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BTEM’s NAV increased by a further 3.1% in February on the back of strength in several key holdings.

Last month’s largest detractor was this month’s joint star performer as Hudson’s Bay (HBC) recovered from its lows, increasing 23% over February as the market responded to speculation that HBC is poised to make a bid for its much larger rival Macy’s which, like HBC, owns valuable freehold real estate. Whether HBC can pull off a deal for Macy’s remains to be seen, but the news has certainly served to highlight the value in the real estate of both retailers. HBC is much further on the journey to monetising its property holdings, having already spun off a sizable portion of them into private JVs.  We continue to believe the ultimate end-game of Richard Baker, HBC’s Chairman and largest shareholder, involves a full separation of the retail and property assets with a listing for the latter highlighting their true value. HBC contributed 71bps to BTEM’s NAV over the month, justifying our decision to add to the position after it had fallen dramatically during the previous month.