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QuotedData’s morning briefing 24 November 2021

HICL Infrastructure HICL

In QuotedData’s morning briefing 24 November 2021:

  • Nippon Active Value (NAVF) has confirmed gross proceeds of £14m were raised from the recent issue of 10,021,432 new Ordinary Shares at 139.70 pence per share. This represents a 1.5% premium to the NAV per share at close of business on 22 November 2021. Shares will be issued to certain institutional and other investors and following admission, will rank pari passu in all respects with the existing Ordinary Shares. On admission, NAVF’s issued share capital will comprise 113,021,433 Ordinary Shares, none of which will be held in treasury.
  • Utilico Emerging Markets (UEM) has posted its half-year report for the six months to 30 September 2021. During the period its NAV total return per share was 11% and its share price total return was 12.9%, both ahead of the MSCI Emerging Markets total return index which was down 1%. UEM’s revenue earnings per share increased by 8.1%, and it has now declared two quarterly dividends totalling 4p per share, a 3.9% increase over the previous half-year. Dividends remain fully covered by income and the board remains confident this quarterly rate will be maintained for the next two quarters.
  • Personal Assets Trust (PNL) has published its half-year report for the six months ended 31 October 2021, during which time its NAV per share rose by 5.3%, ahead of a 3.6% return from its benchmark index. With dividends reinvested, the total returns were 5.9% and 5.4% respectively. The first and second interim dividends of £1.40 per Ordinary share each were paid to shareholders in July and October 2021. A third interim dividend will be paid in January 2022 and a fourth in April 2022, of the same amount each, making a total for the year of £5.60 per Ordinary share. Portfolio activity was modest during the half year with a reduction in the trust’s equity exposure as a percentage of the NAV from 45.7% to 40.7%, as markets became more expensive.
  • HICL Infrastructure (HICL) has posted its interim results for 2021 which looks at the six months to 30 September 2021. During the period under the review, the company saw its NAV rise by 9.8% to 155.4p per share. The board reiterated the dividend guidance of 8.25p per share for the year ending 31 March 2023, which is the highest cash dividend available from HICL’s listed core infrastructure peer group. Meanwhile, HICL’s chairman Ian Russell has confirmed he will step down from the role having served on the board for eight years, in line with the guidance on director independence in the UK Corporate Governance Code. The board has confirmed that
    current non-executive director Mike Bane has been selected to be his successor from 31 July 2022.
  • Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income (SEQI) has posted its half-year report for the six months to 30 September 2021. During this time, its total share price return was 5.7% while its NAV fell slightly 103.18p to 102.94p. However, over the same period, the company paid dividends of 3.125p per Ordinary Share, consistent with its full year target dividend of 6.25p, resulting in a total NAV return of 2.8% (not annualised). Chair, Robert Jennings, said the period under review saw capital markets focused on risks around global inflation and the prospect of rising interest rates. He said both of these are unhelpful to a fund that invests in loans but for SEQI, the picture is more nuanced and he believes the trust is well positioned to deal with these potential headwinds.
  • LXI REIT (LXI) has posted a 9.0% NAV total return for the six months to 30 September 2021, comprising NAV growth of 6.6% and dividends paid during the six months of 3.0p. The value of the group’s long, indexed-linked property portfolio was up 4.9% on a like-for-like basis and now totals £1,216.6m. Adjusted earnings per share was 3.5p (up 6.1%). The company acquired 44 new assets during the period for a total of £248.6m and entered two new sub-sectors (education and life sciences), bringing its portfolio to 172 assets across 11 sub-sectors.
  • Third Point Investors (TPOU/TPOG) portfolio company, Verbit, has announced it has closed its Series E round at $250m, after securing a $150m primary investment and $100m in secondary transactions. The round was led by Third Point Ventures and Verbit’s total funding now exceeds $550m (including secondary transactions) since the company’s inception in 2017. Since Verbit raised its Series D of $157m last May, which Third Point also participated in with a $41m investment, the company’s valuation has doubled to $2bn. Verbit plans to pursue further M&A, adding scale and new capabilities, as well as providing enhanced value to its media, education, corporate, legal, and government clients. TPOU’s $200m investment, further solidifies its partnership with the world’s leading voice AI transcription and captioning company.
  • The board of Scottish Oriental Smaller Companies (SST) has announced plans to adopt the MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Small Cap Index (in sterling) as its principal comparator index. This follows a detailed review of its manager, and the subsequent implementation of a plan targeted at improving investment performance. The board also intends to introduce a performance-related conditional tender offer. Under the proposal, a tender offer will be made to shareholders for up to 25% of SST’s outstanding share capital at a 2% discount to formula asset value, being the net asset value of the tendered shares less the costs and expenses of the tender offer. The offer would be made if, over the next five years (from the start of the current financial year being 1 September 2021), and five yearly thereafter, the company’s NAV total return in sterling on a cum income basis does not exceed the total return of the comparator index net of fees over the five year period on a cumulative basis. If the tender offer is triggered, it will be subject to shareholder approval at the relevant time. The five-yearly period has been chosen as this best corresponds with the manager’s typical investment time horizon. SST has in place £30m of long-term fixed rate borrowings repayable in 2041. The board and manager will carefully consider the level of gearing (and potential repayment costs) prior to any conditional tender offer. Additionally, the chairman of SST has indicated his intention to retire within the next 12 months in line with SST’s succession planning.

We also have full-year results from Baillie Gifford European Growth and a first set of results from Cordiant Digital Infrastructure.

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