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RNS

Annual Financial Report

Released 07:00 29-Mar-2018

RNS Number : 3076J
Dunedin Income Growth Inv Tst PLC
29 March 2018
 

DUNEDIN INCOME GROWTH INVESTMENT TRUST PLC

Legal Entity Identifier (LEI):  549300PPXLZPR5JTL763

 

 

ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 JANUARY 2018

 

The Company

Dunedin Income Growth Investment Trust PLC ("the Company") is an investment trust. Its Ordinary shares are listed on the premium segment of the London Stock Exchange.

 

Investment Objective

The Company's objective is to achieve growth of income and capital from a portfolio invested mainly in companies listed or quoted in the United Kingdom. 

 

Benchmark

The Company's benchmark is the FTSE All-Share Index (total return). Performance is measured on a net asset value total return basis over the long-term.

 

Management

The Company's Manager is Aberdeen Fund Managers Limited ("AFML", the "AIFM" or the "Manager") which has delegated the investment management of the Company to Aberdeen Asset Managers Limited ("AAML" or the "Investment Manager"). Both companies are wholly owned subsidiaries of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC (the "Aberdeen Group"), which merged with Standard Life plc on 14 August 2017 to form Standard Life Aberdeen plc.

 

Website

Up-to-date information can be found on the Company's website: www.dunedinincomegrowth.co.uk. 

 

COMPANY OVERVIEW - FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

 

Net asset value total returnAB



Earnings per share (revenue)


2018

+12.0%


2018

12.64p

2017

+19.2%


2017

12.55p






Share price total returnAC



Ongoing chargesA


2018

+11.7%


2018

 0.61%

2017

+16.5%


2017

0.63%






Discount to net asset valueD



Dividends per Ordinary share


2018

8.1%


2018

12.10p

2017

7.4%


2017

11.70p


A Alternative Performance Measure

B With debt at fair value, dividends reinvested

C Dividends reinvested

D With debt at fair value.

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Ben Ritchie/Louise Kernohan

Aberdeen Asset Managers Limited                                   0207 463 6000

 

Andrew Leigh

Aberdeen Asset Managers Limited                                   0207 463 6000

 

COMPANY OVERVIEW - CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT

 

Summary

In the year ended 31 January 2018 your company delivered solid absolute and relative returns. The Company's net asset value ("NAV") increased by 12.0% on a total return basis, outperforming the FTSE All-Share Index which produced a total return of 11.3%.  The share price total return for the year was 11.7%.

 

Earnings

Income from investments increased by 3.5%, offset to some degree by lower income from derivatives, leaving total revenue up by 1.6%. Reduced withholding tax refunds compared to the prior year resulted in the revenue per share being up by a slightly lower amount of 0.7%, year on year, at 12.64p.

 

Dividend

Three interim dividends of 2.575p per share have already been paid and the Board is proposing a final dividend of 4.375p per share, payable on 30 May 2018 to shareholders on the register on 4 May 2018. This will make a total dividend of 12.1p per share for the year, an increase of 3.4% on last year. This will be the 34th year out of the past 38 that the Company has grown its dividend, with the distribution maintained in the other four years.

 

Following payment of the final dividend, we will be able to add a further 0.65p per share to the Company's revenue reserves, meaning that 11.16p per share will be available to support future distributions, representing 92% of the current annual dividend cost.

 

As we stated in the Annual Report last year, the Investment Manager has continued to execute our strategy of reducing the dependence on higher yielding, lower growth companies. This strategy should enhance the Company's longer term potential for both faster dividend growth and better capital performance. However, a consequence of this approach is the likelihood that the Company's revenue per share will fall in the year ahead. Our distribution policy remains to grow the dividend faster than inflation over the medium term and, with the Company's increasingly robust revenue reserves and the healthy underlying dividend growth of the companies within the portfolio, that policy remains well supported.

 

Market Background

It was a reasonably strong year for equity markets as the FTSE All-Share Index reached a series of all-time highs, shrugging off various challenges including elections in the UK and France, uncertainty over the progress of Brexit negotiations and continued tensions on the Korean peninsula. For most of the period, investors were able to focus away from politics and instead turn their attention to the strong recovery in global growth that took hold over the year and the consequently positive impact on corporate earnings growth. In fact 2017 was a very good year for Sterling-denominated company profits as a recovery in commodity prices, coupled with favourable exchange rates and generally improving global economic conditions, proved helpful. This was also beneficial for dividend payments.

 

Globally, the economic picture remains positive and has continued to improve ahead of expectations, with US fundamentals remaining healthy and the backdrop for emerging markets encouraging, supported by rising economic data in China and strong domestic demand in a number of other important markets such as India and Indonesia. Continental Europe has also seen a strong recovery take hold after a number of years of difficult economic performance.

 

Meanwhile, the UK economy has proven relatively resilient despite a weakened government following the General Election in June and ongoing uncertainty posed by the withdrawal from the EU. However, with inflation above target and modest spare capacity in the economy, the Bank of England felt able to raise interest rates for the first time since 2007. In partial recognition of this, Sterling steadily recovered against the US dollar over the course of 2017, regaining most of the ground lost since the EU referendum in 2016. Against the Euro, in contrast, Sterling weakened somewhat as the Eurozone continued to recover at a strong pace.

 

Performance

As I have noted above, the Company's NAV total return of 12.0% outperformed the total return of 11.3% from the FTSE All-Share Index. This was driven by out-performance from the equity portfolio alongside some assistance from gearing in a rising market and a mark-to-market reduction in the value of the Company's fixed rate debt.

 

Pleasingly, we saw a healthy contribution from some of the newer overseas investments. In contrast, a strong return from some of the very large index constituents, including Royal Dutch Shell and HSBC, where the Investment Manager's focus on diversification means that the Company is unlikely to hold such large positions as the benchmark, had a negative impact on performance. Alongside this, the disappointing turn of events at Provident Financial, which were described in the Half-Yearly Report, served to offset some of the positive developments in the rest of the portfolio.

 

As we noted in last year's Annual Report, we believe that the focus on owning higher yielding businesses in order to generate income and support a high level of dividend has constrained the Investment Manager's ability to generate competitive total returns in the past. Within the equity portfolio it is positive therefore to note that the Company benefitted from a strong performance from precisely the kind of companies to which the Investment Manager has been seeking to expand our exposure. Namely, high quality businesses with cash flows and balance sheets capable of providing reasonable levels of dividend yield but, critically, combined with good long-term growth prospects.

 

The Investment Manager now has greater flexibility and the Board is optimistic that this will facilitate the delivery of consistent positive returns from stock selection over the medium term.

 

Gearing

Your Board believes that the sensible use of modest financial gearing, whilst amplifying market movements in the short term, will enhance returns of both capital and income to shareholders over the long term. We also recognise the benefit that having a reasonable proportion of long-term fixed rate funding provides to managing the Revenue Account, through greater certainty over financing costs.

 

The Company currently employs three sources of gearing. The £28.6 million debenture maturing in April 2019, the recently issued £30 million loan notes maturing in 2045, and a £25 million multi-currency revolving credit facility that expires in July 2018 of which a Sterling equivalent of £11.5 million was drawn down at the year end.

 

The proceeds of the loan note issuance remain invested in a portfolio of investment grade bonds which, taking into account the call features or prepayment options on several of the bonds, broadly matches the duration of the 2019 debenture and the income from which largely offsets the interest cost of the issue. The Company's equity gearing is therefore very much lower than the headline gearing figure would suggest. With debt valued at par, the Company's net gearing decreased from 14.6% to 14.4% during the year and, on a pure equity basis, after netting off cash and bonds, gearing rose from 6.1% to 7.8%. The Board believes this remains a relatively conservative level of equity gearing and, with part of the revolving credit facility undrawn, this provides the Company with financial flexibility should opportunities to deploy additional capital arise.

 

Discount

The discount at which the price of the Company's shares trade relative to the NAV widened slightly from 7.4% at the beginning of the year to 8.1% as at 31 January 2018 (on an ex-income basis with borrowings stated at fair value).

 

The Company's shares have traded at a relatively wider discount than they have done in previous years. During the year the Company purchased 833,000 shares to hold in treasury, at a cost of £2.15 million, providing a small accretion to the NAV per share. The Company has continued to buy back shares since the year end.

 

As stated above, the Board believes that the implementation by the Investment Manager of the investment strategy should enhance the Company's longer term potential for improved performance. We believe that this, in turn, should lead to a re-rating of the Company's shares relative to its peers.

 

We will again seek shareholders' permission at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting to buy back shares and are prepared to continue to use this measure in the light of both the Company's absolute level of discount and that relative to those of its peer group.

 

Board Composition

As previously announced, John Carson, who was appointed to the Board in June 2007, will retire as a Director at the Annual General Meeting. John is the Senior Independent Director and was, until May 2017, Chairman of the Company, having also chaired the Audit Committee. I would like to extend my thanks to John for his wise counsel and significant contribution throughout his time on the Board.

 

I am pleased to announce that, following a formal recruitment process with independent search, Howard Williams will be appointed as an independent non-executive Director with effect from 1 April 2018. Howard has over 35 years' of fund management experience and was, until October 2017, Chief Investment Officer and Head of the Global Equity Team at JPMorgan Asset Management.

 

Howard will stand for election at the Annual General Meeting. There is no information required to be disclosed pursuant to Listing Rule 9.6.13R in relation to his appointment.

 

Management Group

Following the merger of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC and Standard Life plc that was announced and completed during our financial year, the Board continues to monitor closely any changes that may impact the management of your Company.

 

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting will be held at the offices of Aberdeen Standard Investments, Bow Bells House, 1 Bread Street, London EC4M 9HH on Thursday 24 May 2018 at 12 noon.

