emerging markets

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BlackRock Greater Europe Investment Trust

Improved performance under new co-manager

Review | Investment Companies | 11 Apr 2018

BlackRock Greater Europe Investment Trust (BRGE) is co-managed by Stefan Gries (appointed on 20 June 2017), who focuses on developed European markets, and Sam Vecht, who focuses on emerging Europe. They aim to generate long-term capital growth from a relatively concentrated portfolio of 35-40 European equities, mostly from developed markets. BRGE’s investment performance has improved following Gries’ appointment, since when the trust has outperformed the FTSE World Europe ex-UK reference index by c 5pp. As well as positive contributions from portfolio companies, both in developed and emerging Europe, BRGE has benefited from not holding some of the larger European companies that have underperformed the broader market.

Utilico Emerging Markets

Proposal to re-domicile in the UK

Review | Investment Companies | 26 Feb 2018

Utilico Emerging Markets (UEM) aims to generate long-term growth in capital and income from a portfolio of 60-90 emerging market equities. Exposure is diversified by geography, with a large concentration in infrastructure, utility and related sectors. Manager Charles Jillings is bullish on the outlook for emerging market equities in 2018 due to a widespread economic improvement, which should result in another year of robust corporate profits. UEM has announced that it is proposing to change its domicile from Bermuda to the UK, which has the potential to improve investor perception and may lead to a narrower discount.

BlackRock Latin American Inv. Trust

Optimistic outlook for Latin American equities

Review | Investment Companies | 15 Feb 2018

BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust (BRLA) is managed by Will Landers, who has 26 years of experience at BlackRock. He is optimistic on the outlook for Latin American equities in 2018, due to relatively attractive company valuations and improving economies in the region, especially in Brazil, where he describes the recovery as “slow and sure”. He says that in 2017, emerging market equity performance was led by Asian companies and there is potential for Latin American companies to catch up if investors have confidence in the improving economic outlook. After a recent improvement in investment performance, BRLA’s NAV total return is now outperforming the benchmark over one, three and five years.

Smith & Nephew

Challenges being addressed

QuickView | Pharmaceutical & healthcare | 12 Feb 2018

Smith & Nephew’s (S&N) FY17 revenues of $4.77bn and trading profit of $1,048m were slightly below consensus estimates despite a strong Q4, which saw a reported 5% y-o-y growth. EPS exceeded consensus estimates. S&N’s emerging market business retained its star billing for growth across all its geographies. A core focus of the business now appears to be improvement via the newly named, but broad-ranging APEX cost reduction and efficiency programme. Last year’s announcement on the retirement of its CEO seems to have taken on a slow and steady route to CEO transition, with the high-level commitment, involvement and execution on the APEX programme.

APQ Global

Meeting income targets and looking to grow

Update | Financials | 11 Dec 2017

APQ Global is well on track to deliver its targeted 6% yield on its August 2016 IPO price of 100p. The proceeds from the IPO and follow-on CULS issue have initially already been invested in a highly diversified liquid markets portfolio of mainly global emerging market bonds and equities, including a number of strategic positions. APQ continues to work on the sourcing of direct investments. The management team is experienced and incentivised, and supported by an advisory group of international EM experts. It aims to deliver a sustainable, progressive dividend with the potential for capital growth from investments in emerging markets.

Pointer Telocation

Strong foundations for future growth

Update | Technology | 27 Nov 2017

Pointer Telocation (PNTR) achieved a strong performance in both product and services revenues in the third quarter supported by 16% y-o-y organic subscriber growth and a boost to product margins from increased sales of higher-quality telematics units. PNTR looks set to derive substantial cost synergies in 2018 from the integration of Cielo Telecom’s operations in Brazil and we foresee the potential for the new CelloTrack Nano IoT tracker product to emerge as a major profit driver following strong recent interest in the market. We have increased our 2017 and 2018 EBITDA forecasts and reduced our fair discount to peer multiples, resulting in an increase in our peer multiple valuation from $15.4 to $19.3 (NIS 67.8) per share, and an 11% increase in our DCF valuation to $18.1 (NIS 63.6)per share.

