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Liontrust GF Special Situations Fund

May 2021 review
Past performance does not predict future returns. You may get back less than you originally invested. Reference to specific securities is not intended as a recommendation to purchase or sell any investment.

The Liontrust GF Special Situations Fund returned 0.6%* in May. The Fund’s comparator benchmark, the FTSE All-Share, returned 1.1%.


Equity markets continued their upward trajectory, as vaccine optimism offset concerns about rising cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus. In the UK, restrictions eased further and there was evidence that economic recovery was underway with April’s consumer spending rising above pre-pandemic levels for the first time. Higher consumer spending was part of the rationale for the Bank of England raising its 2021 economic growth forecast from 5.0%to 7.25%, which would be the highest rate in more than 70 years.


The improving economic backdrop translated into company updates, with better trends being experienced across sectors. For example, industrial thread manufacturer Coats Group (+13%) saw first quarter organic sales rise 26% year-on-year to a level which was 1% higher than 2019. Both segments of the business – Apparel & Footwear and Performance Materials – saw improving momentum with organic sales up 30% and 14% respectively. In light of this upturn, Coats anticipates that performance for 2021 will now be ahead of its prior expectations.


Another holding upgrading its expectations is Future (+20%). The magazine publisher reported on a robust performance during the six months to 31 March 2021, which included revenue rising 89% year-on-year and pre-tax profit more than doubling. The company’s Media division was a particular highlight with organic growth of 30%, while online user growth for the entire group was 31%. Full year results are now on track to be materially ahead of market expectations.


Impax Asset Management (+11%) had a stellar interim period with assets under management doubling year-on-year to £30bn at the end of March 2021, which fed through to strong increases in revenue and profit. The sustainable asset manager continued to benefit from the ongoing popularity of ESG investment strategies. Its thematic Environmental Markets equity strategies were a particular highlight and were responsible for 65% of inflows. The company doubled its interim dividend on the back of this strong performance.


John Wood Group’s (-13%) share price performance reflected a muted AGM statement in which it said 2021 had started slower than expected due to lower activity in its Projects and Operations divisions. Despite this, the energy services company’s order book grew 9% quarter-on-quarter in Q1 and margins remained relatively stable.


Quality assurance, inspection, product testing and certification company Intertek Group (-10%) also commented on a slow start to 2021 with revenue in the first four months declining 3%. However, trends improved during March and April where like-for-like revenue rose 9.3%, led by its Products and Trade divisions. Intertek said it was on track to deliver its full year targets of good like-for-like revenue growth, year-on-year margin expansion and strong free cash flow generation.


TP ICAP (-10%) benefited from the early pandemic market uncertainty as elevated trading volumes boosted the interdealer broker’s revenue in the first quarter of 2020. However against these strong comparables, revenue dropped 9% in Q1 2021 but was still 6% ahead of 2019’s figure when trading levels were more normal. The group maintained its full-year guidance for single-digit revenue growth.


Positive contributors included:

Future (+20%), dotdigital Group (+18%), Coats Group (+13%), Clipper Logistics (+11%) and Impax Asset Management (+11%).


Negative contributors included:

Craneware (-15%), John Wood Group (-13%), Renishaw (-12%), Intertek Group (-10%) and TP ICAP (-10%).


Discrete years' performance** (%), to previous quarter-end:






Liontrust GF Special Situations C3 Inst Acc GBP






FTSE All Share







*Source: Financial Express, as at 31.05.2021, total return (net of fees and income reinvested), sterling terms, C3 institutional class. Non fund-related return data sourced from Bloomberg.


**Source: Financial Express, as at 31.03.2021, total return (net of fees and income reinvested), primary class.

Understand common financial words and terms See our glossary

Past performance is not a guide to future performance. Do remember that the value of an investment and the income generated from them can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed, therefore, you may not get back the amount originally invested and potentially risk total loss of capital. Some of the Funds managed by the Economic Advantage team invest primarily in smaller companies and companies traded on the Alternative Investment Market.  These stocks may be less liquid and the price swings greater than those in, for example, larger companies. The performance of the GF UK Growth Fund may differ from the performance of the UK Growth Fund and will be lower than its corresponding Master Fund due to additional fees and expenses.


The information and opinions provided should not be construed as advice for investment in any product or security mentioned, an offer to buy or sell units/shares of Funds mentioned, or a solicitation to purchase securities in any company or investment product. Always research your own investments and (if you are not a professional or a financial adviser) consult suitability with a regulated financial adviser before investing.

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