Maitland/AMO Morning Monitor – Friday 23 July 2021

23rd July 2021

Good morning,

Companies are significantly more keen to display concern for their people and their communities compared to the years before Covid-19, but what else are they holding in high value?

AMO, the global strategic advisory network, has released its 2021 “Values Most Valued” survey this week, offering a unique in-depth look at the values espoused by the world’s largest listed companies across 22 markets and 19 industries.

You can read the report in full here.

In the news

  • An official review of the Greensill scandal says Lex Greensill enjoyed an "extraordinarily privileged’’ relationship with the government, despite offering it no obvious benefit.
  • The government has exempted workers at 2,000 supermarket depots and suppliers from the requirement to quarantine.
  • The Treasury is to sell an additional tranche of NatWest shares over the coming year, as the government reduces its 54.7% stake.
  • The British Generic Manufacturers Association said its members would cease supplying 2,000 medicines made in Great Britain to Northern Ireland due to the cost of duplicating post-Brexit regulation.
  • Washington has imposed economic sanctions on Cuban defence minister Alvaro Lopez Miera over Havana’s crackdown on protesters.

Politics today

  • Parliament is in recess until 6 September.

Stock market moves

  • In the US, the S&P 500 gained 0.2%.
  • In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1.12% and 0.73% respectively, while Japan’s Nikkei Index rose 0.58%.
  • In Europe, the FTSE 100 is up 0.15% and the STOXX 600 gained 0.56%.

Corporate announcements

* Maitland Client

Pantheon International PLC Monthly Performance Update
  • NAV per share as at 30 June 2021 of 3,521.9p, an increase of 73.5p (+2.1%) from the NAV per share as at 31 May 2021.
  • +2.1%  NAV per share movement for the month.
  • £1.9bn NAV. 
Alliance Trust PLC Alliance Trust PLC - Half Year Results
  • For the six months to 30 June 2021, the Company’s NAV Total Return was 14.8% (-3.5% in 2020).
  • TSR of 11.1% compared to 3.5% at the start of the year to 6.7% at the end of June.
  • Second quarterly dividend of 3.702p, an increase of 3% on last year.
  • Gregor Stewart, Chairman, said: “Although excluding stocks with significant exposure to thermal coal and tar sands will not result in significant divestments, it reinforces our ambition to have the portfolio managed to achieve net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 or earlier. The portfolio’s carbon footprint is already 32.8% lower than the benchmark and this decision helps to keep us on the right track.”
Beazley PLC Beazley plc results for period ended 30 June 2021
  • Profit before tax of $167.3m (30 June 2020: Loss before tax of $13.8m).
  • Net investment income of $83.6m (30 June 2020: $83.2m).
  • No interim dividend (30 June 2020: nil).
  • Adrian Cox, CEO, said: “I am excited about the growth opportunities ahead. Our capital base remains strong and we are well placed to support an ambitious growth plan at similar levels to 2021. The board remains committed to a dividend payment and will consider this at year end after taking into account the 2021 results as a whole”.
Brewin Dolphin Holdings PLC Quarterly Trading Update
  • Total income was £103.8m (Q3 2020: £92.7m).
  • Gross discretionary fund inflows of £1.3bn, compared with Q2 level of £1.0bn.
  • Discretionary net flows of £0.7bn, an annualised growth rate of 6.1% (Q2 2021: £0.5bn, +4.5%, Q1 2021: £0.1bn, +1.0%).
  • Robin Beer, CEO, said: “We are very pleased to announce a second consecutive quarter of record gross discretionary fund inflows of £1.3bn, of which over 70% were from new clients. Strong fund inflows were seen across both our direct and indirect businesses, with Ireland having an exceptional quarter and our Voyager fund range continuing to scale at pace. We are in the final stages of implementing our custody and settlement system and remain on track for it to go live in our environment in the Autumn. These results are testimony that we are delivering on our strategic priorities of innovating our propositions, expanding our distribution channels and accelerating our digital agenda, and we are well positioned to capture future growth.”
Vodafone Group PLC* Vodafone - Q1 FY22 Trading Update
  • Growth in Europe and Africa: Group service revenue growth of 3.3% (Q4: 0.8%), with growth across both Consumer and Business.
  • Europe mobile contract churn 1.6 percentage points lower than Q1 FY20 (pre-pandemic), but commercial activity yet to return to normal conditions.
  • Roaming and visitor revenue grew 56% year-on-year, but still 54% lower than Q1 FY20 (pre-pandemic).
  • Vodafone Business service revenue growth of 2.7%, driven by strong growth in IoT and digital services.
  • Strong growth in Africa, with M-Pesa transaction volumes increasing 45% year-on-year.
  • On track to deliver FY22 guidance with Adjusted EBITDAaL expected to be between €15.0 – €15.4 billion and adjusted free cash flow of at least €5.2 billion.
  • Nick Read, Group Chief Executive, said: “We are back to service revenue growth in Europe, as well as Africa. This growth was broad based within both Consumer and Business segments, with the vast majority of our markets contributing. This is a result of our commercial and operating momentum built over the past 3 years as part of our strategic transformation.
  • “In Europe, the operating and retail environment has not yet returned to normal conditions, but we are delivering a good service revenue performance. In our Business segment, we are seeing stronger growth with our public sector and corporate customers, whilst further building a pipeline of demand for our digital services, such as IoT, security and cloud.”
Premier Foods PLC Q1 Trading Update
  • Q1 Group sales up 6.3% versus two years ago.
  • Sales from expanding into new categories of over £6m in last 12 months.
  • Q1 non-branded sales up 10.9% versus two years ago.
  • Alex Whitehouse, CEO, said: “With our continued strong trading momentum and the substantially lower coupon of the new fixed rate notes at 3.5%, we now expect to deliver adjusted Profit Before Tax at the top end of our expectations for FY21/22.”
BB Biotech* BB BIOTECH AG Half Year Report
  • The total share price return was 22.2% in CHF and 21.3% in EUR, including the dividend. This was ahead of the Net Asset Value appreciation of 8.9% in CHF, 7.3% in EUR and 4.1% in USD. This resulted in a net profit of CHF 349 mn for the first half of 2021 compared to the CHF 422 mn figure reported for the same period of last year.
  • AstraZeneca has announced that Dr. Susan Galbraith will be promoted to lead worldwide Oncology Research & Development from initial discovery through late-stage development, consequently, Dr. Galbraith informed
  • BB Biotech that she will resign from the Board of Directors of BB Biotech AG.
  • The investment management team focused on our existing smaller and mid cap companies and on the volatile situations such as the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine updates, the controversial approval of Biogen’s Aduhelm and the many clinical trial updates from within our existing portfolio, and no additions were made to the portfolio. After the US Federal Trade Commission cleared AstraZeneca’s acquisition of Alexion, Alexion shares traded within the range of the takeover price, after which the investment team sold its entire position in Alexion, locking in the significant profits. Capital released from the Alexion position together with continued profits from Halozyme were allocated to build on our newer portfolio positions such as Fate Therapeutics, Revolution Medicines, Relay Therapeutics, Essa Pharma and Molecular Templates.