Wealth Manager - the site for professional investment managers

Register to get unlimited access to all of Citywire’s Fund Manager database. Registration is free and only takes a minute.

Eaglet still failing to fly

Shareholders in Eaglet, the investment trust run by smaller company star Peter Webb, have endured another torrid six months after some of his stock picks proved premature.

Over the half year to December, the £105 million investment trust's net asset value (NAV) dropped 23.6%, below a 19.9% fall in its benchmark, the Hoare Govett Smaller Companies (Excluding Investment Trusts) index. The NAV fell a similar amount in the previous 12 months to June.

During the half year, the trust's share price, the figure of real interest to shareholders, slumped by a third. Eaglet shares are down 2.5p at 198p-206p today.

'The first quarter was extremely challenging,' admitted Webb, who in part blamed heavy selling by institutions in the small-cap arena.

He said his purchases of stocks in the electronics and support services sectors had been premature.

He added: 'Difficult trading conditions have clearly continued for much longer than we expected...[But] notwithstanding our short-term disappointment, we remain convinced there is considerable recovery potential in these sectors.'

Webb has recently bought into ECsoft (ECS), Compel (CGR), Northamber (NAR), CML Microsystems (CML), Wealth Management Software (WMS), NSB Retail (NSB) and Affinity Internet (AIH), but has sold out of motor dealers Pendragon (PDG) and European Motors (EMH) and bars operator Ultimate Leisure (ULG).

He predicts an increase in mergers and acquisitions over the next year or two, as companies attempt to lift profits.

Eaglet stands on a 14% discount to NAV, compared with its average 3% discount over the past 12 months and an average 17% discount among trusts in the UK Smaller Companies sector.

Webb also manages the £2.5 million (Unicorn UK Smaller Companies A Inc) and the £2.5 million (Unicorn Free Spirit Fund A Income ) unit trusts. He is AAA-rated by Citywire for his risk-adjusted performance. Unicorn Free Spirit, a very focused fund which largely invests in smaller companies, has delivered growth of 14.7% in the past year, putting it at the top of the UK All Companies unit trust sector.

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.
Citywire TV
Brewin's Foster: the world’s most unconventional monetary policies

Brewin's Foster: the world’s most unconventional monetary policies

In this week's podcast, Guy Foster asks why the world’s biggest economies are pursuing some of the world’s most unconventional monetary policies. 

Play Charles Tan on Woodford & hidden trust income gems

Charles Tan on Woodford & hidden trust income gems

Cantor Fitzgerald investment company analyst Charles Tan discusses Woodford Patient Capital and some of the income trusts slipping under the radar.  

Play Taxicab Tenner: SGPB Hambros CIO Eric Verleyen

Taxicab Tenner: SGPB Hambros CIO Eric Verleyen

In the second episode of our new series, Verleyen jumps on board a black cab and explains how hard it's become to find good valuation on the market.  

Wealth Manager on Twitter