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Investment Trust Insider: The winning trusts of 2012 and ideas for 2013
by James Carthew on Jan 15, 2013 at 00:01
In November, Loudwater reckoned the combined value of the cash it had given back and the NAV of what was left in the fund was just over £70 million. Its discount was 21% at the end of the year, having been as wide as 79%.
Credit is due to Damille , which (as I highlighted in an article written just before the AgraQuest disposal) has a substantial stake in the fund and is now sitting on a handsome profit on its investment.
Ingenious Media (IMAC) is, in some ways, a similar story. I had a fairly public spat with the company some years ago when I was running Advance UK. IMAC was launched in 2006, took for ever to invest its cash and made some shockingly poor investments. Not everything in the portfolio was a dog, however. IMAC bought a stake in a pre-existing venture fund which, among other things owned a stake in Cream Holdings (the people behind the Creamfields dance music festival).
In July 2012, it sold this to Live Nation, making nine times its money. IMAC finished the year on a 34% discount (having been as wide as 81%). With the NAV at 14p per share at the last estimate, and having made returns of cash of 45p, IMAC has turned £1 into 59p.
Investors will be hoping there is more latent value in the portfolio and there might be – I always liked the look of IMAC’s stake in Brand Events, which runs events such as Taste London and Top Gear Live – but I would not recommend a speculative purchase on the back of this.
Economic Lifestyle Property launched in 2005 as a split capital fund investing in retirement properties. The fund was never very large and by 2007, it was obvious that it was not working.
In 2011 a tender offer at 18.26p returned a substantial chunk of available cash to shareholders. This year’s good news was the settlement of a legal claim that added 85% to the asset value. This one seems to be closer to wrapping itself up than the other two but is probably too small to bother about.
The next fund that caught my eye in the list was Acorn Income. It is another split capital fund (ords and zeros) investing in a mix of UK small caps and high income (mostly fixed interest) securities.
The NAV of the ordinary shares rose by 48% last year and, as the discount narrowed, the share price was up over 60%. It is a minnow, with a market cap for the ordinary shares of just £20 million and it has suffered in down markets. But over its life it has generated decent returns and, if it can continue to deliver, it deserves to be bigger.
James Carthew is a director of Sapient Research
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