MyBucks

Emerging market fintech

QuickView | Financials | 15 Nov 2017

Founded in 2011, MyBucks (MBC) has been profitable at the operational level since its second year of operations, providing microloans, insurance and banking via the internet, cellphones and applications, primarily to low- and middle-income customers in sub-Saharan Africa. The lending products range has been expanded to include agricultural, educational and SME products.

Smith & Nephew

No distractions from the search for growth

QuickView | Pharmaceutical & healthcare | 10 Nov 2017

Smith & Nephew's Q317 results featured 9% revenue growth in emerging markets that continued the trend of previous quarters. A further efficiency review looks likely to focus on reducing complexity in manufacturing and warehousing, improving the G&A ratio and continued salesforce efficiency. A narrowing of the FY revenue and profit growth expectations towards the lower end of the previously guided range may have disappointed some, but this close to the year-end there should be confidence that the revised FY ranges will remain intact. Management does not comment on M&A speculation, but with the recently announced retirement of its CEO, S&N’s continued strength in the attractive emerging markets and rumoured activist interest look likely to stoke further media speculation.

Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust

New manager oversees improved performance

Review | Investment Companies | 08 Nov 2017

Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust (TEMIT) aims to generate long-term capital growth from a portfolio of emerging market equities that is diversified by geography and sector. Carlos Hardenberg took over as lead manager on 1 October 2015, since when there has been a noticeable improvement in performance. TEMIT has outperformed its MSCI Emerging Markets Index benchmark by c 11pp over the last 12 months and has the best performance versus its peers by a considerable margin. Due to its substantial revenue reserves, the trust was able to maintain its FY17 annual dividend at 8.25p per share and a change in expense allocation will boost revenue returns from FY18; its current yield is 1.1%.

Crossject

Adding asthma

Outlook | Pharmaceutical & healthcare | 03 Oct 2017

Crossject has developed a deep pipeline of products that are based on its proprietary needle-free injection system, Zeneo, across a variety of indications, with a focus on emergency-related areas. In addition to avoiding needles, Zeneo provides a simple and quick (~1/10th of a second) delivery of the drug. Recently, the company has added Zeneo Terbutaline for the acute treatment of exacerbations in severe asthmatics. This is a large market (~2.5m in the US) in need of better choices for patients.

Lazard World Trust Fund

Active investment in global opportunities

Review | Investment Companies | 14 Sep 2017

Lazard World Trust Fund (WTR, formerly The World Trust Fund) offers investors access to a concentrated portfolio of the ‘best ideas’ of Lazard Asset Management’s Discounted Assets team, who manage more than $5bn of assets invested globally in undervalued companies, such as closed-end funds, investment trusts and holding companies that are trading at a discount to the value of their assets. Following a number of changes in 2016, the fund now pays a distribution of 3.5% of year-end NAV, making it the highest-yielding fund in its peer group, and, as requested by shareholders, has a new benchmark (MSCI AC World ex-US rather than the US-heavy MSCI AC World) that better reflects its international focus and high weighting in emerging markets. Recent performance has been strong, and the manager sees many exciting opportunities in areas such as China, India, Vietnam, Brazil, Romania, and smaller companies in the US and Europe. The fund can also hedge equity and currency exposures.

Henderson Alternative Strategies Trust

Steady improvement from multi-asset specialist

Review | Investment Companies | 18 Aug 2017

Henderson Alternative Strategies Trust (HAST) has continued in H217 to produce solid absolute returns from its portfolio of specialist and alternative funds investing in areas such as private equity, property, emerging markets and specialist credit. The three-year process of rebuilding the trust’s portfolio after its move to Janus Henderson was concluded nearly a year ago, and the managers are pleased with the progress made towards the informal target annualised return of 8%, measured over a three-year period. Share price returns over one year have kept pace with buoyant equity markets but with lower volatility, and over the same period HAST ranks third in its peer group for NAV total returns. The improved performance and a narrower discount may provide support as the trust approaches a three-yearly continuation vote in January 2018.