InvestmentsAug 25 2017

F&C Private Equity trust switches dividend payouts

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 F&C Private Equity trust switches dividend payouts
ByDavid Thorpe

The £238m F&C Private Equity trust has announced it will move away from paying dividends twice a year and instead make quarterly payments to investors.

The dividend will be paid from capital gains.

The current yield on the trust is 3.9 per cent.

The minimum quarterly dividend will be 3.46p - being 50 per cent of the highest semi-annual dividend previously paid.

In order to be able to pay dividends every three months all quarterly dividends will be paid as interim dividends.

The quarterly dividends will be payable in respect of the quarters ended 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December and are expected to be paid in the following July, October, January and April respectively.

The first quarterly dividend will be in respect of the three months ending 30 September 2017 and is expected to be paid in January 2018.

The F&C Private Equity investment trust is scouring the US and European markets for returns after comfortably outperforming its peer group in the first six months of 2017.

The trust returned 18.7 per cent in the six months to 30 June, compared with 13.5 per cent for the average trust in the AIC private equity sector in the same time period.

The trust invests in a mixture of other private equity funds, and individual private equity invests in private companies.

Hamish Mair, the portfolio manager of the trust, said there is abundant liquidity in the market as a consequence of low interest rates and compressed bond yields. He said this has caused valuations to become elevated at the top end of the market, but his focus is on the mid cap market.   

The trust has 44 per cent of the capital deployed in European assets, 37 per cent in the UK, and 16 per cent in the UK.

Mr Mair said the recent investments he has made have been focused on Europe and the US.

The fund manager said: “In many of the European countries the private equity market is remarkably deep as the adoption of private equity for financing the growth of smaller and medium sized companies increases and accordingly the new deals entering our portfolio appear to be at historically reasonable prices, as are our new co-investments.

"Notwithstanding some unpredicted events in the political arena in the developed markets, confidence levels amongst investors and business people remain high.”

The trust trades at a discount to net assets of 8.7 per cent.