Former Woodford trust Schroder UK Public Private eyes global change

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Former Woodford trust Schroder UK Public Private eyes global change

The board of the £366.9m Schroder UK Public Private trust has proposed changes to its investment policy to allow it to consider global investment, according to the annual report for the trust. 

The former Woodford Patient Capital trust has been focused on venture and growth stage UK companies. However, the board now believes shareholders would be better served by benefitting from global investment opportunities, but still in the venture and growth space.

"The portfolio manager has unparalleled access to a global universe of top-quality opportunities and we want to be able to leverage this to give our investors exposure to the best venture and growth companies in the world," the Chair said.

He went on to say the company will target around 75% in private equity with 25% in public equities, which are expected to be a consequence of private holdings going to IPO. At the end of 2021, the trust had 35 holdings, with 11 quoted and the remainder unquoted.

The proposals are subject to a shareholder vote at the company's AGM on 18 May.

In his statement the Chair said that while the performance of the trust was strong in the year, with NAV per share rising 37.4%, this has not been reflected in the discount.

Performance was primarily driven by the IPO of Oxford Nanopore Technologies which resulted in a fair value gain of £104.6m. The main detractor was Rutherford Health, which was revalued at £21.3m at the end of last year, down £14.1m from the previous year due to "heightened financing risk".

According to Morningstar data, the discount is on 36.7%. The board is also looking to renew its authority to purchase up to 14.99% of its issued capital in the upcoming AGM.

"The board has been hampered in its efforts to buy back shares by a shortage of cash available for this purpose over the last year, created by our central objectives to reduce debt and to rebalance the portfolio into a more sustainable shape," the chair said. "As a result, the authorities given by shareholders at the last Annual General Meeting have not been utilised."