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Witan outperformance prompts divi rise for 39th consecutive year

Witan outperformance prompts divi rise for 39th consecutive year

Good performance from Witan in 2013 was the backstop for a 39th consecutive annual dividend increase for the investment trust.

The trust delivered a net asset value total return of 29.4% over the year, 8.7% better than the benchmark. The dividend was increased by 9.1% to give a total payment of 14.4p. 

Witan appointed four new managers over the year, Matthews International Capital Management, Heronbridge Investment Management, Pzena Investment Management and Tweedy Browne Company.

The trust attributed its strong performance during the year to the outperformance of the majority of its external managers, along with the portfolio of direct holdings managed by its chief executive Andrew Bell (pictured).  

The trust remained fully invested throughout the year, and benefited from increased exposure to Japan.

It also anticipates a decent 2014 on the back of the improving economic outlook.

'It is encouraging to report a healthy level of outperformance over the longer term, alongside the strong results achieved in 2013. Equity markets performed very well in 2013, helped by the absence of the crises and persistent disappointments that had characterised the previous two years,' chairman Harry Henderson told the market.

'2014 may be the first year since the financial crisis that economic growth exceeds expectations. Alongside improving news on the growth outlook during 2013, there has been greater calm about the handling of issues such as the US budget deficit and tensions in the eurozone which had caused such volatility in 2011 and 2012.

'Despite the usual tactical risks, it appears increasingly possible that the recovery will become self-reinforcing, as companies begin to invest more in future growth and take on more staff.'

Witan is trading on an 8% discount.

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