Witan Pacific Investment Trust plc announces full year results to 31 January 2019

The Board of Witan Pacific Investment Trust plc has today announced audited full year results for the period ended 31 January 2019. A summary of the results:

  • Net Asset Value (NAV) total return of -7.4% for the year, compared with the benchmark -5.4%
  • Share price total return of -10.3% • A final dividend of 4.50 pence per share making the full-year dividend 7.00 pence per share (2018: 5.50 pence), an increase of 27.3% on 2018 and the 14th year of consecutive dividend increases
  • NAV total return of 218.7% since the inception of the multi-manager strategy in 2005, compared with the benchmark total return of 215.7%
  • Net assets £220 million (2018: £244 million)

Witan Pacific is the only UK investment trust with a strategic focus across the entire Asia Pacific region, including Japan, Australia and India, investing in companies operating within this increasingly interdependent region. Since 2005 the Company has operated a multi-manager strategy to give access to a variety of investment styles and skills, and a broader investment opportunity.

Witan Pacific’s Chair, Susan Platts-Martin says:

“Equity markets were volatile during the year with our benchmark, the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index, down 5.4% in sterling terms. The Company’s financial year began with markets displaying a sense of optimism but this quickly evaporated as macroeconomic and political concerns including tightening liquidity, rising oil prices, signs of slowing global growth and the US-China trade dispute intensified. These factors were all seen as being particularly negative for the Asia Pacific region. However, in the final month of our financial year sentiment started to improve with hopes of progress in US-China negotiations and a softening in US Federal Reserve policy.

The portfolio did, however, continue to experience strong growth in earnings which increased by 21% during the year enabling us to increase the dividend and add £0.6m to revenue reserves. Whilst augmented by sterling weakness versus Asian currencies, most of this increase was due to increased dividends at local currency level, as portfolio companies enjoyed earnings growth and shareholders benefited from greater distribution levels. The Board is proposing a final dividend of 4.50p, this will make a total dividend of 7.0p per share for the year, a rise of 27.3% on last year and a near four-fold increase on the 1.85p paid 10 years ago. The dividend is fully covered by current year revenue earnings per share.

The Company’s net asset value total return was -7.4% and the share price total return was -10.3% versus the benchmark return of d-5.4% as three of our four underlying managers underperformed. As active managers we do not expect them to outperform every year but we expect outperformance over the medium to long term. It is therefore disappointing to report a third consecutive year of underperformance. The Board believes that the Company must justify its actively managed approach and despite good absolute performance in recent years (with a NAV total return of 42% over the 3 years to 31st January 2019) it was announced on 11th February 2019, that if the Company does not deliver NAV total return outperformance of its benchmark over the period from 31st January 2019 to 31st January 2021, the Board will put forward proposals which would include a full cash exit at close to NAV for all shareholders.

Markets have made a strong start to 2019 although ongoing macro-political concerns are likely to cause bouts of increased volatility. Our managers’ portfolios appear well positioned to benefit from the steady, if unspectacular, rate of global economic growth and from any re-rating of the region, relative to western markets.”

 

– ENDS –

 

 

Notes

Witan Pacific - Discrete Investment Performance

 

Discrete performance (%)
 

Q1 2014
Q1 2015

Q1 2015
Q1 2016

Q1 2016
Q1 2017

Q1 2017
Q1 2018

Q1 2018
Q1 2019

Share Price (Total Return)

26.2

-10.1

33.2

6.6

4.1

Net Asset Value (Total Return)

20.9

-5.0

31.2

5.5

-0.1

Benchmark (Total Return)

22.3

-6.4

34.6

7.5

2.4

Relative NAV Performance

-1.4

1.4

-3.3

-2.1

-2.5

Source: Morningstar, total return includes the notional reinvestment of dividends. Annualised figures updated each calendar quarter. The benchmark for the Witan Pacific Investment Trust plc is the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index (£). Source: MSCI, for more information please go to www.witanpacific.com/legal-information

Please remember past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise as a result of currency or market fluctuations and you may not get back the amount originally invested.

 

Witan Pacific Investment Trust plc 

Witan Pacific Investment Trust is a multi-manager, Asia-Pacific including Japan Trust with assets of £226m (Source: Witan Pacific Factsheet 31.03.2019). The Trust moved to a multi-manager structure on 27 May 2005 with Witan Investment Services as Executive Manager. The Trust’s benchmark is the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index (£) with gross dividends reinvested. 

Witan Investment Services Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Witan Investment Trust plc. Witan Pacific Investment Trust plc is registered as an Investment Company in England No 91798. 

 

For further information please contact: 

 

James Hart, Investment Director

Witan Investment Services Limited 

Tel: 020 7227 9770 

[email protected]

 

Alexis Barling, Director of Marketing 

Witan Investment Services Limited 

Tel: 020 7227 9770 

[email protected]