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Liontrust GF European Strategic Equity Fund

April 2024 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 Fund’s A4 share class returned -2.5%* in euro terms in April. The Fund’s comparator benchmarks, the MSCI Europe Index and HFRX Equity Hedge EUR Index, both returned -0.9%.

Shares in Europe fell in April as the prospect of interest cuts in the US weakened following higher-than-expected inflation readings. While cuts in the US appear to have been pushed back, economic data in the Eurozone was more encouraging and suggested that the ECB may continue on its plans to cut rates in June. In terms of sector performance, energy (+6.4%) and healthcare (+1.1%) led the way, while information technology (-5.5%), consumer discretionary (-4.6%) and industrials (-1.5%) were a drag on the MSCI Europe Index (in euro terms).

The Fund’s long book underperformed versus the benchmark in a tough month for European equities and was a drag on performance which the short book – averaging around 37% of NAV for the month – was only able to offset to a small degree.

Dutch payments firm Adyen (-28%) was the biggest detractor in the long book after it missed revenue estimates for Q1. Adyen reported net revenue of €438 million, marking a 21% increase from the previous year and below average expectations. Looking forward, Adyen expects annual revenue growth to persist at a rate between the low and high twenties percentage range through to 2026.

Tenaris (-15%), the manufacturer and supplier of seamless steel pipe products, was also among the poor performers. The company’s share price first took a hit mid-month following a ratings downgrade, and then fell further towards the end of the month after announcing a poorly-received earnings update. Tenaris revealed a 17% year-on-year decrease in sales to$1.4 billion. Despite this decline, the company also reported an increase in EBITDA for the period, reaching $987 million.

There was better news from Finnish marine and energy company Wartsila (+23%), which performed strongly on the release of robust Q1 results. Net sales fell 10% to €1.3 billion, primarily due to the lumpy nature of equipment sales, some of which are now expected to feed through in the second half of the year. However, services sales grew by 13%, order intake increased by 11% to €1.9 billion, and the company commented that it expects to see an improvement in the demand environment over the next 12 months.

Online gambling company Betsson (+14%) was also among the Fund’s top performers after reporting encouraging Q1 results. The company commented that, “the first quarter of 2024 was characterised by a continued positive development with high customer activity, good growth and strengthened profitability”. This was reflected in revenue for the period was increasing 12% to €248 million, while operating income was up 35% to €58 million.

Within the Fund’s short book, a position in spaceflight company was a positive contributor, with its share price slide prompting it to consider a stock consolidation in order to boost its share price back above the minimum level required by its stock exchange. In addition, a boat dealer was also among the profitable short positions after it cut its 2024 adjusted EPS target.

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

 

Mar-24

Mar-23

Mar-22

Mar-21

Mar-20

Liontrust GF European Strategic Equity A4 Acc EUR

15.4%

7.6%

28.9%

28.2%

-13.9%

MSCI Europe

14.8%

3.8%

9.3%

35.3%

-13.5%

HFRX Equity Hedge EUR

7.7%

-4.6%

7.9%

22.3%

-11.3%

 

 

Mar-19

Mar-18

Mar-17

Mar-16

Liontrust GF European Strategic Equity A4 Acc EUR

4.2%

0.3%

10.7%

-1.1%

MSCI Europe

5.5%

-0.4%

16.9%

-13.7%

HFRX Equity Hedge EUR

-7.8%

5.8%

4.0%

-8.2%

*Source: Financial Express, as at 31.03.24, total return (income reinvested and net of fees).

**Source: Financial Express, as at 31.03.24, total return (income reinvested and net of fees). Discrete data is not available for ten full 12-month periods due to the launch date of the portfolio (25.04.14). Investment decisions should not be based on short-term performance.

Key Features of the Liontrust GF European Strategic Equity Fund 

The investment objective of the Fund is to achieve a positive absolute return over the long term for investors through a portfolio of long, synthetic long and synthetic short investments primarily in European equities and equity related derivatives. The Fund may invest anywhere in the world but will primarily invest in European companies either directly or via derivatives. The Fund may use financial derivative instruments for investment purposes and for efficient portfolio management (including hedging). The Fund will take both long and short positions in derivatives meaning the gross exposure of the Fund will typically be greater than 100% of the net asset value of the Fund. The Investment Adviser will alter the ratio of long and short exposures in the Fund depending on the Investment Adviser’s confidence in the investment process’ ability to generate returns from the short positions. Where sufficient short opportunities can be found, the Fund will have an approximately equal weighting in long and short positions. At other times, the Fund will have a net long position i.e. more long positions than short positions held in the Fund. Where investments are held in a currency other than the base currency, the exposure to currency risk may be minimised by hedging. The Fund expects to provide a positive absolute return under all market conditions over the medium to long term. However, there is no guarantee this will be achieved over this or any other time period. Income from the Fund's investments is reinvested. The Fund has both Hedged and Unhedged share classes available. The Hedged share classes use forward foreign exchange contracts to protect returns in the base currency of the Fund.
4 (Please refer to the Fund KIID for further detail on how this is calculated)

Active
The Fund is considered to be actively managed in reference to MSCI Europe Index and the HFRX Equity Hedge (EUR) Index (the “Benchmarks”) by virtue of the fact that it uses the Benchmarks for performance comparison purposes. The Benchmarks are not used to define the portfolio composition of the Fund and the Fund may be wholly invested in securities which are not constituents of the Benchmarks.
Understand common financial words and terms See our glossary
KEY RISKS

Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income generated from it can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. You may get back less than you originally invested.

The issue of units/shares in Liontrust Funds may be subject to an initial charge, which will have an impact on the realisable value of the investment, particularly in the short term. Investments should always be considered as long term.

Overseas investments may carry a higher currency risk. They are valued by reference to their local currency which may move up or down when compared to the currency of the Fund. The Fund may, under certain circumstances, invest in derivatives, but it is not intended that their use will materially affect volatility. Derivatives are used to protect against currencies, credit and interest rate moves or for investment purposes. There is a risk that losses could be made on derivative positions or that the counterparties could fail to complete on transactions. The use of derivatives may create leverage or gearing resulting in potentially greater volatility or fluctuations in the net asset value of the Fund. A relatively small movement in the value of a derivative's underlying investment may have a larger impact, positive or negative, on the value of a fund than if the underlying investment was held instead. The use of derivative contracts may help us to control Fund volatility in both up and down markets by hedging against the general market. The Fund may encounter liquidity constraints from time to time. The spread between the price you buy and sell shares will reflect the less liquid nature of the underlying holdings. The Fund uses derivative instruments that may result in higher cash levels. Outside of normal conditions, the Fund may choose to hold higher levels of cash. Cash may be deposited with several credit counterparties (e.g. international banks) or in short dated bonds. A credit risk arises should one or more of these counterparties be unable to return the deposited cash. There is no guarantee that a positive absolute return will be generated over any time period.

DISCLAIMER

This is a marketing communication. Before making an investment, you should read the relevant Prospectus and the Key Investor Information Document (KIID), which provide full product details including investment charges and risks. These documents can be obtained, free of charge, from www.liontrust.co.uk or direct from Liontrust. Always research your own investments. If you are not a professional investor please consult a regulated financial adviser regarding the suitability of such an investment for you and your personal circumstances.

This 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. Examples of stocks are provided for general information only to demonstrate our investment philosophy. The investment being promoted is for units in a fund, not directly in the underlying assets. It contains information and analysis that is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, but is subject to change without notice. Whilst care has been taken in compiling the content of this document, no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made by Liontrust as to its accuracy or completeness, including for external sources (which may have been used) which have not been verified.

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