 

Outlook

Central banks are moving slowly and cautiously, but have a difficult balancing act to move to more normal interest rates without damaging growth. How valuations develop in an environment that pitches faster increases in interest rates against a continued strong global economic expansion remains to be seen. Following a long period of positive equity market performance and subdued volatility it is likely that we may well see more challenging market conditions in the period ahead.  Recognising such an environment, the Investment Manager will be increasingly rigorous in its focus on owning the best quality businesses that it can, consistent with delivering your company's strategy.

 

David Barron

Chairman

28 March 2018

 

 



STRATEGIC REPORT - OVERVIEW OF STRATEGY

 

Business Model

The Company is an investment trust with a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange.

 

Investment Objective

The Company's objective is to achieve growth of income and capital from a portfolio invested mainly in companies listed or quoted in the United Kingdom. 

 

Investment Policy

In pursuit of its objective, the Company's investment policy is to invest in high quality companies with strong income potential and providing an above-average portfolio yield. 

 

Risk Diversification 

The Company maintains a diversified portfolio consisting, substantially, of equity or equity-related securities, and it can invest in other financial instruments. The Company is invested mainly in companies listed or quoted in the United Kingdom and can invest up to 20% of its gross assets overseas.

 

It is the policy of the Company to invest no more than 15% of its gross assets in other listed investment companies and no more than 15% of its gross assets in any one company.

 

Gearing

The Board is responsible for determining the gearing strategy for the Company, with day-to-day gearing decisions being made by the Manager within the remit set by the Board. The Board has set its gearing limit at a maximum of 30% of the net asset value at the time of draw down. Gearing is used selectively to leverage the Company's portfolio in order to enhance returns where and to the extent considered appropriate.

 

Delivering the Investment Objective

The Directors are responsible for determining the Company's investment objective and investment policy. Day-to-day management of the Company's assets has been delegated, via the AIFM, to the Investment Manager.

 

Investment Process

The Investment Manager believes that, over the long-term, share prices reflect the underlying business fundamentals of companies and hence investments are made based on research undertaken on individual companies. This is known as a "bottom up" investment process. This process involves a disciplined evaluation of potential investments which includes meeting investee companies. New investments are not made without the Investment Manager having first met the management of the investee company, undertaken further analysis and written detailed notes to outline the underlying investment merits. A company's value is estimated in two stages, quality then price. Quality is defined by reference to management, business focus, balance sheet and corporate governance. Price is assessed relative to key financial ratios and business prospects. 

 

The Investment Manager's portfolios are generally run conservatively, with an emphasis on buy-and-hold and top-slicing/topping up.  This approach usually results in low turnover within portfolios. 

 

Portfolios are managed by the Investment Manager on a team basis, with individual fund managers carrying out their own research and analysis.  All ideas are shared via formal committees and common databases, with desk heads ensuring consistency.

 

Benchmark

The Company's benchmark is the FTSE All-Share Index (total return). Performance is measured on a net asset value total return basis over the long-term.

 

Key Performance Indicators ("KPIs")

The Board uses a number of other financial performance measures to assess the Company's success in achieving its objective and determining the progress of the Company in pursuing its investment policy.  The main KPIs are shown in the table below:

 

KPI

Description

Performance

The Board considers the Company's NAV total return figures to be the best single indicator of performance over time.

Performance of NAV against benchmark index and  comparable investment trusts

The Board measures the Company's NAV total return performance against the benchmark index - the FTSE All-Share Index. The Board also monitors performance relative to a peer group of investment trusts which have similar objectives, policies and yield characteristics.

 

Revenue return per Ordinary share

The Board monitors the Company's net revenue return.

Dividend per Ordinary share

The Board monitors the Company's annual dividends per Ordinary share.

Share price performance

The Board monitors the performance of the Company's share price on a total return basis.

Discount/premium to NAV

The discount/premium of the share price relative to the NAV per share is monitored by the Board.

Ongoing charges

The Board monitors the Company's operating costs carefully.

 

Principal Risks and Uncertainties

There are a number of risks which, if realised, could have a material adverse effect on the Company and its financial condition, performance and prospects. The risks and uncertainties faced by the Company are reviewed by the Audit Committee in the form of a risk matrix and the assessment of risks and their mitigation continues to be an area of significant focus for the Audit Committee. The principal risks and uncertainties facing the Company at the current time, together with a description of the mitigating actions the Board has taken, are set out in the table below. The Board has carried out a robust assessment of these risks, which include those that would threaten its business model, future performance, solvency or liquidity. The principal risks associated with an investment in the Company's shares are published monthly in the Company's factsheet and they can be found in the pre-investment disclosure document ("PIDD") published by the Manager, both of which are available on the Company's website.

 

Risk

Mitigating Action

Investment objectives - a lack of demand for the Company's shares due to its objectives becoming unattractive to investors could result in a widening of the discount of the share price to its underlying net asset value and a fall in the value of its shares.

Board review. The Board formally reviews the Company's objectives and strategies for achieving them on an annual basis, or more regularly if appropriate.

 

Shareholder communication. The Board is cognisant of the importance of regular communication with shareholders. Directors attend meetings with the Company's largest shareholders and meet other shareholders at the Annual General Meeting. The Board reviews shareholder correspondence and investor relations reports and also receives feedback from the Company's broker.

 

Discount monitoring. The Board, through the Manager, keeps the level of discount under constant review. The Board is responsible for the Company's share buy back policy and, if considered appropriate, would authorise the use of share buy backs to provide liquidity to the market and try to limit any widening of the discount.

Investment strategies - the Company adopts inappropriate investment strategies in pursuit of its objectives which could result in investors avoiding the Company's shares, leading to a widening of the discount and poor investment performance.

 

Adherence to investment guidelines. The Board sets investment guidelines and restrictions which the Manager follows, covering matters such as asset allocation, diversification, gearing, currency exposure, use of derivatives etc. These guidelines are reviewed regularly and the Manager reports on compliance with them at Board meetings.

 

In order to ensure adequate diversification, the Board has set absolute limits on maximum holdings and exposures in the portfolio at the time of investment, which are in addition to the limits contained in the Company's investment policy, including the following:

 

-      No more than 10% of gross assets to be invested in any single stock; and

-      The top five holdings should not account for more than 40% of gross assets.

 

Regular shareholder communication and discount monitoring, as above.

 

Investment performance - the appointment or continuing appointment of an investment manager with inadequate resources, skills or expertise or which makes poor investment decisions. This could result in poor investment performance, a loss of value for shareholders and a widening discount.

 

Monitoring of performance. The Board meets the Manager on a regular basis and keeps under close review (inter alia) its resources, adherence to investment processes, the adequacy of risk controls, and investment performance.

 

Management Engagement Committee. A detailed formal appraisal of the Manager is carried out annually by the Management Engagement Committee.

Income/dividends - the Company adopts an unsustainable dividend policy resulting in cuts to or suspension of dividends to shareholders, or one which fails to meet investor demands.

Revenue forecasting and monitoring. The Manager presents detailed forecasts of income and expenditure covering both the current and subsequent financial years at Board meetings. Dividend income received is compared to forecasts and variances analysed.

 

Use of reserves. The Company has built up significant revenue reserves which are available to smooth dividend distributions to shareholders should there be a shortfall in revenue returns.

 

Financial/market - insufficient oversight or controls over financial risks, including market risk, foreign currency risk, liquidity risk and credit risk could result in losses to the Company. 

 

Management controls. The Manager has a range of procedures and controls relating to the Company's financial instruments, including a review of investment risk parameters by the Investment Risk department and a review of credit worthiness of counterparties by the Counterparty Credit Risk team. 

 

Foreign currency hedging. It is not the Company's policy to hedge foreign currency exposure but the Company may, from time to time, partially mitigate it by drawing down borrowings in foreign currencies.

 

Board review. As stated above, the Board sets investment guidelines and restrictions which are reviewed regularly and the Manager reports on compliance with them at Board meetings.

 

Further details of the Company's financial instruments and risk management are included in note 17 to the financial statements.

 

Gearing - gearing accentuates the effect of rises or falls in the market value of the Company's investment portfolio on its net asset value. An inappropriate level of gearing at a time of falling values could result in a significant fall in the value of the Company's net asset value and shares. Such a fall in the value of the Company's net assets could result in a breach of loan covenants and trigger demands for early repayment or require investments to be sold to meet any shortfall. This could result in further losses.

 

 

Gearing restrictions. The Board sets gearing limits within which the Manager can operate.

 

Monitoring. Both the limits and actual levels of gearing are monitored on an ongoing basis by the Manager and at regular Board meetings. In the event of a possible impending covenant breach, appropriate action would be taken to reduce borrowing levels.

 

Scrutiny of loan agreements. The Board takes advice from the Manager and the Company's lawyers before approving details of loan agreements. Care is taken to ensure that covenants are appropriate and unlikely to be breached.

 

Limits on derivative exposure. The Board has set limits on derivative exposures and positions are monitored at regular Board meetings.

 

Regulatory - changes to, or failure to comply with, relevant regulations (including the Companies Act, The Financial Services and Markets Act, The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, accounting standards, investment trust regulations, the Listing Rules, Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules and Prospectus Rules) could result in fines, loss of reputation, reduced demand for the Company's shares and potentially loss of an advantageous tax regime.

 

Board awareness. The Directors have an awareness of the more important regulations and are provided with information on changes by The Association of Investment Companies. In terms of day to day compliance with regulations, the Board is reliant on the knowledge and expertise of the Manager. However, where necessary, the Board engages the service of external advisers. 

 

Management controls. The Manager's company secretariat and accounting teams use checklists to aid compliance and these are backed by the Manager's  compliance monitoring programme and risk based internal audit investigations.

