Europe continues to be a successful theme for us as a number of our holding companies benefit from stronger than market NAV performance and discount contraction.
Sofina was the largest contributor to performance with its shares rising by 5% over the month. Thus far in 2015 its discount has narrowed from 37% to 32% and remains wide in absolute terms and relative to its peer group. We do not believe that such a wide discount is justified for a group that has consistently delivered market beating NAV performance. Shares in Paris Orléans jumped by 15% over the month as the company announced that stronger than expected results and also that it would be renaming itself Rothschild & Co. Aker, the Norwegian oil services holding company has also had a bounce in recent weeks, helped by a stronger oil price. Three recent acquisitions in the mining sector were also strong contributors over the month. Detour Gold shares rose 27.5%, Blackrock World Mining increased by 7.5%, and Teck Resources went up by 5%.
On the negative side Jardine Matheson was the largest detractor from performance over the month. A 2% decline in share price was magnified by a widening in the discount from 24% to 27% and this was further compounded by US dollar weakness against the Pound. Other dollar priced holdings such as Harbourvest, NB Private Equity and Symphony International detracted from performance – more from Dollar weakness than share price declines.
During the month, the discount on the portfolio widened to 24.8% and cash levels remain relatively low at 3.2%.
British Empire Securities and General Trust p.l.c is referred to as ‘British Empire’ throughout the website. British Empire’s investment managers, Asset Value Investors are referred to as ‘AVI’