Stefan Gries focuses on developed markets in Europe (the large majority of the portfolio), while Sam Vecht focuses on emerging markets. Gries believes that the investment backdrop remains relatively robust, but stresses the importance of remaining selective. He seeks quality companies that can be held for the long term, where their earnings and cash flow potential is not reflected in their current share prices. Since Gries became co-manager in June 2017, BRGE has outperformed the FTSE World Europe ex-UK index by c 12pp. He continues to find attractive investment opportunities, and comments that the broad-based sell-off in emerging markets means there is potential for a higher emerging Europe allocation in the trust’s portfolio in coming months.

Murray International Trust

Capital growth and above-average dividend yield

Initiation | Investment trusts | 28 Sep 2018

Murray International Trust (MYI) is a global fund offering the prospect of capital appreciation and an above-average dividend yield from a diversified portfolio primarily of equities, as well as bonds. Manager Bruce Stout also aims to protect capital during periods of stock market weakness. He is cautious on the growth outlook for developed economies, based on the debt overhang following the global financial crisis, and continues to favour higher-growth markets in Asia and Latin America. Stout follows a disciplined, long-term approach to investing and, while 2018 has proved to be a tough period for emerging markets, has outperformed the trust’s composite benchmark in all but three years since he assumed the role of lead manager in 2004.

Smith & Nephew

Turning over that new leaf

QuickView | Pharmaceuticals & healthcare | 28 Sep 2018

We had the opportunity to join Smith & Nephew’s (S&N) recent institutional investor roadshow and hear about the introspection that has emerged following the appointment of its new CEO. While endorsing its strategy as a portfolio medical device company, two strategic reviews have identified areas which, when the detail is announced at the Q3 and FY18 results, will enable investors to track S&N’s target of returning to market growth rates.

Utilico Emerging Markets Trust

Simplified corporate structure

Review | Investment trusts | 17 Sep 2018

Utilico Emerging Markets Trust (UEM) is a specialist fund focusing on infrastructure and utility investment in emerging market equities. In April 2018, UEM completed its re-domicile from a Bermuda-based investment company to a UK-based investment trust, in order to benefit from the UK’s increasingly supportive regulatory and tax environment. There is no change to UEM’s investment approach or dividend policy. Also, following the final exercise of its subscription shares, UEM now has a simpler capital structure. The board believes that these changes have potential to improve investor perception and, over time, lead to a narrower discount.

APQ Global

Executive interview - APQ Global

Edison TV: | Financials | 16 Jul 2018

APQ is an international emerging markets company, which aims to deliver a stable and growing dividend and capital growth for its shareholders by focusing on income-generating business opportunities, with good value and long-term growth potential. In this interview, CEO Bart Turtelboom gives his views on a range of topics and the potential opportunities for APQ that these represent, including the recent volatility in emerging markets, the Turkish elections, Argentina, China-US relations, and local currency emerging market debt.