 

 

Operational - the Company is reliant on services provided by third parties (in particular those of the Manager and the Depositary) and any control gaps and failures in their operations could expose the Company to loss or damage.

 

Agreements. Written agreements are in place defining the roles and responsibilities of all third party service providers.

 

Internal control systems of the Manager. The Board receives reports on the operation and efficacy of the Manager's IT and control systems, including those relating to cyber crime, and its internal audit and compliance functions.

 

Safekeeping of assets. The Depositary is ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of the Company's assets and its records are reconciled to those of the Manager on a regular basis.  Through a delegation by the Depositary, the Company's investments and cash balances are held in segregated accounts by the Custodian. 

 

Monitoring of other third party service providers. The Manager monitors closely the control environments and quality of services provided by third parties, including those of the Depositary and Custodian. This includes controls relating to cyber crime and is conducted through service level agreements, regular meetings and key performance indicators. The Directors review reports on the Manager's monitoring of third party service providers on a periodic basis.

 

 

Promoting the Company

The Board recognises the importance of promoting the Company to prospective investors both for improving liquidity and enhancing the value and rating of the Company's shares. The Board believes an effective way to achieve this is through subscription to and participation in the promotional programme run by the Aberdeen Group on behalf of a number of investment trusts under its management. The Company's financial contribution to the programme is matched by the Aberdeen Group. Aberdeen's marketing and investor relations teams report to the Board giving analysis of the promotional activities as well as updates on the shareholder register and any changes in the make up of that register.

 

The purpose of the programme is both to communicate effectively with existing shareholders and to gain new shareholders with the aim of improving liquidity and enhancing the value and rating of the Company's shares. Communicating the long-term attractions of the Company is key and therefore the Company also supports the Aberdeen Group's investor relations programme which involves regional roadshows, promotional and public relations campaigns. 

 

Board Diversity Policy

The Board recognises the importance of having a range of skilled, experienced individuals with the right knowledge represented on the Board in order to allow it to fulfil its obligations. The Board also recognises the benefits and is supportive of the principle of diversity in its recruitment of new Board members. The Board will not display any bias for age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic or national origins, or disability in considering the appointment of its Directors. In view of its size, the Board will continue to ensure that all appointments are made on the basis of merit against the specification prepared for each appointment and the Board does not therefore consider it appropriate to set measurable objectives in relation to its diversity.   

 

At 31 January 2018, there were three male and two female Directors on the Board.

 

Environmental, Social and Human Rights Issues

The Company has no employees as the Board has delegated the day to day management and administrative functions to the Manager. There are therefore no disclosures to be made in respect of employees. The Company's socially responsible investment policy is set out below.

 

Socially Responsible Investment Policy

The Directors, through the Manager, encourage companies in which investments are made to adhere to best practice in the area of corporate governance and socially responsible business. They believe that this can best be achieved by entering into a dialogue with company management to encourage them, where necessary, to improve their policies in both areas. The Manager's ultimate objective, however, is to deliver superior investment returns for its clients. Accordingly, whilst the Manager will seek to favour companies which pursue best practice in these areas, this must not be to the detriment of the return on the investment portfolio.

 

UK Stewardship Code and Proxy Voting as an Institutional Shareholder

Responsibility for actively monitoring the activities of portfolio companies has been delegated by the Board to the Manager which has sub-delegated that authority to the Investment Manager.

 

The full text of the Company's response to the Stewardship Code may be found on its website.

 

Modern Slavery Act

Due to the nature of its business, being a company that does not offer goods and services to customers, the Board considers that the Company is not within the scope of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 because it has no turnover. The Company is therefore not required to make a slavery and human trafficking statement. In any event, the Board considers the Company's supply chains, dealing predominantly with professional advisers and service providers in the financial services industry, to be low risk in relation to this matter.

 

Viability Statement

The Board considers that the Company, which does not have a fixed life, is a long term investment vehicle and, for the purposes of this statement, has decided that five years is an appropriate period over which to consider its viability. The Board considers that this period reflects a balance between looking out over a long term horizon and the inherent uncertainties of looking out further than five years.

 

Taking into account the Company's current position and the potential impact of its principal risks and uncertainties, the Directors have a reasonable expectation that the Company will be able to continue in operation and meet its liabilities as they fall due for a period of five years from the date of this Report.

 

In assessing the viability of the Company over the review period, the Directors have focused upon the following factors:

 

-           The principal risks and uncertainties detailed above and the steps taken to mitigate these risks.

-           The relevance of the Company's investment objective, especially in the current low yield environment.

-           The Company is invested in readily-realisable listed securities.

-           Share buy backs carried out in the past have not resulted in significant reductions to the capital of the Company.

-           Although the Company's stated investment policy contains a gearing limit of 30% of the net asset value at the time of draw down, the Board's policy is to have a relatively modest level of equity gearing and the financial covenants attached to the Company's borrowings provide for significant headroom.

-           The repayment of the Company's £28.6 million 7 7/8% Debenture Stock on 30 April 2019 has been pre-financed through the issue of £30 million 3.99% Loan Notes which are repayable in December 2045, the proceeds of which are invested in a portfolio of fixed interest securities which broadly match the duration of the Debenture. 

-           The requirement for the Company to refinance or repay its £25 million multi-currency revolving credit facility agreement on or before its maturity on 15 July 2018.

 

In making its assessment, the Board is also aware that there are other matters that could have an impact on the Company's prospects or viability in the future, including a large economic shock or significant stock market volatility, and changes in regulation or investor sentiment.

 

Outlook

The Board's view on the general outlook for the Company can be found in the Chairman's Statement whilst the Investment Manager's views on the outlook for the portfolio are included in its statement.

 

On behalf of the Board

David Barron

Chairman

28 March 2018

 

 



STRATEGIC REPORT - RESULTS

 

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

 


 31 January 2018

 31 January 2017

% change

Total assets

£512,159,000

£485,339,000

+5.5

Equity shareholders' funds

£442,384,000

£415,810,000

+6.4

Market capitalisation

£389,167,000

£366,498,000

+6.2

Net asset value per Ordinary share

295.55p

276.26p

+7.0

Net asset value per Ordinary share with debt at fair valueA

283.04p

262.94p

+7.6

Share price (mid)

260.00p

243.50p

+6.8

FTSE All-Share Index

4,137.66

3,858.26

+7.2





Discount(difference between share price and net asset value)




Discount where borrowings are deducted at fair value

(8.1%)

(7.4%)






Gearing




Net gearingB

14.42%

14.64%


Equity gearingC

7.83%

6.11%






Dividends and earnings




Total return per share

30.83p

43.83p


Revenue return per share

12.64p

12.55p

+0.7

Total dividend per share for the year

12.10p

11.70p

+3.4

Dividend cover  

1.04

1.07






Revenue reserves




Prior to payment of third interim dividend declared and proposed final dividendD

18.11p

17.06p


After payment of third interim dividend declared and proposed final dividendDE

11.16p

10.51p






Operating costs




Ongoing chargesF

0.61%

0.63%



A Based on capital only net asset values (see note 16 for disclosure on net asset values).

B Calculated by dividing total borrowings less cash and cash equivalents by shareholders' funds, expressed as a percentage.

C Calculated as the amount by which the total value of equity securities held exceeds shareholders' funds, expressed as a percentage of shareholders' funds.

D Calculated by dividing the revenue reserve per the Statement of Financial Position by the number of shares in issue at the reporting date per note 8.

E Third interim dividend for the year ended 31 January 2018 of 2.575p per share (2017 - 2.575p). Proposed final dividend for the year ended 31 January 2018 of 4.375p (2017 - 3.975p).

F Considered to be an Alternative Performance Measure. The ongoing charges ratio has been calculated in accordance with guidance issued by the AIC as the total of investment management fees and administrative expenses divided by the average cum-income net asset value throughout the year (see note 21 for the calculation).

 

 



PERFORMANCE

 


1 year

3 year

5 year


% return

% return

% return

Total return (Capital return plus net dividends reinvested)




Net asset valueAB

+12.0%

+18.2%

+42.6%

FTSE All-Share Index

+11.3%

+27.4%

+50.3%

Share priceB

+11.7%

+12.5%

+30.5%





Capital return




Net asset valueA

+7.5%

+3.9%

+15.5%

FTSE All-Share Index

+7.2%

+14.2%

+25.9%

Share price

+6.8%

- 2.3%

+4.4%

A Cum-income NAV with debt at fair value.




B Alternative Performance Measure



Source: Standard Life Aberdeen, Factset & Morningstar




 

TEN YEAR FINANCIAL RECORD

 

Year ended 31 January

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total revenue (£'000)

19,998

14,251

16,904

19,173

18,866

20,750

20,994

20,359

21,963

22,317

Per share (p)











Revenue return

11.72

7.99

10.15

11.00

10.77

11.89

11.90

12.11

12.55

12.64

Dividends paid/proposed

10.25

10.25

10.25

10.65

10.75

11.10

11.25

11.40

11.70

12.10

Revenue reserveA

9.41

7.16

7.06

7.42

7.45

8.22

8.89

9.63

10.51

11.16

Net asset valueB

156.89

198.8

226.81

222.88

251.48

262.34

279.66

237.48

270.34

290.57

Total return

(84.12)

51.15

39.00

6.50

41.30

22.24

27.76

(28.94)

43.83

30.83


_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

Shareholders' funds (£'000)

241,944

303,603

346,927

341,280

385,605

403,526

428,702

368,041

415,810

442,384


_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

A After payment of third interim and final dividends.

B With debt at fair value.

