Witan Pacific Investment Trust PLC outperforms in Half Year results

The Board of Witan Pacific Investment Trust plc has announced audited half year results for the period ended 31 July 2016. A summary of the results: 

  • Net Asset Value (NAV) total return of 22.8% (2015:-0.2%), 0.8% ahead of the 22.0% benchmark¹ return. 
  • Share price total return of 19.5%, reflecting a widening of the discount over the period. 
  • An interim dividend of 2.2p (an increase of 2.3%) 
  • Outperformance in 8 out of the 11 financial years since the introduction of the multi-manager strategy. 

Witan Pacific is the only UK investment trust to provide its shareholders with exposure to the wider Asia-Pacific region, including Japan. Since May 2005, the trust has employed an active multi-manager approach, in order to add value and diversify risk. The trust has three appointed managers with established track records – Matthews, Aberdeen, and Gavekal – which seek to outperform the regional index¹ and to deliver capital return and income growth. Each manager employs a distinct approach, while they have in common a fundamentally-driven investment policy, choosing holdings independent of index weightings. 

 

Sarah Bates, Chairman of the Witan Pacific Investment Trust said: 

“Following the ups and downs of the last financial year, we are encouraged by the sharp rise in Witan Pacific’s NAV per share over the period. The share price return was not quite as strong as the discount widened from 10.9% at the end of January 2016 to 13.4% at the end of July. However, many of the trusts investing in the Asian region experienced volatility in their discounts over the six month period and we have increased the rate of our buyback activity. 

Such returns are unusual. The markets recovered from a low point in mid-February – following the uncertainty of January and February, arising from fears of a very sharp slow-down in the Chinese economy – and have continued to rise into the current half year so far. The recovery saw particularly strong performances from the Philippine, Thai and Hong Kong markets, and from commodity and telecoms in sector terms. 

The most significant influence on returns to a sterling investor over the period was the strength of Asian currencies compared to sterling, following the dramatic decline in sterling after the result of the Brexit referendum, although several markets also performed strongly in local currency terms. More detail on this is included in the Half Year Report.

Overall, our Managers saw positive returns over the period. Aberdeen outperformed strongly, following a period of underperformance and owing in part to the rally in mining shares but also to other holdings such as Singapore Tech Engineering and Shin-Etsu Chemical. Matthews performed more or less in line over the period, having performed very well in relative terms for the last financial year. Gavekal underperformed somewhat, having outperformed in 2015/16’s falling markets. 

Throughout 2016, we have continued to buy back shares when the discount at which they stand is at an anomalous and substantial level and have bought back some 478,331 shares over the period, which added approximately £200,000 of value for shareholders. 

Markets across the world have been strong so far in 2016, which is perhaps surprising in the face of lacklustre economic growth, weak corporate earnings and political uncertainties ranging from the UK’s referendum on the EU to the forthcoming US Presidential election. Part of the reason for such startling equity returns this year relates to the global decline in both short and long-term interest rates, which has made the relative valuations of equities look more attractive by comparison. Our managers’ focus on valuation, long term opportunity, management and business fundamentals is intended to deliver returns that are not unduly sensitive to shorter term currents. At the same time, the development of inter-regional economic activity continues and the range of investment opportunities across the region remains of considerable interest.

After being a Director of Witan Pacific for more than 12 years, I will retire from the Board and as Chair at the AGM next year. I am pleased to say that Susan Platts-Martin will take over from me as Chair at that point.” 

¹ The Company’s benchmark is the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index (£) 

- ENDS - 

 

For further information please contact: 

 

Andrew Bell 

Witan Investment Services Limited 

Tel: 020 7227 9770 

[email protected]

 

James Hart 

Witan Investment Services Limited 

Tel: 020 7227 9770 

[email protected]

 

Hannah Philp 

Witan Investment Services Limited 

Tel: 020 7227 9773 

[email protected]

 

Notes to Editors 

Witan Pacific Investment Trust plc 

Witan Pacific Investment Trust is an Asia-Pacific including Japan Trust with assets of £211m (Source: Witan Pacific Factsheet August 2016). The Trust moved to a multi-manager structure on 27 May 2005 with Witan Investment Services as Executive Manager. The Trust’s benchmark is MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index (£). 

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. 

 

Multi-Manager Structure (as at 31.07.2016)

Aberdeen Asset Management 42.4% 

Matthews 47.0% 

GaveKal 10.6% 

 

Publish date

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