|Utilico Emerging Mkts Utilities
||ORD 10P (DI)
||EPS - Basic
||Market Cap (m)
|Equity Investment Instruments
Utilico Emerging Mkts Utilities Share Discussion Threads
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|The interim report is out:
|Taken from Lazard, who have reduced.|
|Further buyback, all helps the nav|
|Emerging markets have ‘good chance of massively outperforming’
For those with an FT Premium account:
"Paul Jackson, head of multi-asset research at Source, points to the cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio, known as Cape, which values stocks compared with a 10-year moving average of their earnings.
As of the end of August this ratio was 12.6 in emerging markets, comfortably below its long-run average of 20.2, according to Source, as shown in the chart. Moreover, this Cape reading is lower than in any other region of the world, with Europe ex-UK currently trading on a ratio of 12.9, the UK on 15.4, Japan on 21.4 and the US on 25.7. The global average is 17.8.
While Cape tends to be a relatively long-term indicator, Mr Jackson believes emerging markets should get a more immediate boost from a pick-up in dividend payments."|
|Gave notice to convert at end-August. Gets the dividends, at least.|
The manager’s view: Investment opportunities abound
The manager approaches the market as an owner of assets, without reference to the composition of the MSCI Emerging market index. For example, the portfolio has no exposure to Russia or South Africa, which are sizeable weightings within the index. He highlights two countries where portfolio exposure has been increased: Romania and Mexico.
Romania – the country has a population of 20 million, with GDP per capita of $22,000. It has benefited significantly since the IMF bailout in 2009; there is now more monetary and fiscal prudence at the government level and there is a more conservative approach to investment at the corporate level. Romania is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe; the IMF forecasts GDP growth of 4.2% in 2016 and 3.6% in 2017 vs 2.0% and 2.1% respectively for Europe as a whole. There is strong domestic consumer demand and wages are growing; core inflation is positive and rising. UEM’s investments in the country are primarily in electricity, gas and oil transmission; these are natural monopolies with clear regulation. Historically state-run and inefficient, there is potential for significant cost cutting at these companies. Balance sheets are solid and free cash flow generation strong, with a large percentage returned to shareholders as dividends. Although one-third of the increased exposure during FY16 was a result of share price performance, the manager still believes that valuations of Romanian companies remain attractive.
Mexico – the country has a population of 136 million, with GDP per capita of $10,765. The manager considers the economic background stable, with GDP and inflation running around 2.5%. He highlights airports as attractive investments, with passenger numbers rising by more than 8% pa in recent years. Flight penetration is low and demand is increasing, led in part by the rising middle classes. There is a change in mind-set as passengers increasingly switch from buses to airplanes for domestic travel; in 2006 buses had a 93% market share, which declined to 91% in 2015, with air transportation increasing.
The manager highlights the consistency of the investment strategy; he has no shortage of potential investment ideas; targeting 15% total return pa. He says that the biggest challenge over the last 12 months has been exchange rates such as the Brazilian real, which has been very volatile. From mid-June to late-September 2015 the real fell by more than 35% and between late-January to the end of June 2016 it rallied by more than 20%. The portfolio is not hedged due to the expense involved and the manager sees diversification as the best way to address currency volatility, rather than trying to predict forex movements.|
Valuation: Discount wider than historical averages
UEM’s share price discount to cum-income NAV of 11.3% is wider than the 12-month average of 10.4% (range of 3.9% to 16.3%), and wider than the averages of the last three, five and 10 years of 8.2%, 7.9% and 8.3% respectively. UEM has a history of stable or rising dividends, compounding at an annual rate of 4.24% over the last five years. UEM’s current dividend yield of 3.3% compares favourably to the peer group average of 2.9%.
Current portfolio positioning
The portfolio typically holds c 60-90 names. At the end of May 2016, the top 10 positions accounted for 44.3%; this was a decrease in concentration from 52.8% at the end of May 2015 (see Exhibit 1). Reflecting the long-term nature of investments, nine companies are common to both periods. The new name in the top 10 list is Transgaz, a Romanian gas transmission company in its third regulatory cycle with a regulated rate of return of 7.7% until September 2017. There is a long tail of investments in the portfolio as initial position sizes are often small, either for liquidity reasons or to allow the manager to build confidence in the management of investee companies.
Formerly the largest position in the portfolio, Malaysian IT services company MyEG is now the sixth largest holding, with the manager selling down as the shares are considered to be fully valued. The position in Malaysia Airport Holdings is now the largest single exposure. The manager expects good passenger growth at both its Malaysia-based airports and its now wholly owned investment in Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey.
The fund typically invests/disinvests c £100m per annum. In FY16 £96.1m was invested and £130.5m realised as profits were taken on a number of Chinese H-share positions in the April 2015 market rally, although China remains the largest country exposure. Looking at sector exposure, over the last 12 months the largest increases have been in electricity (3.6pp), gas (2.8pp) and airports (2.3pp), while the largest decreases have been in satellites (3.3pp), other infrastructure (2.9pp) and toll roads (2.1pp).
Dividend policy and record
UEM pays dividends quarterly in September, December, March and June. Despite the focus on capital growth, the board aims for a flat or growing annual dividend; this has been achieved every year since fund inception in 2005. In FY16, the dividend of 6.4p was a 4.9% increase versus the prior year. Over the last five years, dividends have grown at a compound annual rate of 4.24%.
UEM is able to distribute from both income and capital when necessary, which allows a smooth progression of the dividend even though income levels may fluctuate significantly. For the 12 months to 31 March 2016, total income rose by 45.9% to £21.3m. This was a yield on gross assets of 4.8% versus 3.0% in the previous year. Most of the increase was as a result of the special dividend distributed by Asia Satellite Telecom in H116. Higher income, coupled with lower costs, led to a revenue return of £17.5m in FY16 versus £10.6m in FY15, meaning that dividend payments were more than fully covered.
Peer group comparison
Exhibit 9 shows a comparison of UEM with AIC Global Emerging Markets sector trusts that have market caps greater than £50m. Given its focus on specific areas of the market, UEM cannot be compared directly with the peer group; however, its emerging market exposure provides some relevance to the comparison. UEM has outperformed the peer group average over one, three, five and 10 years, ranking second over three and five years and first over 10 years. In terms of risk-adjusted returns as measured by the Sharpe ratio, UEM is in line with the peer group average over one year and higher over three years. Its discount is narrower than average and it has one of the lowest ongoing charges, although a performance fee is payable. UEM’s 3.3% dividend yield ranks it third out of the five peers that pay a dividend.|
|These are taking a bit of a thrashing at the mo. Any specific reason ? Looks like a big buyer notified on Friday ?
Am expecting to top up at some time this year, no rush.|