 

DIVIDENDS

 

Dividend per share

Rate

xd date

Record date

Payment date

Proposed final dividend 2018

4.375p

3 May 2018

4 May 2018

30 May 2018

Third interim dividend 2018

2.575p

1 February 2018

2 February 2018

23 February 2018

Second interim dividend 2018

2.575p

2 November 2017

3 November 2017

24 November 2017

First interim dividend 2018

2.575p

3 August 2017

4 August 2017

25 August 2017


_____




Total dividend 2018

12.10p





_____









Dividend per share

Rate

xd date

Record date

Payment date

Final dividend 2017

3.975p

4 May 2017

5 May 2017

26 May 2017

Third interim dividend 2017

2.575p

2 February 2017

3 February 2017

24 February 2017

Second interim dividend 2017

2.575p

3 November 2016

4 November 2016

25 November 2016

First interim dividend 2017

2.575p

4 August 2016

5 August 2016

26 August 2016


_____




Total dividend 2017

11.70p





_____




 

 

STRATEGIC REPORT - INVESTMENT MANAGER'S REVIEW

 

Introduction

The year ended 31 January 2018 has been one of further progress. Since our appointment as lead managers within Aberdeen Fund Managers 18 months ago we have looked to increase the focus on growth of both capital and income and differentiate the Company in what is a highly competitive sector. It has certainly been an active year in terms of executing this. We are encouraged that our strategy is producing tangible results, with positive relative performance, whilst also improving both the underlying quality of the portfolio and its income growth potential. Since September 2016, we have nearly doubled the amount of income coming from faster growing companies and meaningfully increased the average underlying dividend growth rate of the holdings within the portfolio.  In addition, the improving underlying quality of our holdings is reflected in higher returns and stronger balance sheets in aggregate for the portfolio, whilst the amount of income we deem at risk in the financial year ahead has fallen sharply. This has in part involved increasing our exposure to small and mid-cap companies that have greater opportunities for long term growth and which now make up close to 30% of the equity portfolio as compared to less than 20% 18 months ago. 

 

Performance

In terms of income performance it was a sound year, with income from investments up by 3.5%, although total revenue increased by a more modest 1.6% as lower income was received from derivatives. It is important to stress that maximisation of income in the near term has not been a priority and we have reduced holdings in higher yielding businesses, cutting near term earnings, in order to increase investments in lower yielding but faster growing companies. Given an already healthy Revenue Account we reduced our option writing in the second half as lower volatility presented fewer attractively priced opportunities. The Company benefited from a special distribution from Compass and, in addition, a number of companies declared dividends ahead of our expectations, such as Prudential, Inchcape, Schroders and British American Tobacco, amongst others. This has allowed us to make a healthy contribution to revenue reserves that will further support our strategy of focusing on greater income growth.

 

From a relative return perspective we had a mixed year although we modestly outperformed the FTSE All-Share Index.  In part, helping performance was corporate activity, with Berendsen's share price strong due to the takeover by French peer Elis, and Unilever outperforming following the unsuccessful bid from Kraft Heinz and consequent strategic review.  Furthermore, the holding in Aveva performed well following the announcement of a deal to combine with the software business of French company Schneider Electric.

 

Other holdings that contributed positively to performance included specialty chemicals company Croda which reported an acceleration of organic growth through the year, and life insurer Prudential, helped by continued high growth in its Asian business. Our more recent overseas investments were overall supportive, in particular Danish pharmaceutical Novo Nordisk which showed impressive growth across its products for diabetes treatment, and Swiss listed banking software company Temenos which performed well on the back of some key client wins as banks accelerate the shift to digital banking.  Each of these companies possesses the attributes we look for in a high quality company, and it is encouraging that this is being reflected in share price performances.

 

This was, however, offset to a degree by the holding of Provident Financial. The company released an unscheduled trading update in August, announcing a significant deterioration in trading at its Home Collected Credit business, an investigation into Vanquis bank by the FCA, the decision to cancel the dividend and the removal of the Chief Executive.  This caused a severe share price decline and we took the decision to exit the position given our serious concerns over the future of the business. We were extremely disappointed by the turn of events.

 

Another key detractor from performance during the year was the underweight position to the commodity producers, and in particular Royal Dutch Shell, which saw its share price recover well as it benefited from the rise in the oil price. While we have a fair sized position in absolute terms, the company constitutes 8.5% of the benchmark and an even greater percentage of overall income, and our desire to diversify the portfolio's capital and income exposure causes us to have a sizeable underweight position.

 

Portfolio Activity

We had another busy year in terms of changes within the portfolio as we have continued to build a portfolio that can not only generate the current level of dividend but also grow it in real terms over the long term and deliver attractive total returns. To achieve this we have sold down some of the higher yielding investments with lower growth prospects to reinvest into companies where we see greater scope for both capital and income growth. While in the near term this process is likely to have a negative impact on the Revenue Account, over the longer term this should prove increasingly beneficial to the Company's income growth potential.

 

In line with our strategy, the newer holdings are predominantly towards the small and mid-cap end of the market, where companies have a combination of strong positions in their respective industries together with significant opportunity to grow from a lower base.  This translates into the ability to sustain a higher dividend or to grow the dividend at a faster pace. In addition, these companies lend themselves well to our investment process where, rather than relying on external research, we have a well-resourced team investing the time to uncover and research companies that are often go unnoticed by others.

 

For example, we introduced Euromoney, an information and media company with a key attraction being the recurring nature of its subscriptions to their well-regarded publications. The steady cash flow generation and strong balance sheet support dividend growth, while the modest valuation combined with some turnaround initiatives implies an attractive return for long term investors.

 

Another new introduction was Big Yellow. The self-storage specialist benefits from a strong brand and being the owner of scarce and well positioned assets in and around London giving them the potential to increase prices over the medium term. The company has an attractive dividend yield and, given the superior cash generating ability of the business, they are well positioned to grow their dividend distribution at a pleasing rate over the medium term.

 

At the larger end of the market-cap spectrum we initiated a position in RELX, an information and publishing group with strong brands, highly visible and recurring revenue streams and a broad geographic reach. Their growth path is well set to continue, with scope to lever their data and platforms for developing new analytical products. The group has already transitioned much of its revenue from print to digital formats so it does not face this challenge in the future. We expect the company to continue to generate steady growth and high returns on capital, backed by a solid balance sheet, which underpins a bright outlook for dividend growth despite the dividend yield being relatively low.

 

We have made full use of our ability to invest 20% of assets in companies listed outside of the UK, initiating a number of overseas holdings over the year. We have looked to invest in companies that not only offer the potential for strong capital and income growth, but also that add economic exposures we are unable to find in the UK.

 

As an example, we introduced Swiss listed Tecan, a company which provides instruments and solutions that help automate manually repetitive workflow in research labs for the life science and diagnostic markets. It benefits from favourable structural demand trends and has significant opportunity to expand geographically, which we expect to be reflected in higher earnings and dividends in the upcoming years. The business has the appealing features of a recurring revenue base, an asset light model and a strong balance sheet.

 

We subscribed to the initial public offering of GIMA TT, an Italian listed maker of packaging machines for the tobacco industry with a particularly strong niche in next generation products, a segment with significant growth potential.  The company runs with a strong balance sheet, and we believe the projected growth in earnings will translate to increased dividends. In addition we initiated new positions in Amplifon, GrandVision, SGS, Edenred and Heineken earlier in the year, as we detailed in the Half-Yearly Report.

 

While it has been an active year for new holdings, we have also added capital selectively to existing positions where we continue to see attractive prospects, for example Manx Telecom, BBA Aviation, Chesnara and Croda. We added to the holdings in Novo Nordisk and Rotork on relative price weakness, and Assura and Ultra Electronics as part of equity raisings.

 

To fund these purchases, we exited the holdings of Berendsen, Elementis, Pearson and Capita.  Berendsen was acquired by French peer Elis while Elementis made a significant acquisition that took its balance sheet into an indebted position reducing the prospects for a special dividend for the foreseeable future.  In combination with reservations we had over the deal and a rerating of the shares, we decided to exit on strength.

 

Pearson has been a difficult holding for us in recent years. Although management has outlined what they believe the business will look like over the upcoming years, there is a significant amount of estimation involved. Not only is the business engaged in a very significant restructuring but the changes that are occurring, particularly in the US higher education market, make it difficult to have confidence in the prospects even if they do make the transition they are seeking to achieve. Therefore we took the decision to sell and invest the capital into holdings with a clearer outlook.

 

Negative trading updates from Capita in the latter part of 2016 made it apparent that the environment had become more challenging and during 2017 we became increasingly cautious on a number of issues including the risk of further earnings shortfalls, the need for further investment in the business, a weakening balance sheet and the potential for a cut in the dividend. We exited, and our concerns proved founded at the beginning of 2018 when the new CEO released an update announcing a suspension of the dividend and plans to raise equity to further shore up the balance sheet.

 

Corporate Engagement

An integral part of the responsibility of share ownership is corporate engagement and addressing the governance and risk controls of the companies we hold.  It is an element of investing that we embrace at Aberdeen Standard Investments and it aligns well with our long term investment horizon. The investment team takes full responsibility, helped by expert advisors within the group. In addition to the hundreds of visits each year with executive teams, we frequently engage with non-executive board members, risk officers and other relevant personnel from companies.  We also regularly attend annual general meetings, seeing this as a unique opportunity to meet and pose questions to the full board, and often we are the only institution in attendance.

 

An important development in the previous financial year was to directly incorporate our Environmental and Social analysis into the core of our day to day investment process and bring responsible investing into the fabric of the team as opposed to sitting in a separate unit. This is proving an effective initiative, adding a similar focus on these issues to that which we have long applied to governance. We are paying more attention to how the companies we own identify environmental and social risks to their long term prospects, and have found that companies who manage these risks well and place high importance on responsible business practices are those that are best set to produce positive business results.

