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Neil Woodford's favourite closed-ended funds

The star fund manager has found opportunities in Russian property, clean tech and the lucrative litigation funding market for the billions of pounds he runs at Invesco Perpetual.


Eurovestech is an AIM-listed fund focused on finding investments in the web-based and technology related fields.

Primarily these businesses are based in Europe and the bulk of the trust’s holdings are fairly mature, having been held and developed by the vehicle's management for roughly 10 years. Not only does this mean the investment trust’s portfolio is stable, but it also increases the likelihood of significant asset sales and the return of capital to shareholders as a result.

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Burford Capital and Juridica Investments

Both Burford Capital and Juridica are members of the highly-lucrative legal funding sector, but while Juridica’s launch in 2007 attracted a string of heavy-hitting managers like Jupiter’s Anthonyy Nutt, Burford Capital’s IPO two years later was only 40% subscribed, netting £80 million of its £200 million target.

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BlackRock New Energy Investment Trust (37.4p; -17.8%)

BlackRock’s New Energy Investment Trust, managed by Poppy Allonby, invests in global companies offering decent capital growth prospects and operates exclusively in the alternative energy and energy technology sphere.

Although the case for clean and sustainable forms of energy has been building momentum in recent years, the trust trades at a hefty 17.8% discount.

Moreover, the investment trust has struggled to keep pace with its FTSE World benchmark, shedding 32.82% of its net asset value (NAV) per share versus 35.02% by its comparator index.

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Macau Property (134.4p, -15.2%)

Macau Property looks to the Far East for its returns and over the last three years the £170 million trust has successfully ramped up its NAV.

Despite difficulties in the broader market, Macau Property delivered 22.78% versus -11,55% in the Shanghai Property Index over the stretch.

This strong run does not extend much beyond the previous three years, however. Over five years the vehicle's performance has languished well behind its benchmark, returning 80% versus 159%.

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Raven Russia (63.3p; -3.6%)

Raven Russia is a specialist property trust which Woodford is well-known for backing.

In recent months the vehicle has struggled to stay in the black, shedding 8.6% from its portfolio over six months versus a typical loss of 3.8% by its specialist property sector peers.

Although these losses are wiped out by the trust's yearly 47% gains (in comparison to the 3.4% sector average), looking further back through Raven Russia’s three and five-year performance history the numbers throw up further significant looses of 26.7% and 31.8%, respectively.

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Crystal Amber (97p; -10.6%)

This UK growth trust has amassed £65 million in assets since its launch in 2008 and has ploughed the bulk of these into a concentrated portfolio of small and mid cap stocks.

Its portfolio comprises JJB Sports, the sports clothing and equipment chain, Pay Point, Omega Insurance and the recently-acquired TV studio Pinewood Shepperton.

Since its inception, Crystal Amber has dropped 2.7% from its share price and its ordinary share NAV has lagged its benchmark, largely due to the presence of troubled retailer JJB in its top 10 holdings. However, in April the fund accepted an offer from Peel Acquisitions for Pinewood, and this has lifted its h1 2011 NAV 7%.

Analysts expect this performance to turnaround, however, particularly since the vehicle' has now bought into TV studio Pinewood Shepperton.

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Profile: Quilter Cheviot boss Baines sees more consolidation ahead

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