AVI Global

Last updated 07 May 2019
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While AVI Global Trust is sitting on a wide discount, the recent sell-off has turned up a wave of new opportunities...

Disclosure – Non-Independent Marketing Communication

This is a non-independent marketing communication commissioned by AVI Global. The report has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on the dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

AVI Global

British Empire Trust (BTEM) has a very long history as a specialist “value” investment vehicle. Over the course of its history, the managers have always aimed to exploit their niche expertise in identifying listed companies which are trading at well below the manager’s estimate of intrinsic value.

Since Joe Bauernfreund took sole responsibility for the portfolio in October 2015, he has significantly concentrated the portfolio, and tried to focus more on ideas which have an identifiable catalyst for a re-rating. Increasingly, the managers look to take a “behind the scenes” activist approach which may help unlock value, or bring forward the catalyst. As we discuss in the performance section, this change has made a tangible improvement to performance.

BTEM’s portfolio of companies offers diversification on a number of levels. First, the underlying holdings of each stock are often highly diversified, meaning that the portfolio is arguably not as concentrated as it looks. Currently, the top ten investments make up 66% of the portfolio, but given these are mainly funds or holding companies with varied portfolios of their own, the top ten underlying holdings represent 20.6%, a level of concentration similar to many traditional equity funds.

In general, the idiosyncratic nature of the strategy means that its fortunes can diverge significantly from global markets, and in fact pigeon-holing the trust is sometimes difficult. Importantly, the trust has very different return drivers from many of its peers.

Following the sell-off in Q4 2018, the weighted average underlying discount of the portfolio is approaching historically wide levels. Clearly part of this is influenced by the portfolio make-up, but it also represents the availability of interesting opportunities the team are finding which have attractive discounts.

Since Joe took over sole responsibility for the trust, performance has measurably improved. After a very strong 2016, the trust has essentially kept up with its benchmark, but is currently lagging global peers over 12 months. On the other hand, it has been considerably less volatile than them, lagging in strong periods for the sector, but falling less far in more difficult periods.

The discount remains wide both in absolute terms, but also relative to other investment trusts. It has certainly narrowed since Joe took sole responsibility for the trust in October 2015, and the performance started to improve. However, the difference between the trust’s discount (9.1%) and the sector average remains wide, with global trusts now trading close to par. This could revert if the world suffers a “growth wobble”, or US interest rates start to rise once again.

William Heathcoat Amory
William Heathcoat Amory is a co-founding partner of Kepler Partners LLP and leads the Kepler investment trust research team. William has 18 years of experience as an investment company analyst. Prior to co-founding Kepler Partners in 2008, he was part of the Extel number 1 rated research team at JPMorgan Cazenove.

Fund History

Related Research

Key facts

Investment objective

British Empire's investment objective is to achieve capital growth through a focused portfolio of investments, particularly in companies whose share prices stand at a discount to estimated underlying net asset value.

As at:

06/05/2019

Group/Investment

British Empire

Ticker

BTEM

Management Company

Asset Value Investors

Manager Name

Joe Bauernfreund

Association of Investment Companies (AIC) Sector

Global

12 Mo Yield

1.6%

Dividend Distribution Frequency

Semi-Annually


Latest Market Capitalisation

£815,148,465

Latest Net Gearing (Cum Fair)

9%

Latest Ongoing Charge Ex Perf Fee %

0.86

Turnover Ratio %

37.7

Shares Outstanding

110,904,553

(Discount)/ Premium % (Cum Fair)

-8.9

Daily Closing Price

735p


Disclaimer

This report has been issued by Kepler Partners LLP.  The analyst who has prepared this report is aware that Kepler Partners LLP has a relationship with the company covered in this report and/or a conflict of interest which may impair the objectivity of the research.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested when you decide to sell your investments. It is strongly recommended that if you are a private investor independent financial advice should be taken before making any investment or financial decision.

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