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Gartmore Fledgling flying

by Laurence Fletcher on Aug 27, 2003 at 18:05

Gervais Williams' Gartmore Fledgling investment trust has reported a strong set of results, although shareholders have not felt all the benefit.

Over the year to June the trust's net asset value rose 13.2%, ahead of the FTSE Fledgling (Excluding Investment Companies) index by 0.4%.

However, the trust's discount widened substantially over the year, from 13.1% to 20.4%, and as a result the share price, the measure most relevant to private investors, rose just 3.6%.

The trust's chairman Jimmy West cited the high level of director share purchases and an increased number of takeovers as signs fledgling companies are relatively attractive.

The £70 million investment trust faces a continuation vote on 7 October. Trustbuster Laxey Partners, which failed to make the trust repurchase shares or liquidate at the start of 2001, controls over 7% of the trust. This is an ominous presence, but otherwise there are few other potentially hostile shareholders.

A final dividend of 1.75p will be paid to the trust's shareholders, which represents an 8.3% increase in the total payout. Subject to unforeseen circumstances, the board expects to increase the dividend this year as well.

The Gartmore Fledgling investment trust stands on a 17% discount to NAV, compared with its average 16% discount over the past 12 months and an average 16% discount among trusts in the UK Smaller Companies sector.

The trust's shares closed unchanged at 229p.

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