 

Outlook

UK equity market performance over the last year has been robust, helped by a broader global growth dynamic, continued loose monetary policies and, so far, relatively limited disjoint from Brexit. The environment continues to be one where companies can trade successfully, although we are cautious that significant domestic political and economic uncertainty remain. While the outlook for corporate earnings remains positive, a key consideration will be the prospect of rising interest rates and their impact on equity valuations. How these two dynamics interplay is likely to be a key determinant of returns in the years ahead. The development of Sterling against the Euro and, in particular, the US Dollar will also be important in influencing the performance of the portfolio.

 

Your company is likely to prosper in absolute terms from any overall weakness of Sterling and particularly from outperformance from the Euro. If Sterling was to strengthen in a meaningful way then that would likely be a headwind. Likewise, an environment of rapidly rising interest rates would also be a significant headwind to portfolio returns.  However, we believe that the portfolio also has much to gain from a more modest upward adjustment accompanied by faster global growth given its international exposure and ownership of companies with pricing power.

 

Overall, we believe your company is well positioned for the medium term, with low levels of equity gearing, substantial revenue reserves and a positive outlook for underlying earnings growth. Alongside this, we remain committed to a long term perspective, where we focus on holding high quality businesses whose market positions, competitive advantages, growth prospects and balance sheets afford them the best opportunity to prosper. The composition of the portfolio will continue to evolve, and despite the level of equity valuations, we still see a number of good investment opportunities open to us that will enhance the portfolio's income growth and capital return prospects.

 

Ben Ritchie and Louise Kernohan

Aberdeen Asset Managers Limited

28 March 2018

 

 



DIRECTORS' REPORT (EXTRACT)

 

The Directors present their report and the audited financial statements for the year ended 31 January 2018.

 

Results and Dividends

The financial statements for the year ended 31 January 2018 are contained below. First, second and third interim dividends, each of 2.575p per Ordinary share, were paid on 25 August 2017, 24 November 2017 and 23 February 2018 respectively. The Directors now recommend a final dividend of 4.375p per Ordinary share payable on 30 May 2018 to shareholders on the register on 4 May 2018. The ex-dividend date is 3 May 2018. A resolution in respect of the final dividend will be proposed at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting.

 

Investment Trust Status

The Company is registered as a public limited company (registered in Scotland No. SC000881) and is an investment company within the meaning of Section 833 of the Companies Act 2006. The Company has been approved by HM Revenue & Customs as an investment trust subject to it continuing to meet the relevant eligibility conditions of Section 1158 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010 and the ongoing requirements of Part 2 Chapter 3 Statutory Instrument 2011/2999 for all financial years commencing on or after 1 February 2012.  The Directors are of the opinion that the Company has conducted its affairs for the year ended 31 January 2018 so as to enable it to comply with the ongoing requirements for investment trust status.

 

Individual Savings Accounts

The Company has conducted its affairs in such a way as to satisfy the requirements as a qualifying security for Individual Savings Accounts. The Directors intend that the Company will continue to conduct its affairs in this manner.

 

Capital Structure

The issued Ordinary share capital at 31 January 2018 consisted of 149,679,687 Ordinary shares of 25p and 3,998,248 Ordinary shares held in treasury. During the year, the Company purchased 833,000 Ordinary shares to he held in treasury. Since the end of the year, the Company has purchased a further 183,430 Ordinary shares to be held in treasury and, at the date of approval of this Report, there were 149,496,257 Ordinary shares of 25p in issue and 4,181,678 Ordinary shares held in treasury.

 

Voting Rights

Each Ordinary share holds one voting right and shareholders are entitled to vote on all resolutions which are proposed at general meetings of the Company. The Ordinary shares, excluding treasury shares, carry a right to receive dividends.  On a winding up or other return of capital, after meeting the liabilities of the Company, the surplus assets will be paid to Ordinary shareholders in proportion to their shareholdings.

There are no restrictions on the transfer of Ordinary shares in the Company other than certain restrictions which may from

time to time be imposed by law.

 

Management Agreement

The Company has appointed Aberdeen Fund Managers Limited ("AFML"), a wholly owned subsidiary of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, as its alternative investment fund manager.  AFML has been appointed to provide investment management, risk management, administration and company secretarial services as well as promotional activities.  The Company's portfolio is managed by Aberdeen Asset Managers Limited ("AAML") by way of a group delegation agreement in place between AFML and AAML.  In addition, AFML has sub-delegated administrative and secretarial services to Aberdeen Asset Management PLC and promotional activities to AAML. Details of the management fees and fees payable for promotional activities are shown in notes 4 and 5 to the financial statements.

 

The management agreement is terminable on not less than six months' notice. In the event of termination by the Company on less than the agreed notice period, compensation is payable to the Manager in lieu of the unexpired notice period.

 

Substantial Interests

As at 31 January 2018, the following interests in the issued Ordinary share capital of the Company had been disclosed in accordance with the requirements of the FCA's Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules:

 

Shareholder

Number of shares held

% heldB

Aberdeen Asset Managers Limited Retail PlansA

35,105,837

23.4

1607 Capital Partners LLC

14,471,994

9.6

D C Thomson & Company Ltd

5,900,000

3.9

A Non-beneficial interest

Based on 149,679,687 Ordinary shares in issue as at 31 January 2018

 

There have been no changes notified to the Company as at the date of approval of this Report.

 

Corporate Governance

The Company is committed to high standards of corporate governance. The Board is accountable to the Company's shareholders for good governance and this statement describes how the Company has applied the principles identified in the UK Corporate Governance Code (the "UK Code"), as published in April 2016 and effective for financial years commencing on or after 17 June 2016,  which is available on the Financial Reporting Council's website: frc.org.uk.

 

The Board has also considered the principles and recommendations of the AIC Code of Corporate Governance as published in July 2016 (the "AIC Code") by reference to the AIC Corporate Governance Guide for Investment Companies (the "AIC Guide"). The AIC Code, as explained by the AIC Guide, addresses all the principles set out in the UK Code, as well as setting out additional principles and recommendations on issues that are of specific relevance to investment trusts. The AIC Code and AIC Guide are available on the AIC's website: theaic.co.uk.

 

The Board considers that reporting in accordance with the principles and recommendations of the AIC Code, and by reference to the AIC Guide (which incorporates the UK Code), will provide better information to shareholders.

 

The Board confirms that, during the year, the Company complied with the recommendations of the AIC Code and the relevant provisions of the UK Code, except as set out below.

 

The UK Code includes provisions relating to:

 

-           the role of the chief executive (A.1.2);

-           executive directors' remuneration (D.1.1 and D.1.2);

-           the need for an internal audit function (C.3.6).

 

For the reasons set out in the AIC Guide, and as explained in the UK Code, the Board considers that these provisions are not relevant to the position of the Company, being an externally managed investment company. In particular, all of the Company's day-to-day management and administrative functions are outsourced to third parties. As a result, the Company has no executive directors, employees or internal operations. The Company has therefore not reported further in respect of these provisions. 

 

The full text of the Company's Corporate Governance Statement can be found on its website.

 

Directors

During the year, the Board comprised five non-executive Directors, each of which is considered by the Board to be independent of the Company and the Manager.  David Barron is the Chairman. Each Director has the requisite high level and range of business and financial experience which enables the Board to provide clear and effective leadership and proper governance of the Company.

 

The Directors attended scheduled Board and Committee meetings during the year ended 31 January 2018 as follows (with their eligibility to attend the relevant meetings in brackets):

 

Director

Scheduled

Board Meetings

Audit Committee
 Meetings

Management
 Engagement
 Committee
Meetings

Nomination and Remuneration Committee Meetings

David Barron

5 (5)

3 (3)

1 (1)

1 (1)

John Carson

5 (5)

3 (3)

 1 (1)

1 (1)

Catherine Claydon

5 (5)

3 (3)

 1 (1)

1 (1)

Jasper Judd

5 (5)

3 (3)

1 (1)

1 (1)

Elisabeth Scott

5 (5)

3 (3)

 1 (1)

1 (1)

 

The Board meets more frequently when business needs require.

 

Elisabeth Scott retires by rotation at the Annual General Meeting and, being eligible, offer herself for re-election. The Board believes that Elisabeth Scott remains independent of the Manager and free from any relationship which could materially interfere with the exercise of her judgement on issues of strategy, performance, resources and standards of conduct. In addition, the Board confirms that, following a formal performance evaluation, her performance continues to be effective and demonstrates commitment to the role. The Board therefore recommends the re-election of Ms Scott at the Annual General Meeting.

 

Having served as a Director for more than ten years, John Carson will retire at the Annual General Meeting and will not seek re-election.

 

Since the end of the year, the Board has announced that Howard Williams will be appointed as an independent non-executive Director with effect from 1 April 2018. The Board engaged the services of an independent search consultant, Webster Partners Limited, for the purpose of the appointment. The Board considers that Mr Williams has the range of skills and experience needed to complement those of the other Directors and the Board therefore recommends his election at the Annual General Meeting.

 

Directors' and Officers' Liability Insurance

The Company maintains insurance in respect of Directors' and Officers' liabilities in relation to their acts on behalf of the Company. Each Director is entitled to be indemnified out of the assets of the Company to the extent permitted by law against any loss or liability incurred by him or her in the execution of his or her duties in relation to the affairs of the Company.  These rights are included in the Articles of Association of the Company.

 

Management of Conflicts of Interest

The Board has a procedure in place to deal with a situation where a Director has a conflict of interest. As part of this process, each Director prepares a list of other positions held and all other conflict situations that may need to be authorised either in relation to the Director concerned or his or her connected persons. The Board considers each Director's situation and decides whether to approve any conflict, taking into consideration what is in the best interests of the Company and whether the Director's ability to act in accordance with his or her wider duties is affected. Each Director is required to notify the Company Secretary of any potential, or actual, conflict situations that will need authorising by the Board. Authorisations given by the Board are reviewed at each Board meeting.

