Share Name Share Symbol Market Type Share ISIN Share Description
British Empire Trust Plc LSE:BTEM London Ordinary Share GB0001335081 ORD 10P
  Price Change % Change Share Price Shares Traded Last Trade
  0.00 0.0% 733.00 0.00 00:00:00
Bid Price Offer Price High Price Low Price Open Price
731.00 733.00
Industry Sector Turnover (m) Profit (m) EPS - Basic PE Ratio Market Cap (m)
Equity Investment Instruments 26.21 21.83 19.08 38.4 821
Last Trade Time Trade Type Trade Size Trade Price Currency
- O 0 733.00 GBX

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Posted at 07/2/2023 08:20 by British Empire Daily Update
British Empire Trust Plc is listed in the Equity Investment Instruments sector of the London Stock Exchange with ticker BTEM. The last closing price for British Empire was 733p.
British Empire Trust Plc has a 4 week average price of 0p and a 12 week average price of 0p.
The 1 year high share price is 0p while the 1 year low share price is currently 0p.
There are currently 112,049,552 shares in issue and the average daily traded volume is 0 shares. The market capitalisation of British Empire Trust Plc is £821,323,216.16.
Posted at 26/5/2019 22:22 by vacendak
At least with FCIT (formerly FRCL) they called for a vote, it was rigged in a way, but there was a vote.

About ten years ago or so Foreign & Colonial had a resolution to change the name, it got defeated. More recently, they had an obscure one giving the right to the board of directors to alter the name without saying they would change it. This was enough wool put over the eyes of those who did not care. This one passed of course.

Now BTEM... well, that does not leave many historical names with more than a hundred years under their belt. Witan is one, unless this means something un-PC in some language unknown to me :(

The fact that BTEM had nothing to do with Britain or what is left of its Empire (invested mostly in europe and hardly anything in the UK) was all the more amusing. Sad indeed.

Posted at 09/5/2019 13:55 by davebowler


British Empire Trust (BTEM) has a very long history as a specialist “value” investment vehicle. Over the course of its history, the managers have always aimed to exploit their niche expertise in identifying listed companies which are trading at well below the manager’s estimate of intrinsic value.

Since Joe Bauernfreund took sole responsibility for the portfolio in October 2015, he has significantly concentrated the portfolio, and tried to focus more on ideas which have an identifiable catalyst for a re-rating. Increasingly, the managers look to take a “behind the scenes” activist approach which may help unlock value, or bring forward the catalyst. As we discuss in the performance section, this change has made a tangible improvement to performance.

BTEM’s portfolio of companies offers diversification on a number of levels. First, the underlying holdings of each stock are often highly diversified, meaning that the portfolio is arguably not as concentrated as it looks. Currently, the top ten investments make up 66% of the portfolio, but given these are mainly funds or holding companies with varied portfolios of their own, the top ten underlying holdings represent 20.6%, a level of concentration similar to many traditional equity funds.

In general, the idiosyncratic nature of the strategy means that its fortunes can diverge significantly from global markets, and in fact pigeon-holing the trust is sometimes difficult. Importantly, the trust has very different return drivers from many of its peers.

Following the sell-off in Q4 2018, the weighted average underlying discount of the portfolio is approaching historically wide levels. Clearly part of this is influenced by the portfolio make-up, but it also represents the availability of interesting opportunities the team are finding which have attractive discounts.

Since Joe took over sole responsibility for the trust, performance has measurably improved. After a very strong 2016, the trust has essentially kept up with its benchmark, but is currently lagging global peers over 12 months. On the other hand, it has been considerably less volatile than them, lagging in strong periods for the sector, but falling less far in more difficult periods.

The discount remains wide both in absolute terms, but also relative to other investment trusts. It has certainly narrowed since Joe took sole responsibility for the trust in October 2015, and the performance started to improve. However, the difference between the trust’s discount (9.1%) and the sector average remains wide, with global trusts now trading close to par. This could revert if the world suffers a “growth wobble”, or US interest rates start to rise once again.

