RNS Number : 0868E

Athelney Trust PLC

03 November 2020

Athelney Trust PLC

Legal Entity Identifier:


The unaudited net asset value of Athelney Trust was 230.2p at 31 October 2020.

Fund Manager's comment for October 2020

During the past month, global stock markets continued the downward trend set in September with the MSCI World Index and the S&P 500 down (in US$) by 3.1% and 2.8% respectively, driven once again by the decline in the large technology stocks from their highs in August. There was a slight increase (0.2%) in the value of the pound as compared to the US$ and hence little impact on the performance of the indices in GBP. The large cap stocks performed poorly during the month with the FTSE 100 declining by 5.8% as compared to the Small Cap Index which increased by 1.1%. The FTSE 250 was down by 1.1%, the AIM All Share Index declined by 1.5%, while the Fledgling Index declined by 0.2% during the month.

Contrary to what has happened in previous months, our overall performance was improved by our exposure to the property trusts which held their value during the month as more and more REITs confirmed that distributions would be higher than expected. As a result, our portfolio performed extremely well, increasing by 0.1% during the month. After providing for expenses the NAV was unchanged during the month.

In recent weeks, new cases of Covid-19 have increased across the United Kingdom, causing a partial re-imposition of lockdown restrictions which could threaten the country's economic rebound as the pace of the rebound was already showing signs of losing momentum. The latest Red Flag Alert for Q3 2020 which is research published by Begbies Traynor, recorded 557,000 businesses in 'significant distress'. Industries reflecting the largest increase in distressed businesses were food and drug retailers, construction and the real estate & property sectors. Notwithstanding the fact that the Government's support measures have saved thousands of businesses from certain insolvency in the short term, the recently launched reduced version of the furlough scheme and the end to Government guaranteed loans will undoubtedly lead to the demise of many who were financially stretched before the advent of Covid-19. We do not believe that any of the companies in our portfolio fall into this category.

However, until the direction of the Brexit negotiations and the potential success of a Covid-19 vaccine is a little clearer we have chosen to do very little, consolidating our REIT exposure to those with either growth opportunities or higher dividend yields. Accordingly, we have sold our holdings in Picton, Regional REIT and Custodian REIT while adding to our holding in AEW UK REIT and Yougov. Cash comprised 2.6% of the portfolio at month end.

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).



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




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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 03, 2020 04:30 ET (09:30 GMT)