 

No Director has a service contract with the Company although all Directors are issued with letters of appointment. There were no contracts during, or at the end of the year, in which any Director was interested.

 

The Board takes a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and has adopted appropriate procedures designed to prevent bribery. The Manager also takes a zero-tolerance approach and has its own detailed policy and procedures in place to prevent bribery and corruption.

 

Going Concern

The Company's assets consist mainly of equity shares in companies listed on the London Stock Exchange and in most circumstances are realisable within a short timescale.  The Board has set limits for borrowing and derivative contract positions and regularly reviews actual exposures, cash flow projections and compliance with loan covenants.  The Company has a £25 million multi-currency revolving credit facility agreement which expires on 15 July 2018 and the Board expects it to be renewed on similar terms. The Directors believe that the Company has adequate financial resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future and for at least twelve months from the date of this Report. Accordingly, they continue to adopt the going concern basis of accounting in preparing the financial statements.

 

Accountability and Audit

Each Director confirms that, so far as he or she is aware, there is no relevant audit information of which the Company's auditor is unaware, and they have taken all the steps that they could reasonably be expected to have taken as Directors in order to make themselves aware of any relevant audit information and to establish that the Company's auditor is aware of that information.

 

Independent Auditor

Following a formal tender process conducted during the previous year, Deloitte LLP was appointed as the Company's auditor for the audit of the financial statements for the year ending 31 January 2018. Deloitte LLP has indicated its willingness to remain in office. The Board will propose resolutions at the Annual General Meeting to appoint Deloitte LLP as auditor for the ensuing year and to authorise the Directors to determine its remuneration.

 

Relations with Shareholders

The Directors place a great deal of importance on communications with shareholders. Shareholders and investors may obtain up to date information on the Company through its website and the Manager's information service.

 

The Board's policy is to communicate directly with shareholders and their representative bodies without the involvement of the management group (including the Company Secretary or the Manager) in situations where direct communication is required, and representatives from the Board meet with major shareholders on an annual basis in order to gauge their views. In addition, the Company Secretary only acts on behalf of the Board, not the Manager, and there is no filtering of communication. At each Board meeting the Board receives full details of any communication from shareholders to which the Chairman responds personally as appropriate.

 

The notice of the Annual General Meeting is sent out at least 20 working days in advance of the meeting. All shareholders have the opportunity to put questions to the Board and Manager at the meeting.

 

Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Company has no greenhouse gas emissions to report from its operations, nor does it have responsibility for any other emissions producing sources under the Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors' Reports) Regulations 2013.

 

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting will be held at the offices of Aberdeen Standard Investments, Bow Bells House, 1 Bread Street, London EC4M 9HH on Thursday 24 May 2018 at 12 noon.

 

By order of the Board

Aberdeen Asset Management PLC

Company Secretary

40 Princes Street

Edinburgh EH2 2BY

28 March 2018

 

 



STATEMENT OF DIRECTORS' RESPONSIBILITIES

 

The Directors are responsible for preparing the Annual Report and the financial statements in accordance with applicable law and regulations.  Company law requires the Directors to prepare financial statements for each financial year. Under that law the Directors have elected to prepare the financial statements in accordance with UK Accounting Standards, including FRS 102 'The Financial Reporting Standard Applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland'.

 

Under Company law the Directors must not approve the financial statements unless they are satisfied that they give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Company and of the profit or loss of the Company for that period. 

 

In preparing these financial statements, the Directors are required to: 

 

-           select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently; 

-           make judgments and estimates that are reasonable and prudent;

-           state whether applicable UK Accounting Standards have been followed, subject to any material departures disclosed and explained in the financial statements; and 

-           prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the Company will continue in business.  

 

The Directors are responsible for keeping proper accounting records that disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the Company and enable them to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Companies Act 2006. They have general responsibility for taking such steps as are reasonably open to them to safeguard the assets of the Company and to prevent and detect fraud and other irregularities. 

 

Under applicable law and regulations, the Directors are also responsible for preparing a Strategic Report, Directors' Report, Directors' Remuneration Report and Statement of Corporate Governance that comply with that law and those regulations. 

 

The Directors are responsible for the maintenance and integrity of the corporate and financial information included on the Company's website, but not for the content of any information included on the website that has been prepared or issued by third parties. Legislation in the UK governing the preparation and dissemination of financial statements may differ from legislation in other jurisdictions.

 

The Directors confirm that to the best of their knowledge:

 

-           the financial statements have been prepared in accordance with applicable accounting standards and  give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss of the Company; and

-           in the opinion of the Directors, the Annual Report taken as a whole, is fair, balanced and understandable and it provides the information necessary to assess the Company's position and performance, business model and strategy; and

-           the Strategic Report and Directors' Report include a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of the Company, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties that the Company faces.

 

On behalf of the Board

David Barron

Chairman

28 March 2018

 

 



STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME

 



Year ended 31 January 2018

Year ended 31 January 2017



Revenue

Capital

Total

Revenue

Capital

Total


Notes

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

Gains on investments

10

-

30,708

30,708

-

50,712

50,712

Currency losses


-

(217)

(217)

-

(494)

(494)

Income

3

22,317

-

22,317

21,963

-

21,963

Investment management fee

4

(687)

(1,030)

(1,717)

(630)

(945)

(1,575)

Administrative expenses

5

(954)

-

(954)

(932)

-

(932)



______

______

______

______

______

______

Net return before finance costs and taxation


20,676

29,461

50,137

20,401

49,273

69,674









Finance costs

6

(1,445)

(2,159)

(3,604)

(1,445)

(2,165)

(3,610)



______

______

______

______

______

______

Return before taxation


19,231

27,302

46,533

18,956

47,108

66,064









Taxation

7

(262)

-

(262)

(57)

-

(57)



______

______

______

______

______

______

Return after taxation


18,969

27,302

46,271

18,899

47,108

66,007



______

______

______

______

______

______









Return per Ordinary share (pence)

9

12.64

18.19

30.83

12.55

31.28

43.83



______

______

______

______

______

______









The column of this statement headed "Total" represents the profit and loss account of the Company.

All revenue and capital items in the above statement derive from continuing operations.

The accompanying notes are an integral part of the financial statements.

 

 



STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION  

 

 



As at

31 January 2018

As at

 31 January 2017


Notes

£'000

£'000

Non-current assets




Equity securities


477,015

441,202

Fixed interest securities


28,246

29,462



_________

_________

Investments at fair value through profit or loss

10

505,261

470,664



_________

_________

Current assets




Debtors

11

2,022

7,030

Cash and cash equivalents


5,983

8,648



_________

_________



8,005

15,678



_________

_________

Creditors: amounts falling due within one year




Bank loan

12

(11,476)

(11,253)

Other creditors

12

(1,107)

(1,003)



_________

_________



(12,583)

(12,256)



_________

_________

Net current (liabilities)/assets


(4,578)

3,422



_________

_________

Total assets less current liabilities


500,683

474,086





Creditors: amounts falling due after more than one year

13

(58,299)

(58,276)



_________

_________

Net assets


442,384

415,810



_________

_________

Capital and reserves




Called-up share capital

14

38,419

38,419

Share premium account


4,619

4,619

Capital redemption reserve


1,606

1,606

Capital reserve


370,634

345,486

Revenue reserve


27,106

25,680



_________

_________

Equity shareholders' funds


442,384

415,810



_________

_________





Net asset value per Ordinary share (pence)

16

295.55

276.26



_________

_________

 

 

STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN EQUITY

 

 

 

For the year ended 31 January 2018











Share

Capital






Share

premium

redemption

Capital

Revenue




capital

account

reserve

reserve

reserve

Total


Notes

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

Balance at 31 January 2017


38,419

4,619

1,606

345,486

25,680

415,810

Return after taxation


-

-

-

27,302

18,969

46,271

Dividends paid

8

-

-

-

-

(17,543)

(17,543)

Buyback of Ordinary shares for treasury


-

-

-

(2,154)

-

(2,154)



______

______

______

______

______

______

Balance at 31 January 2018


38,419

4,619

1,606

370,634

27,106

442,384



______

______

______

______

______

______









For the year ended 31 January 2017











Share

Capital






Share

premium

redemption

Capital

Revenue




capital

account

reserve

reserve

reserve

Total


Notes

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

Balance at 31 January 2016


38,419

4,619

1,606

299,437

23,960

368,041

Return after taxation


-

-

-

47,108

18,899

66,007

Dividends paid

8

-

-

-

-

(17,179)

(17,179)

Buyback of Ordinary shares for treasury


-

-

-

(1,059)

-

(1,059)



______

______

______

______

______

______

Balance at 31 January 2017


38,419

4,619

1,606

345,486

25,680

415,810



______

______

______

______

______

______









The Revenue reserve and the part of the Capital reserve represented by realised capital gains represent the amount of the Company's reserves distributable by way of dividend.

 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of the financial statements.