William Heathcoat Amory

Posted at 27/3/2019 08:53 by davebowler
OUr man Joe Bauernfreund on 15% of our portfolio-


Joe Bauernfreund is chief executive of Asset Value Investors which last year raised £80 million for the AVI Japan Opportunities (AJOT) investment trust. In this video interview Bauernfreund explains how through the management of global British Empire (BTEM) investment trust, his team spotted a huge investment opportunity in Japanese smaller companies.

Bauernfreund describes how the trust is helping to challenge Japan’s cosy corporate culture that has enabled otherwise good businesses sit on large piles of cash and ignore their shareholders. Reforms by Japan’s prime minister Abe have begun to turn the tide with a growing number companies realising they need to take steps to improve shareholder returns and their share price.

The onus is on communication rather than confrontation, says Bauernfreund. ‘We’re trying to develop a relationship of trust with them, and understanding and try to get them to understand we’re not the greedy foreigners who are trying to destroy Japanese culture.’

Can’t watch now? Read the transcript.
Gavin Lumsden: Hello, with me today is Joe Bauernfreund, chief executive of Asset Value Investors, who is probably best known as the manager of British Empire investment trust but in recent months has also been running the AVI Japan Opportunity Trust or AJOT for short to use its share price ticker. Joe, very good to see you, thanks for coming in. Now AJOT raised £80 million in October. It was one of the more interesting investment trust launches last year, can you remind us what it is you’re seeking to do?

Joe Bauernfreund: Well thank you very much for seeing me today. The idea behind AJOT is to capitalise on opportunities amongst Japanese small-cap companies and specifically amongst companies that have accumulated huge amounts of cash on their balance sheets over a good number of years. And effectively we’re able to buy into good quality operating businesses at very attractive valuations.

GL: Right, so Japan is often cited amongst major global stock markets as being one of the cheapest and in that market you’re going for some of the smallest and cheapest companies you can find?

JB: That’s right. It’s undoubtedly cheap and it has been cheap for a number of years. The question is, is there a catalyst that can reverse that undervaluation? We believe that the corporate governance code and the stewardship code that were introduced four or five years ago in Japan are the catalyst for change in Japan.

GL: Because Japanese companies were traditionally viewed, certainly by Western companies, Western investors, as being shareholder unfriendly, but this is changing?

JB: Absolutely right. Historically Japanese companies were run for the benefit of employees, pensioners, customers and the broad Japanese society. But finally, because of ‘Abenomics’, companies are being encouraged to focus on shareholders, on share price, on share returns, on balance sheet efficiency. All that idle cash on the balance sheet or cross-shareholdings that exist in Japan, companies are now being asked to address that by boosting returns on equity.

GL: Now I can understand the problem of having too much cash, but what’s the problem with cross-shareholdings that you mentioned? Is that because they’re investing in things that have got nothing to do with their main business?

JB: Well it’s more to do with the fact that in Japan a culture has evolved whereby if two companies are doing business together they’ll own shares in each other as a way of demonstrating support for each other’s business. And as you expand that, the problem arises that this cosy relationship prevents outside shareholders from having a say in the governance of the companies.

GL: So you want to go in there and shake it up and with all this cash that’s sitting on their balance sheets, what, you basically want them to return it to shareholders like yourself?

JB: Well it would be great if they start returning all that cash to shareholders.

GL: Through dividends?

JB: Through dividends. Through share buybacks, buying their own shares on very low valuations. Or by finding attractive opportunities for them to invest that cash. So it’s trying to reverse this psyche that’s developed in Japan that you keep a big pile of cash for a rainy day and you don’t actually do anything productive with it.

GL: So it’s all quite civilised. You’re not going in to wage war against them? You’re communicating with them.

JB: Absolutely, we’re communicating with them, we’re trying to develop a relationship of trust with them, and understanding and try to get them to understand we’re not the greedy foreigners who are trying to destroy Japanese culture. We want good things to happen that will benefit them, their employees, Japan at large as well as ourselves.

GL: And are you the catalyst for this change? What sort of stakes have you got in these companies? They’re small companies but you’re not a big player in Japan are you?

JB: We own relatively small stakes, low single digit stakes. But the interesting thing about Japan is that once you own 1% of a company that entitles you to submit shareholder proposals to the agm [annual general meeting]. So you can make quite a lot of noise with a relatively small shareholding. And we’ve been meeting companies, we’ve been writing letters to them, we’ve been telling them what they should do and now the regulatory bodies are telling them what to do and now other domestic institutional investors are telling them the same thing. So collectively the message is beginning to permeate.

