Liontrust GF European Smaller Companies Fund

April 2021 review

The Fund’s A5 share class returned 5.4%* in euro terms in April. This Fund’s target benchmark, the MSCI Europe Small Cap Index, returned 3.7%.

 

The drivers of April’s equity market gains were the familiar themes of improving economic outlook due to the robust global vaccine rollout, while governments and central banks maintained accommodative policy. US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank is a long way from its economic goals, indicating that any tightening in monetary conditions is still some distance in the future. In addition, President Joe Biden unveiled plans for fresh stimulus worth US$1.8 trillion for American families, which would be funded by tax hikes on the wealthy.

 

All sectors in the MSCI Europe Index, except for energy (-3.6%), ended April higher in euro terms. The best performers were real estate (+4.9%), IT (+4.6%) and consumer staples (+3.4%).

 

Financials were the biggest source of positive attribution for the Fund, with Bank of Ireland (+15%) and Impax Asset Management (+27%) the main highlights. The latter reported a 19% increase in assets under management (AUM) in the three months to 31 March 2021 – the second quarter of its financial year – as net inflows reached a record £4.0bn. In the first half of its financial year, the sustainable investing specialist has seen AUM rise 49%.

 

Recruiter PageGroup (+17%) said the improvement in trading which began in May 2020 had continued in the first quarter of 2021. While gross profit in January and February were down 13% and 10% respectively versus their strong 2020 comparables, March’s gross profit improved 31% year-on-year and was only 2% lower than the 2019 comparable. On the back of this strong first quarter performance, the company guided full-year operating profit to be £90m-£100m, which would represent a significant improvement from the £17m reported in 2020.

 

IMI (+18%), the specialist engineer, was another holding which was optimistic about its prospects for 2021 after a robust first quarter. The company raised its guidance for full year adjusted earnings-per-share (EPS) to 81p-87p from 75p-82p and expects to deliver a sustainable margin of 18%-20% over time. In the first quarter, group margins improved significantly and revenue rose 7.7% year-on-year and 2.6% compared to the same period in 2019.

 

Danish brewer Royal Unibrew (+16%) reported market-beating results. The company’s off-trade business was a particular area of strength, helping it deliver net revenue of DKr1.61bn and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of DKr229m, which beat analyst estimates by 8.7% and 18% respectively. Going forward, Royal Unibrew expects the easing of restrictions to boost its on-trade business. It has therefore narrowed its full year EBIT guidance to DKr1.53bn-DKr1.63bn from DKr1.48bn-DKr1.63bn.

 

BW Offshore (-4.9%) and Tethys Oil (-4.4%) did not release any material corporate news, but were amongst the poorest performers in April, participating in the energy sector slump.

 

Positive contributors to performance included:

Impax Asset Management (+27%), IMI (+18%) and PageGroup (+17%).

 

Negative contributors to performance included:

4imprint Group (-6.0%), BW Offshore (-4.9%) and Tethys Oil (-4.4%).

 

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

 

Mar-21

Mar-20

Mar-19

Mar-18

Liontrust GF European Smaller Companies A5 Acc EUR

69.9%

-21.8%

-2.6%

1.0%

MSCI Europe Small Cap Index

61.2%

-18.1%

-1.3%

8.3%

 

*Source: Financial Express, as at 30.04.21, total return (net of fees and income reinvested). Non fund-related return data sourced from Bloomberg.

 

**Source: Financial Express, as at 31.03.21, total return (net of fees and income reinvested). Discrete data is not available for five full 12 month periods due to the launch date of the portfolio. Investment decisions should not be based on short-term performance.

 

For a comprehensive list of common financial words and terms, see our glossary here.

 

Key Risks

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. Investment in Funds managed by the Cashflow Solution team involves foreign currencies and may be subject to fluctuations in value due to movements in exchange rates. The Liontrust European Growth Fund holds a concentrated portfolio of stocks, if the price of one of these stocks should move significantly, this may have a notable effect on the value of the respective portfolio. The Liontrust Global Income Fund's expenses are charged to capital. This has the effect of increasing dividends while constraining capital appreciation. 

Disclaimer

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.

Thursday, May 13, 2021, 11:09 AM