A successful October for BTEM saw its NAV grow by 3.5% with FX only playing a de minimis role. With the portfolio discount essentially unchanged at 25.2%, it was underlying NAV growth that drove returns in aggregate. Key contributors were Symphony International, Aker, Tokyo Broadcasting System, our Japanese Special Situations basket (previously referred to as “Net Cash”), Wendel, Pershing Square Holdings, Toyota Industries, and Tetragon Financial; in a month with few negative performers, Jardine Strategic’s widening discount meant it was our largest detractor (albeit costing only 9bps).
We wrote last month on Symphony’s declaration of a large special dividend that equated to a 12.4% yield on the undisturbed share price. The shares subsequently traded ex-dividend from early-October yet ended the month just 1.2% down despite the very sizable distribution. In addition, largest holding Minor International (57% of NAV) recorded an increase in share price of over 6%. The combination of a substantial return of capital at an effective zero discount, the discount narrowing almost 300bps to 24.8%, and NAV growth driven by Minor resulted in our position adding 61bps to BTEM’s NAV. We attribute Symphony’s narrowing discount to a growing recognition that management are willing to return capital through a combination of buybacks and material dividends.
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’