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Witan raises dividend for 38th consecutive year after strong 2012
by Dylan Lobo on Mar 13, 2013 at 11:37
Witan has raised its dividend for the 38th consecutive year after a strong 2012.
The investment trust saw its net asset value rise by 15.6% last year versus a 13% gain in the benchmark, prompting the group to increase its dividend by 10% to 13.2p. The company also said it plans to introduce quarterly dividend payouts in 2013.
Last year's performance at Witan is another endorsement of the changes introduced by Andrew Bell (pictured) when he was appointed chief executive in 2010, adapting the investment approach to become more high conviction.
There was only one change made to the portfolio in 2012 with Lansdowne Partners given a 3% global portfolio in December. Since the turn of the year, Matthews Capital has been handed a pan-Asian portfolio representing 9% of Witan's assets.
The big drivers of performance last year were Henderson UK small/mid cap mandate and Lindsell Train, which beat their benchmarks by 36.5% and 22.6% respectively. The weakest performer was the Asia Pacific ex Japan mandate managed by Comgest, leading to the decision to replace the firm with Matthews.
'2012 was a reminder that buying assets at low valuations gives a degree of fundamental support, even during periods of disappointing economic news,' chairman Harry Henderson told the stockmarket.
'The positive returns for equity investors were assisted by a number of feared events which did not happen: Middle Eastern conflict did not lead to a spike in oil prices, the euro did not implode and China did not slip into recession.
'Also on the positive side, inflation fell worldwide, the US housing market pulled out of a six year recession and Northern European governments showed a greater willingness to incur the costs of buying time for Southern European countries to reform their economies.'
Henderson expects to see more momentum in the recovery this year. '2013 seems likely to be a further year of convalescence for the world economy, he said.
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