Woodford's trust disappoints, but analysts still rate it a 'hold'

Added 21st April 2017

Investors face a long wait before seeing double-digit returns in Woodford’s Patient Capital Trust according to analysts after the company revealed a disappointing performance in 2016.

Woodford's trust disappoints, but analysts still rate it a 'hold'

Net asset value per share in the trust, launched two years ago, fell 4.2% last year, down from 97.37p to 93.24p as it struggled against volatile markets, far from the double-digit returns star-manager Woodford has hoped to provide.

The annual results reveal the share price also fell 9.9%, a significant swing from the 1% increase witnessed in 2015.

Also included in the annual results were several changes to the trust’s investment objective and policy to give Woodford a free hand to make the most of new opportunities in future.

The current 60% limit on the proportion of unquoted companies in the portfolio is proposed to rise to 80%, and a 30% restriction on the number of non-UK companies is also proposed to be removed.

Woodford, who aims to deliver 10% annual returns over the long-term, said it was “only a matter of time” before results began to filter through to the NAV and share prices.

In his annual review Woodford said the operational progress of the “majority” of the portfolio had been encouraging so far.

“I understand that some investors may be disappointed at the net asset value progress thus far and, although I would have preferred to have been writing this review having delivered a positive return, it must be remembered that the investment strategy was never designed to deliver significant short-term wins,” he added.

The need to take a long-term view was echoed by analysts examining the results published on Friday.

Charles Cade, an investment companies researcher at Numis, said the portfolio’s high exposure to healthcare and fintech left it well-placed to deliver 10% returns despite its “disappointing start”.

Cade said: “Neil Woodford believes the underlying companies are performing well, but obviously, the nature is a lot of them are unlisted companies, it will take time for that to come through, though it’s very hard to know the timing of that as clearly this is a high-risk portfolio.

“Essentially, he is very positive still and I think that’s important and I think investors are likely to still support him."

However, Cade warned further bad news could see investors lose confidence.

 

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