 

 



STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS

 



Year ended

Year ended



 31 January 2018

 31 January 2017


Notes

£'000

£'000

Operating activities




Net return before finance costs and taxation


50,137

69,674

Adjustment for:




Gains on investments


(30,708)

(50,712)

Currency losses


217

494

Increase in accrued dividend income


(316)

(88)

(Increase)/decrease in accrued interest income


(33)

138

Stock dividends included in dividend income


(1,009)

(2,424)

Amortisation of fixed income book cost


362

352

(Increase)/decrease in other debtors, excluding tax


(8)

6

Decrease in other creditors


(127)

(125)

Net tax paid


(424)

(91)



______

______

Net cash flow from operating activities


18,091

17,224





Investing activities




Purchases of investments


(80,500)

(66,492)

Sales of investments


83,013

79,097



______

______

Net cash from investing activities


2,513

12,605





Financing activities




Interest paid


(3,578)

(3,587)

Dividends paid

8

(17,543)

(17,179)

Buyback of Ordinary shares for treasury


(2,154)

(1,059)

Repayment of loan


-

(6,000)

Draw down of loan


-

5,878

Issue of Loan Notes


-

(18)



______

______

Net cash used in financing activities


(23,275)

(21,965)



______

______

(Decrease)/increase in cash and cash equivalents


(2,671)

7,864



______

______

Analysis of changes in cash and cash equivalents during the year



Opening balance


8,648

568

Effect of exchange rate fluctuations on cash held


6

216

(Decrease)/increase in cash as above


(2,671)

7,864



______

______

Closing balance


5,983

8,648



______

______

 

 

NOTES TO THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 JANUARY 2018

 

1.

Principal activity


The Company is a closed-end investment company, registered in Scotland No. SC000881, with its Ordinary shares being listed on the London Stock Exchange.

 

2.

Accounting policies


(a)

Basis of preparation and going concern



The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with Financial Reporting Standard 102 and with the Statement of Recommended Practice 'Financial Statements of Investment Trust Companies and Venture Capital Trusts' issued in November 2014 and updated in January 2017 with consequential amendments. The financial statements are prepared in sterling which is the functional currency of the Company and rounded to the nearest £'000. They have also been prepared on a going concern basis and on the assumption that approval as an investment trust will continue to be granted.






The Directors have, at the time of approving the financial statements, a reasonable expectation that the Company has adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future. Thus they continue to adopt the going concern basis of accounting in preparing the financial statements. Further detail is included in the Directors' Report (unaudited).






Critical accounting judgements and key sources of estimation uncertainty



The preparation of financial statements requires the use of certain significant accounting judgements, estimates and assumptions which requires management to exercise its judgement in the process of applying the accounting policies and are continually evaluated. The Board considers that there are no accounting judgements, estimates and assumptions which would significantly impact the financial statements.





(b)

Revenue, expenses and interest payable



Income from equity investments (other than special dividends), including taxes deducted at source, is included in revenue by reference to the date on which the investment is quoted ex-dividend. Special dividends are credited to revenue or capital according to the circumstances. Foreign income is converted at the exchange rate applicable at the time of receipt. Interest receivable on short term deposits and expenses are accounted for on an accruals basis. Income from underwriting commission is recognised as earned. Interest payable is calculated on an effective yield basis. Stock lending income is recognised on an accruals basis.






The fixed returns on debt securities are recognised on a time apportionment basis so as to reflect the effective yield on the debt securities.






Underwriting commission is taken to revenue, unless any shares underwritten are required to be taken up, in which case the proportionate commission received is deducted from the cost of the investment.






Expenses are charged to capital when they are incurred in connection with the maintenance or enhancement of the value of investments. In this respect, the investment management fee and relevant finance costs including the amortisation of expenses and premium related to the debenture issue and loan note placement are allocated between revenue and capital in line with the Board's expectation of returns from the Company's investments over the long-term of 40% to revenue and 60% to capital.





(c)

Investments



Investments have been designated upon initial recognition as fair value through profit or loss. Investments are recognised and de-recognised at trade date where a purchase or sale is under a contract whose terms require delivery within the timeframe established by the market concerned, and are measured initially at fair value. Subsequent to initial recognition, investments are recognised at fair value through profit or loss. For listed investments, this is deemed to be bid market prices or closing prices for SETS stocks sourced from the London Stock Exchange. SETS is the London Stock Exchange electronic trading service covering most of the market including all FTSE All-Share and the most liquid AIM constituents. Gains or losses arising from changes in fair value are included in net profit or loss for the period as a capital item in the Statement of Comprehensive Income.





(d)

Dividends payable



Dividends payable to equity shareholders are recognised in the financial statements when they have been approved by Shareholders and become a liability of the Company. Interim dividends are recognised in the financial statements in the period in which they are paid.





(e)

Nature and purpose of reserves



Called-up share capital



The Ordinary share capital on the Statement of Financial Position relates to the number of shares in issue and in treasury. Only when the shares are cancelled, either from treasury or directly, is a transfer made to the capital redemption reserve.






Share premium account



The balance classified as share premium includes the premium above nominal value from the proceeds on issue of any equity share capital comprising Ordinary shares of 25p.






Capital redemption reserve



The capital redemption reserve is used to record the amount equivalent to the nominal value of any of the Company's own shares purchased and cancelled in order to maintain the Company's capital.






Capital reserve



Gains or losses on disposal of investments and changes in fair values of investments are transferred to the capital reserve. The capital element of the management fee and relevant finance costs are charged to this reserve. Any associated tax relief is also credited to this reserve. The part of this reserve represented by realised capital gains is available for distribution by way of dividend.






The costs of share buybacks to be held in treasury are also deducted from this reserve.






Revenue reserve



Income and expenses which are recognised in the revenue column of the Statement of Comprehensive Income are transferred to the revenue reserve. The revenue reserve is available for distribution by way of dividend.





(f)

Taxation



The charge for taxation is based on the profit for the year and takes into account taxation deferred because of timing differences between the treatment of certain items for taxation and accounting purposes.






Owing to the Company's status as an investment trust, and the intention to continue meeting the conditions required to obtain approval in the foreseeable future, the Company has not provided deferred tax on any capital gains and losses arising on the revaluation or disposal of investments.





(g)

Foreign currency



Monetary assets and liabilities and non-monetary assets held at fair value denominated in foreign currencies are converted into sterling at the rate of exchange ruling at the reporting date. Transactions during the year involving foreign currencies are converted at the rate of exchange ruling at the transaction date. Gains or losses arising from a change in exchange rates subsequent to the date of a transaction are included as a currency gain or loss in revenue or capital in the Statement of Comprehensive Income, depending on whether the gain or loss is of a revenue or capital nature. The Company receives a proportion of its investment income in foreign currency. These amounts are translated at the rate ruling on the date of receipt.





(h)

Traded options



The Company may enter into certain derivative contracts (e.g. options). Option contracts are accounted for as separate derivative contracts and are therefore shown in other assets or other liabilities at their fair value. The initial fair value is based on the initial premium, which is recognised upfront. The premium received and fair value changes in the open position which occur due to the movement in underlying securities are recognised in the revenue column, losses realised on the exercise of the contracts are recorded in the capital column of the Statement of Comprehensive Income.






In addition, the Company may enter into derivative contracts to manage market risk and gains or losses arising on such contracts are recorded in the capital column of the Statement of Comprehensive Income.





(i)

Borrowings



Borrowings are measured initially at the fair value of the consideration received, net of any issue expenses, and subsequently at amortised cost using the effective interest method. The finance costs of such borrowings are accounted for on an accruals basis using the effective interest rate method and are charged 40% to revenue and 60% to capital in the Statement of Comprehensive Income to reflect the Company's investment policy and prospective income and capital growth. 

 



2018

2017

3.

Income

£'000

£'000


Income from investments




UK dividend income

15,383

13,417


Overseas dividends

3,203

2,952


Fixed income

1,290

1,388


Stock dividends

1,009

2,424



______

______



20,885

20,181



______

______


Other income




Deposit interest

-

50


Income on derivatives

1,413

1,720


Underwriting commission

5

-


Income from stock lending

14

12



______

______



1,432

1,782



______

______


Total income

22,317

21,963



______

______






During the year, the Company earned premiums totalling £1,413,000 (2017 - £1,720,000) in exchange for entering into derivative transactions. The Company had no open positions in derivative contracts at 31 January 2018 (2017 - no open positions). Losses realised on the exercise of derivative transactions are disclosed in note 10.

 



2018

2017



Revenue

Capital

Total

Revenue

Capital

Total

4.

Management fee

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000


Management fee

687

1,030

1,717

630

945

1,575



______

______

______

______

______

______










The Company has an agreement with Aberdeen Fund Managers Limited ("AFML") for the provision of investment management, risk management, accounting, administrative and secretarial services. The management fee is calculated and charged, on a monthly basis, at 0.45% per annum on the first £225 million, 0.35% per annum on the next £200 million and 0.25% per annum on amounts over £425 million per annum of the net assets of the Company, with debt at par and excluding commonly managed funds. The balance due at the year end was £nil (2017 - £139,000). The management fee is allocated 40% to revenue and 60% to capital. There were no commonly managed funds held in the portfolio during the year to 31 January 2018 (2017 - none).




The management agreement may be terminated by either party on six months' written notice.

 



2018

2017

5.

Administrative expenses

£'000

£'000


Directors' fees

126

148


Auditor's remuneration (excluding irrecoverable VAT):




fees payable to the Company's auditor for the audit of the Company's annual accounts (2017 - KPMG)

19

17


fees payable to the Company's auditor for other services (2017 - KPMG)





- interim review

6

6



- other services

1

1


Promotional activities

372

372


Registrar's fees

45

45


Share plan fees

72

68


Printing and postage

49

50


Other expenses

264

225



______

______



954

932



______

______






Expenses of £372,000 (2017 - £372,000) were paid to AFML in respect of the promotion of the Company. The balance outstanding at the year end was £31,000 (2017 - £31,000).




All of the expenses above, with the exception of auditor's remuneration, include irrecoverable VAT where applicable. The VAT charged on the auditor's remuneration is disclosed within other expenses.

 



2018

2017



Revenue

Capital

Total

Revenue

Capital

Total

6.

