The Board of Witan Pacific Investment Trust plc has today announced half year results for the period ended 31 July 2018. A summary of the results:
- Net Asset Value (NAV) total return of -0.6% for the period, compared with the benchmark -0.1%
- Share price total return of -4.0%
- Revenue per share 4.7p compared with 3.5p over the same period last year
- Interim dividend increased by 11.1% to 2.50p
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:
“During the six months ended 31 July 2018, Witan Pacific’s NAV total return per share (capital and income combined) and its benchmark fell marginally by 0.6% and 0.1% respectively. The discount widened during the period, resulting in a fall of 4.0% in the share price on a total return basis.
Our portfolio managers’ performance* over the period was mixed. Matthews Asia outperformed the benchmark with a total return of 1.4%. Robeco (-0.4%) marginally underperformed. Aberdeen was a little further adrift with a total return of -1.5%. Dalton registered a six-month loss of 2.7%. Only Dalton, who were appointed less than 12 months ago to manage 10% of the total portfolio, are currently behind their benchmark since appointment. The Board considers it to be too early to judge their performance.
The period started with a market correction in February affecting the Asia Pacific region alongside other global markets and replacing the recent rally and era of low volatility. Catalysts for this sell off included inflation worries and fears of a faster than expected pace of interest rate rises in the US, as well as heightened perceptions of the risk of trade wars between the US and its major trading partners. Markets generally continued to drift lower over the period, with the strengthening US dollar and higher oil prices having a negative impact. UK-based investors were largely insulated from this decline as Sterling depreciated over the period.
The region posted widely divergent results, with Australia leading with a rise of 6.4%. A small, but diverse, group of companies led this market higher. Indonesia was the laggard, falling 11.8% due to concerns over its exposure to higher energy prices, a widening trade deficit and higher debt funding costs. Taiwan, India, Hong Kong and Japan ended the period higher, whereas China, Korea, Singapore and the Philippines all posted losses. This period of consolidation has returned the benchmark to the level achieved in October 2017, despite corporate earnings having improved markedly over the period.
I am pleased to report that the revenue earnings per share for the first half increased by 36.1% over the same period last year, due primarily to an increase in dividends paid by our portfolio companies, together with some one-off effects from changes to the manager line-up in September 2017. The Board has proposed to pay an interim dividend of 2.50p per share and we are confident that, in the absence of unforeseen circumstances, the final dividend (payable in summer 2019) is likely to result in another full year of dividend growth for our shareholders.
We expect the volatility in share prices in the region which returned earlier in 2018 after a period of relative calm to continue. This can provide good opportunities for stock pickers such as our portfolio managers.”
*Individual manager’s performance gross of fees
- ENDS –
Witan Pacific Investment Trust plc
Witan Pacific Investment Trust is a multi-manager, Asia-Pacific including Japan Trust with assets of £240m (Source: Witan Pacific Factsheet 31.08.2018). 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
Alexis Barling, Director of Marketing
Witan Investment Services Limited
Tel: 020 7227 9773