Neil Woodford's role as manager of the Woodford Patient Capital trust (WPCT) remains uncertain as the board said it is still considering his role in the trust's half-year results.
The trust's share price has halved this year and its net asset value (NAV) has dropped more than 13% in recent weeks after several of its largest holdings plummeted in value.
The half-year report showed the trust had net assets of £654m on 30 June 2019, down from £807m at the end of 2018, a 26% decrease in net asset value in the first six months of the year.
According to the results report, the trust has reduced borrowings to £111.1m as at 26 September 2019, but it added that gearing as a percentage of NAV has increased due to the fall in NAV.
In the trust's results, chairperson Susan Searle said: "The board continues to evaluate the position of the portfolio manager and, as previously announced, is talking to other potential managers. This process can take time and ultimately the board's decision will be that which is in the best interests of protecting long-term value for shareholders."
Referring to the suspension of Woodford's open-ended Woodford Equity Income fund (WEIF), she added: "This has undoubtedly been the most challenging period for the company since it floated in 2015. Events at the portfolio manager have been disappointing for everyone associated with WPCT, shareholders and board members alike.
"Protecting shareholders' interests as these difficult circumstances continue to play out remains the board's priority. We have already taken a number of decisive and proactive measures following the gating of WEIF and remain focused on taking the necessary actions to support the future value of the company's portfolio."
In July, the board announced it was looking at third party candidates to potentially take over the management of the vehicle, saying it "intends to engage with a broader range of third-party managers in order to undertake a full assessment of all potential management options, which may or may not lead to a change in the company's management arrangements".
"Shareholders have endured an extremely disappointing six-month period, for which I am very sorry. While shareholders can be forgiven for thinking there are no positives, I continue to believe that the majority of the businesses we have invested in are making good progress, in line with our pre-agreed milestones," he said.
"I remain as passionate for the early-stage asset class as I have ever been. I have often said a long-term patient capital approach can deliver extremely successful outcomes, help businesses to fulfil their potential, while also helping to develop the UK's knowledge economy, and support economic rebalancing. It only requires a few of the larger companies in the portfolio to deliver and to generate the returns investors envisaged."
This article was first published by Investment Week, a sister title to International Investment.