Williams's investment trust increases dividend

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Williams's investment trust increases dividend

The £393m Diverse Income Trust, run by Gervais Williams, has announced a 7 per cent increase in its dividend, and a special dividend for the year to 31 May.

In total return terms, the trust underperformed the AIC UK Equity Income sector in the same time period, returning 17.5 per cent compared with 23 per cent for the sector in the same time period.

The final dividend for the year is 3p, compared with 2.8p for the previous year.

There is a special dividend of 0.4p per share as a result, according to the trust, created by several of the underlying investments themselves paying special dividends over the past year.

In his commentary to accompany the half-year report Mr Williams said the strong performance of some of the large  cap investments in the trust was key to performance.

Mr Williams primary reputation is as an investor in UK smaller companies.

He said that as the Diverse Income Trust is run for income it doesn’t naturally hold some of faster growing small caps.

But he said the trust did benefit from owning several small and mid-cap stocks.

Mr Williams said: “Nevertheless, there were some strong performers in the fund, with IG Design up 104.1 per cent and Burford Capital appreciating by 178.3 per cent over the twelve months to May 2017. A major rise in the dividends from Stobart Group also drove their share price as well, with it appreciating 116.8 per cent over the period.”

Stobart Group has become a 3 per cent holding in the fund, a level larger than Mr Williams said he would typically hold, but he added the dividend has grown at such a pace that he felt continuing to own such a large position in the stock is justified.

There are 140 individual investments in the trust.

Over the past five years the trust has returned 130 per cent, compared with 77 per cent for the sector average.

The trust trades at a premium to net assets of 0.5 per cent.