TIDMATY

RNS Number : 8018O

Athelney Trust PLC

03 June 2020

Athelney Trust PLC

Legal Entity Identifier:

213800ON67TJC7F4DL05

The unaudited net asset value of Athelney Trust was 224p at 31 May 2020.

Fund Manager's comment for May 2020

During the past month the MSCI World Index and the S&P 500 were up by 4.63% and 4.53% respectively. The UK, European and Asian markets reacted in similar fashion. In the UK, the FTSE 100 was up by 2.97% in local currency terms while the indices associated with smaller companies fared much better as was the case in April. The Small Cap Index increased by 3.93% with the Fledgling Index up by 6.55%.

While the re-opening of the economy is getting underway, it remains too early to assess the effect of the re-opening on both the coronavirus infection rate or the structural damage to segments of the economy. Multiple central banks met this week to assess monetary policy and with inflation well below targets, central banks have leeway to cut rates which should support equity markets. Notwithstanding the decline in the first quarter GDP for the OECD economies of 1.8% over the previous quarter and by 0.8% year-on-year, there is some optimism that the economic downturn could be relatively short-lived. However, third quarter company results are likely to be the litmus test to see if this is the case.

Since taking over the management of the portfolio we have continued to focus away from "old world" businesses into companies that have future organic growth with predictable earnings, a sustainable competitive advantage, high returns on equity, a strong financial position and an experienced and talented management team. These companies have been able to weather the Covid-19 lockdown as customers and businesses were forced to utilise and embrace the digital world. Further to my comment last month I am pleased to notice that more company executives are taking salary reductions as they implement austerity measures in the business, on the staff and in the payment of dividends.

The companies in which we are invested performed very well and we are delighted with the 6.93% increase in our portfolio, the performance of which was only exceeded by that of the AIM All Share Index which was up by 8.02%. After providing for the company expenses the net performance as reflected in the NAV was an increase of 6.72%.

Some of our cash has been used to acquire additional shares in Smart Metering and Begbies Traynor. We took up our entitlement in Costain and sold out of Wilmington and Mountview Estates. Cash is currently 3.6% of the portfolio.

Fact Sheet

An accompanying fact sheet which includes the information above as well as wider details on the portfolio can be found on the Fund's website www.athelneytrust.co.uk under "Portfolio Details".

Background Information

Dr. Emmanuel (Manny) Pohl AM

Manny is Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of E C Pohl & Co ("ECP"), an investment management company and has been a major shareholder in Athelney trust for many years.

E C Pohl & co is licensed by the Australian Financial services (licence no.421704).

www.ecpohl.com

www.ecpam.com

Manny Pohl and the ECP group has over AU$1500m under its management including four listed investment companies, three listed in Australia and one in the UK:

   --    Flagship Investments (ASX code:FSI) 

AUD50m https://flagshipinvestments.com.au

   --    Barrack St Investments (ASX code: BST) 

AUD25m www.barrackst.com

   --    Global Masters Fund Limited (ASX code: GFL) 

AUD25m www.globalmastersfund.com.au

   --    Athelney Trust plc (LSE code: ATY) 

GBP5m www.athelneytrust.co.uk

Athelney Trust plc Investment Policy

The investment objective of the Trust is to provide shareholders with prospects of long-term capital growth with the risks inherent in small cap investment minimised through a spread of holdings in quality small cap companies that operate in various industries and sectors. The Fund Manager also considers that it is important to maintain a progressive dividend record.

The assets of the Trust are allocated predominantly to companies with either a full listing on the London Stock Exchange or a trading facility on AIM or ISDX. The assets of the Trust have been allocated in two main ways: first, to the shares of those companies which have grown steadily over the years in terms of profits and dividends but, despite this progress, the market rating is favourable when compared to future earnings and dividends; second, to those companies whose shares are standing at a favourable level compared with the value of land, buildings or cash in the balance sheet.

Athelney Trust was founded in 1994. In 1996 it was one of the ten pioneer members of the Alternative Investment Market ("AIM"). In 2008 the shares became fully listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. Athelney Trust has a successful progressive dividend growth record and the dividend has grown every year since 2004. According to the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) Athelney Trust is one of only "22 investment companies that have increased their dividend every year between 10 and 20 years - the next generation of dividend heroes" (as at 20/03/2018). See link

www.theaic.co.uk/aic/news/press-releases/next-generation-of-dividend-heroes

Website

www.athelneytrust.co.uk

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June 03, 2020 03:35 ET (07:35 GMT)