Liontrust UK Growth Fund

May 2021 review

The Liontrust UK Growth Fund returned 1.3%* in May. The FTSE All-Share Index comparator benchmark returned 1.1% and the average return in the IA UK All Companies sector, also a comparator benchmark, was 1.6%.

 

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.

 

Spirax-Sarco Engineering (+7.5%) noted improving industrial production growth as the global recovery from the pandemic accelerates faster than previously expected. The FTSE 100-listed engineer anticipates organic sales growth to be ahead of industrial production growth forecasts, which would feed through to a 35% increase in full-year operating profit, ahead of previous guidance.

 

Gamma Communication Group (+9.7%) said based on first quarter trading it expects full year revenue and earnings are likely to be at the top end of market forecasts. In a short statement, the business telecommunications provider said it has seen continued growth in the first quarter of 2021 as it successfully launched new products.

 

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%), Coats Group (+13%), Gamma Communications (+9.7%), Spirax-Sarco Engineering (+7.5%) and PageGroup (+6.9%).

 

Negative contributors included:

John Wood Group (-13%), Renishaw (-12%), Intertek Group (-10%), TP ICAP (-10%) and RWS Holdings (-7.0%).

 

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

 

Mar-21

Mar-20

Mar-19

Mar-18

Mar-17

Liontrust UK Growth I Inc

22.6%

-14.0%

7.2%

2.6%

23.2%

FTSE All Share

26.7%

-18.5%

6.4%

1.2%

22.0%

IA UK All Companies

38.0%

-19.2%

2.9%

2.7%

17.9%

Quartile

4

1

1

2

1

 

*Source: Financial Express, as at 31.05.21, total return (net of fees and income reinvested), bid-to-bid, institutional class. Non fund-related return data sourced from Bloomberg.

 

**Source: Financial Express, as at 31.03.21, total return (net of fees and income reinvested), bid-to-bid, primary class.

 

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. 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.

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.

Friday, June 18, 2021, 1:48 PM