GL: And now, as I said some of these companies are beginning to move in the right direction? Are you particularly pleased about Tokyo Broadcasting? Because before you launched AJOT you were waging a campaign against them in Japan through British Empire trust. And they resisted your overtures and actually defeated your proposal but they’ve swung around and they’re also increasing their dividend?

JB: Well that’s right. We’ve continued to engage with the board of TBS. You’re absolutely right, we submitted shareholder proposals at last year’s agm and we wanted them to reduce their strategic shareholder portfolio and use that money to boost shareholder returns. So it was pleasing a few weeks ago to see that they’ve started to sell down some of the holdings within that strategic shareholding portfolio. They’ve made a very small increase in their dividend. None of this is enough but it’s all a step in the right direction.

GL: What sort of returns could you anticipate? You’ve got 29-30 companies in the portfolio. If they start really meaningfully returning some of the cash they've got what could that generate for investors?

JB: Well the interesting thing is that the implied valuations of these sometimes really good quality operating businesses is very low single digit multiples. So therefore a company could go up in price by 50% or a 100% and would still not look particularly expensive.

GL: Wow, so they are really, really cheap. What’s the most interesting company in AJOT that isn’t in British Empire?

JB: Tokyo Radiator manufactures catalytic converters for cars. It’s got almost 100% of its market cap [capitalisation] in cash, 80% of its market cap in cash, and the largest shareholder in there is Calsonic Kansei who owns 40% of the company and that company in turn is controlled by KKR. And that’s another interesting angle we’re seeing in Japan, which is the presence of the big, global private equity players who have all raised funds in order to capitalise on some of the cheap opportunities.

GL: Sounds like a value investor’s dream. Talking of big investors, one of your investors is City of London Investment Management or Investment Group. Not everybody will know about them but they’re a leading investor in investment trusts. They like to buy things on a discount so they’re a value investor like you. Quite unusually it appears they have invested in you at launch.

JB: Well I think they just, they know us, they saw the value opportunity within this universe and the fact that AJOT is doing something very different to other trusts out there.

GL: And are you pleased with progress so far? Very early days but your shares are a premium to the underlying net asset value of about 6-7%.

JB: Well we’re very pleased that the thesis is playing out as we suggested it might. So companies are adopting these corporate governance improvements. Our companies are continuing to perform well, which we’re pleased about, and as you say the shares are at a premium.

GL: And if they continue to trade at that premium, will you come back and issue some more shares, raise some more money?

JB: Yeh we hope so.

GL: Well Joe, thanks very much for telling us about it, it certainly sounds a very interesting opportunity and we’ll look forward to hearing more about it in the future.

JB: Thank you.

Posted at 06/3/2019 08:22 by davebowler
Net Asset Value per Ordinary share (inclusive of accumulated
income) of British Empire Trust plc, an investment trust managed by Asset Value Investors
Limited, at the close of business on 04th March 2019 was as follows:

Net Asset Value -- Debt at par value: 801.74 pence
Net Asset Value -- Debt at market value: 792.69 pence

Posted at 20/2/2019 21:05 by riverman77
I have to say, there's some really interesting positions in BTEM and performance a lot better under the new(ish) manager - still on a wider discount v other funds in the global sector, but I think only a matter of time before it rerates, especially if value investing comes back into fashion.
Posted at 18/2/2019 09:21 by davebowler
The 129-year-old British Empire (BTEM) may sound like an imperial throwback but is in fact an increasingly canny and determined investor in investment companies and holding companies trading at big discounts to their underlying value. On a 9% discount to NAV its own shares offer value and a distinct investment approach.

