BlackRock Throgmorton Trust returned 6.4% in August, outperforming benchmark

BlackRock Throgmorton Trust plc (LON:THRG) has provided the following portfolio update.

All information is at 31 August 2020 and unaudited.

To learn more about the BlackRock Throgmorton Trust plc please follow this link:

Performance at month end is calculated on a cum income basis

Net asset value6.410.85.520.573.5
Share price8.612.29.547.5103.9

Sources: BlackRock and Datastream

*With effect from 22 March 2018 the Numis Smaller Companies plus AIM (excluding Investment Companies) Index replaced the Numis Smaller Companies excluding AIM (excluding Investment Companies) Index as the Company’s benchmark. The performance of the indices have been blended to reflect this.

At month end
Net asset value capital only:605.16p
Net asset value incl. income:608.74p
Share price619.00p
Premium to cum income NAV1.7%
Net yield1:1.7%
Total Gross assets2:£510.6m
Net market exposure as a % of net asset value3:118.5%
Ordinary shares in issue4:83,883,462
2019 ongoing charges (excluding performance fees)5,6:0.6%
2019 ongoing charges ratio (including performance

1. Calculated using the 2020 interim dividend declared on 23 July 2020 and paid on 26 August 2020, together with the 2019 final dividend declared on 06 February 2020 and paid on 27 March 2020.

2. Includes current year revenue and excludes gross exposure through contracts for difference.

3. Long exposure less short exposure as a percentage of net asset value.

4. Excluding 0 shares held in treasury.

5. Calculated as a percentage of average net assets and using expenses, excluding performance fees and interest costs for the year ended 30 November 2019.

6. With effect from 1 August 2017 the base management fee was reduced from 0.70% to 0.35% of gross assets per annum.

7. Effective 1st December 2017 the annual performance fee is calculated using performance data on an annualised rolling two year basis (previously, one year) and the maximum annual performance fee payable is effectively reduced to 0.90% of two year rolling average month end gross assets (from 1% of average annual gross assets over one year). Additionally, the Company now accrues this fee at a rate of 15% of outperformance (previously 10%). The maximum annual total management fees (comprising the base management fee of 0.35% and a potential performance fee of 0.90%) are therefore 1.25% of average month end gross assets on a two-year rolling basis (from 1.70% of average annual gross assets).

Sector Weightings% of Total Assets
Consumer Services19.7
Consumer Goods7.9
Health Care6.0
Basic Materials2.5
Oil & Gas0.4
Net current liabilities                                -1.5
Country Weightings% of Total Assets
United Kingdom87.6
United States6.9

Ten Largest Investments

Gross exposure110.6128.2120.7123.4
Net exposure95.8110.4116.6118.6

Ten Largest Investments

Company% of Total Gross Assets
Dechra Pharmaceuticals2.5
Gamma Communications2.5
Avon Rubber2.4
Learning Technologies2.3
Watches of Switzerland2.3
Games Workshop2.3
Quinteq Group2.1

Commenting on the markets, Dan Whitestone, representing the Investment Manager noted:

During the month the Company returned 6.4%1 (net of fees), outperforming our benchmark, the Numis Smaller Companies plus AIM (excluding Investment Companies) Index, which returned 6.3%1. Performance during the month was generated by the long book, while the short book moderately detracted reflecting the strength of the market.

Markets around the world rose during August as expectations for further US fiscal stimulus, improving US/China trade developments and hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine helped drive investor risk appetite. Despite flare-ups of virus cases throughout Europe, and high levels of cases in a number of US states, economic activity across the globe has shown signs of improving. However, the re-imposed lockdowns in various countries, including Spain, Italy and Greece serves as a reminder that the situation remains highly vulnerable to setbacks if cases of the virus are not contained.

The largest contributor to performance was YouGov, the UK online marketing and data analytics business, which rose strongly through the month after a robust trading update on the 31 July 2020. YouGov continues to be encouraged by the market share opportunities that have emerged as a result of COVID-19 as their customers prioritise digital services and capabilities. Watches of Switzerland delivered an impressive update growing revenues in both June and July revealing the strength of their supply-driven business model. Grafton reported strong first half trading with significant upgrades to forward guidance. Profits and cash generation have been better than expected and the improving trading environment led management to guide to profits in the second half of the year to be flat year-on-year, which we think is encouraging.

The biggest detractor was from our long position in Serco, which fell after a cautious outlook statement provided with their interim results prompted analysts to downgrade their earnings forecasts. We have reduced our position size as a precautionary measure. One of our short positions in a UK funeral services business rose sharply (therefore detracting from relative performance) on the news that the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) has decided to postpone the implementation of price controls given the current market conditions. Whilst the issue hasn’t gone away, it does afford this highly indebted company some breathing space. One of our US holdings, Chegg, gave back some of its recent strong share price gains, despite no stock specific negative newsflow, and therefore our investment thesis for the business remains unchanged.

Overall August was another positive month for the Company, and once again the result highlights some very encouraging stock specific updates from our holdings. We continue to see evidence in company updates and speaking with management teams that many differentiated growth companies can continue to deliver updates that far exceed bullish sell and buyside expectations. The level of dispersion of financial performance across many industries and companies that this crisis has created is incredibly exciting, and the Company remains well placed to capitalise on the opportunities that we believe will continue to present themselves. We thank shareholders for their ongoing support.

1Source: BlackRock as at 31 August 2020

21 September 2020

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