The first month of the new year saw BTEM’s NAV increase by 1.6%. Markets started the year on a positive foot, and events at our top holdings as well as Sterling weakness against all major currencies (excepting the US dollar) acted as tailwinds for BTEM.
Symphony was our largest contributor over January, adding 60bps to NAV. We have written in the past about our constructive engagement with the manager and board of this Asian consumer-focussed closed-end fund, and the announcement mid-month of a buyback programme of at least 10% of the company’s shares over the next year marks further success in this regard. This new buyback is in addition to the existing distribution policy that last year saw a pay-out equivalent to a yield of 9% on the share price at the time. Symphony’s discount to fully-diluted NAV narrowed from 28% to 20% over the month in addition to positive NAV growth of 3%.