Posted at 06/2/2019 13:02 by davebowler
Net Asset Value per Ordinary share (inclusive of accumulated
income) of British Empire Trust plc, an investment trust managed by Asset Value Investors
Limited, at the close of business on 05th February 2019 was as follows:

Net Asset Value -- Debt at par value: 790.16 pence
Net Asset Value -- Debt at market value: 780.27 pence

Posted at 22/1/2019 13:18 by davebowler
Net Asset Value per Ordinary share (inclusive of accumulated
income) of British Empire Trust plc, an investment trust managed by Asset Value Investors
Limited, at the close of business on 18th January 2019 was as follows:

Net Asset Value -- Debt at par value: 777.39 pence
Net Asset Value -- Debt at market value: 768.79 pence

Posted at 19/6/2018 22:24 by cordwainer
another Citywire extract;

British Empire: Pershing’s 23% discount ‘unsustainable
By Michelle McGagh 19 Jun, 2018 at 14:32

The wide discount on Pershing Square Holdings (PSH) is ‘unsustainable’ and puts star hedge fund manager Bill Ackman under pressure, says British Empire (BTEM).

Pershing is the third largest holding in the £850 million British Empire trust, managed by Joe Bauernfreund, which specialises in buying undervalued investment companies and family-run conglomerates.

London-listed Pershing offers access to Ackman's hedge fund and makes up 5.9% of British Empire but has suffered poor performance forcing the US activist investor to restructure and focus more of this time on investing.

This has started to benefit British Empire, with Pershing's net asset value rising 10% last month, thanks to strong results from Automatic Data Processing, Restaurant Brands International and a new holding in DIY store operator Lowe’s Corp.

British Empire steered cleer of Pershing's $300 million share tender which saw some investors sell their stakes on a wide 20.5% discount to NAV, which suggested to Bauernfreund that some long-standing investors had capitulated.

‘We did not participate in the tender and thus benefited in full from the +2% per share accretion generated for continuing shareholders,’ said the manager.

Bauernfreund added to his position in Pershing when its shares swung out to a discount of 25% after the tender offer completed. He said we ‘continue to see the current 23% level as unsustainable for a portfolio of large-cap, liquid, listed securities’.

The British Empire manager welcomed the decision of Ackman (pictured) to purchase $160 million PSH shares but said ‘the managers will find themselves under increasing pressure if this discount level persists’.

Bauernfreund noted credit rating agency Fitch turned negative on Pershing but said the level of gearing, or borrowing, Fitch believes would trigger a downgrade ‘does leave some headroom for further share repurchases and/or tender offers’.

‘In any event, there exists scope for more innovative solutions to the wide discount than simply buybacks and tenders,’ he said.

Oakley Capital Investments (OCI) - a £379 million private equity investment trust - also provided an uplift for British Empire in May.

Its shares rose 6% in the month and have gained 13% since Bauernfreund first invested in April, boosted by the sale of Italy’s leading price comparison site Facile to Swedish private equity house EQT.

Bauernfreund said Oakley’s presentation to investors in the City the day before the sale was announced, confirmed the trust’s ‘differentiated approach...and willingness to embrace complex acquisitions’.

‘In an increasingly competitive and highly-priced private equity market, these features should allow Oakley to continue to unearth compelling acquisition opportunities at below-market multiples,’ he said.

British Empire’s net asset value increased 1.8% in May, despite the discount widening 1.01% to 29.3%.

The trust’s largest detractor in May was in French-listed Wendel that holds positions in a number of companies such as South African insurer Sanlam. The shares continued their de-rating, which began in March, on the back of currency risks.

Bauernfreund said the share price reaction was ‘unwarranted’ and it now trades on a 35% discount.

‘We believe the market may need to see a significant realisation from their private equity portfolio to restore - somewhat unfairly-lost - faith in management,’ he said.

At yesterday's close of 755p, British Empire's shares stood 9% below NAV, a narrower discount than the 10% average of the past year. Over five years its NAV including dividends has grown 64.9% while shareholders have received a total return of 71.6%. This is less than half of the 150.9% average return of trusts in the AIC Global sector although its relative performance has been held back by being very underweight the US bull market.

Posted at 06/2/2018 17:38 by skyship
Interesting - over the past two weeks to yesterday 5th Feb:

# The FTSE fell 5.1% from 7732 to 7335
# BTEM share price fell 3.9% from 748p to 719p
# BTEM NAV fell just 2.8% from 840p to 816p

Yet the share price was hammered back to 688p first thing - so pleased to buy back in having sold out @ 746p at the start of that fall.

British Empire share price data is direct from the London Stock Exchange
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