Investment trust insider on Schroder’s UK cheerleaders – James Carthew: Schroders steers old Woodford trust towards British opportunity
Schroder UK Public Private Trust (SUPP) may have turned a corner last week after a bid for one of the companies in its portfolio looks set to free up substantial cash for the beleaguered former Woodford Patient Capital Trust.
Kymab, which was the investment trust’s eighth largest holding at the end of September 2020, is set to be acquired by Sanofi of France. Kymab is a biotech company focused on immune-mediated diseases and immune-oncology therapeutics – which means that it is using the body’s own immune system to fight cancer and reprogramming the immune system where it is malfunctioning. Its furthest advanced programme is in a therapy it calls KY1005 for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, which is in phase II trials (the intermediate stage before mass-testing – phase III – and ultimate approval).
The deal values Kymab at up to $1.45bn. Sanofi will pay $1.1bn upfront and then a further $350m over seven years subject to Kymab meeting certain milestones.
SUPP’s share of that is about £70m plus up to another £20m over the seven-year period. This compares to a valuation of £18m in the accounts as at 30 September. By our reckoning, it adds over 5p to SUPP’s net asset value (NAV) per share.
The NAV uplift is good news, but the influx of cash is great news. SUPP has been hamstrung by the gearing, or borrowing, that its original fund manager Neil Woodford put into the company. As I have said before, this was madness for a company that was supposed to be providing much-needed finance for growing British businesses. It was an idea that was either born out of ignorance or an arrogance that the trust would be able to expand.
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