Finance costs

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000


Bank loan

50

75

125

54

81

135


Debenture Stock

901

1,352

2,253

901

1,352

2,253


Amortised Debenture Stock premium and issue expenses

5

8

13

5

8

13


Loan Notes - repayable after more than 5 years

479

718

1,197

479

718

1,197


Amortised Loan Notes issue expenses

4

6

10

4

6

10


Bank overdraft

6

-

6

2

-

2



______

______

______

______

______

______



1,445

2,159

3,604

1,445

2,165

3,610



______

______

______

______

______

______










Finance costs (excluding bank overdraft interest) are allocated 40% to revenue and 60% to capital. 

 




2018



2017




Revenue

Capital

Total

Revenue

Capital

Total

7.

Taxation

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000


(a)

Analysis of charge for the year









Overseas tax suffered

498

498

224

224



Overseas tax reclaimable

(236)

(236)

(167)

(167)




______

______

______

______

______

______



Total tax charge for the year

262

262

57

57




______

______

______

______

______

______





(b)

Factors affecting the tax charge for the year



The UK corporation tax rate was reduced from 20% to 19% with effect from 1 April 2017, giving an effective standard rate for the year of 19.17% (2017 - standard rate of 20%). The tax assessed for the year is higher than the rate of corporation tax. The differences are explained below:














2018



2017





Revenue

Capital

Total

Revenue

Capital

Total




£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000



Return before taxation

19,231

27,302

46,533

18,956

47,108

66,064




______

______

______

______

______

______



Corporation tax at 19.17% (2017 - 20%)

3,687

5,234

8,921

3,791

9,422

13,213



Effects of:









Non-taxable UK dividend income

(2,948)

(2,948)

(2,683)

(2,683)



Non-taxable stock dividends

(194)

(194)

(485)

(485)



Capital gains on investments not taxable

(5,887)

(5,887)

(10,143)

(10,143)



Currency losses not taxable

42

42

99

99



Overseas taxes

262

262

57

57



Non-taxable overseas dividends

(551)

(551)

(560)

(560)



Corporate interest restriction

123

184

307



Excess management expenses

(117)

427

310

(61)

622

561



Prior year adjustment

(2)

(2)




______

______

______

______

______

______



Total tax charge

262

262

57

57




______

______

______

______

______

______











(c)

Factors that may affect future tax charges



At the year end, the Company has, for taxation purposes only, accumulated unrelieved management expenses and loan relationship deficits of £121,573,000 (2017 - £119,957,000). A deferred tax asset in respect of this has not been recognised and these unrelieved expenses will only be utilised if the Company has profits chargeable to corporation tax in the future.

 



2018

2017

8.

Ordinary dividends on equity shares

£'000

£'000


Amounts recognised as distributions paid during the year:




Third interim dividend for 2017 - 2.575p (2016 - 2.575p)

3,876

3,888


Final dividend for 2017 - 3.975p (2016 - 3.675p)

5,969

5,539


First interim dividend for 2018 - 2.575p (2017 - 2.575p)

3,865

3,876


Second interim dividend for 2018 - 2.575p (2017 - 2.575p)

3,865

3,876


Return of unclaimed dividends

(32)

-



______

______



17,543

17,179



______

______






A third interim dividend of 2.575p per Ordinary share was declared on 16 January 2018, payable on 23 February 2018 to shareholders on the register on 2 February 2018 and has not been included as a liability in these financial statements.




The proposed final dividend is subject to approval by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting and has not been included as a liability in these financial statements.




The table below sets out the total dividends paid and proposed in respect of the financial year, which is the basis upon which the requirements of Sections 1158-1159 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010 are considered. The net revenue available for distribution by way of dividend for the year is £18,969,000 (2017 - £18,899,000).







2018

2017



£'000

£'000


First interim dividend for 2018 - 2.575p (2017 - 2.575p)

3,865

3,876


Second interim dividend for 2018 - 2.575p (2017 - 2.575p)

3,865

3,876


Third interim dividend for 2018 - 2.575p (2017 - 2.575p)

3,857

3,876


Proposed final dividend for 2018 - 4.375p (2017 - 3.975p)

6,540

5,972



______

______



18,127

17,600



______

______






183,430 Ordinary shares have been bought back since the year end and the proposed final dividend is based on the latest share capital of 149,496,257 Ordinary shares.

 



2018

2017

9.

Return per Ordinary share

£'000

p

£'000

p


Revenue return

18,969

12.64

18,899

12.55


Capital return

27,302

18.19

47,108

31.28



______

______

______

______


Total return

46,271

30.83

66,007

43.83



______

______

______

______


Weighted average number of Ordinary shares in issue


150,103,822


150,619,769




_________


_________

 



Listed

Listed



2018

2017

10.

Investments: listed at fair value through profit or loss

£'000

£'000


Opening fair value

470,664

436,012


Opening investment holding gains

(101,391)

(58,984)



______

______


Opening book cost

369,273

377,028



______

______


Purchases at cost

81,375

68,564


Sales - proceeds

(77,486)

(84,624)


Sales - realised gainsA

5,936

8,305



______

______


Closing book cost

379,098

369,273


Closing investment holdings gains

126,163

101,391



______

______


Closing fair value

505,261

470,664



______

______







2018

2017


Gains on investments

£'000

£'000


Realised gains on sales{A}

5,936

8,305


Change in investment holdings gains

24,772

42,407



______

______



30,708

50,712



______

______






A Includes losses realised on the exercise of traded options of £198,000 (2017 - £669,000). Premiums received of £1,413,000 (2017 - £1,720,000) are included within income per note 3.




Transaction costs 


During the year expenses were incurred in acquiring or disposing of investments classified as fair value through profit or loss. These have been expensed through capital and are included within gains on investments in the Statement of Comprehensive Income. The total costs were as follows:







2018

2017



£'000

£'000


Purchases

215

271


Sales

28

55



______

______



243

326



______

______



2018

2017


Stock lending

£'000

£'000


Aggregate value of securities on loan at the year end

-

4,165


Maximum aggregate value of securities on loan during the year

4,640

54,048


Fee income from stock lending

14

12



______

______




Stock lending is the temporary transfer of securities by a lender to a borrower, with an agreement by the borrower to return equivalent securities to the lender at an agreed date. Fee income is received for making the investments available to the borrower. The principal risks and rewards of holding the investments, namely the market movements in share prices and dividend income, are retained by the Company. In all cases the securities lent continue to be recognised on the Statement of Financial Position.




All stocks lent under these arrangements are fully secured by collateral. The value of the collateral held at 31 January 2018 was £nil (2017 - £4,712,000).

 



2018

2017

11.

Debtors: amounts falling due within one year

£'000

£'000


Net dividends and interest receivable

1,386

1,037


Tax recoverable

607

445


Amounts due from stockbrokers

-

5,527


Other loans and receivables

29

21



______

______



2,022

7,030



______

______

 

12.

Creditors: amounts falling due within one year

2018

2017


(a)

Bank loan

£'000

£'000



EUR 13,100,000 - 13 February 2017

-

11,253



EUR 13,100,000 - 13 February 2018

11,476

-




______

______




11,476

11,253




______

______








The Company has a multi-currency revolving credit facility agreement (which expires 15 July 2018) with Scotiabank for up to £25,000,000. At 31 January 2018 €13,100,000 had been drawn down at a rate of 0.8% (2017 - €13,100,000 at a rate of 0.8%), which matured on 13 February 2018. At the date this Report was approved €13,100,000 had been drawn down at a rate of 0.8%, maturing on 12 April 2018. The terms of the loan facility contain covenants that the adjusted asset coverage is not be less than 4.00 to 1.00 and that the minimum net assets of the Company are £200 million.









2018

2017


(b)

Other creditors

£'000

£'000



Debenture Stock, Loan Notes and bank loan interest

753

750



Amounts due to stockbrokers

228

-



Sundry creditors

126

253




______

______




1,107

1,003




______

______

 



2018

2017

13.

Creditors: amounts falling due after more than one year

£'000

£'000


7⅞% Debenture Stock 2019

28,600

28,600


Unamortised Debenture Stock premium and issue expenses

(16)

(29)



______

______


Amortised cost of Debenture Stock

28,584

28,571



______

______


3.99% Loan Notes 2045

30,000

30,000


Unamortised Loan Note issue expenses

(285)

(295)



______

______


Amortised cost of Loan Notes

29,715

29,705



______

______


Total

58,299

58,276



______

______






The 7⅞% Debenture Stock was issued in 1997 and is due to be redeemed at par on 30 April 2019. Interest is payable in half-yearly instalments in April and October. The Debenture Stock is secured by a floating charge over the whole of the assets of the Company. The Company has complied with the Debenture Stock Trust Deed covenant  that total borrowings should not be greater than adjusted capital and reserves throughout the year and up to the date this Report was signed.




The 3.99% Loan Notes were issued in December 2015 and are due to be redeemed at par on 8 December 2045. Interest is payable in half-yearly instalments in June and December. The Loan Notes are secured by a floating charge over the whole of the assets of the Company. The Company has complied with the Loan Note Trust Deed covenant that total net borrowings (ie. after the deduction of cash balances) should not exceed 33% of the Company's net asset value and that the Company's net asset value should not be less than £200 million.




The fair value of the Debenture Stock as at 31 January 2018 was £30,684,000 (2017 - £32,547,000), the value being calculated per the disclosure in note 17. The effect on the net asset value of deducting the Debenture Stock at fair value rather than at par is disclosed in note 16.




The fair value of the Loan Notes as at 31 January 2018 was £35,069,000 (2017 - £34,637,000), the value being calculated per the disclosure in note 17. The effect on the net asset value of deducting the Loan Notes at fair value rather than at par is disclosed in note 16.

 



2018

2017

14.

Called-up share capital

£'000

£'000


Allotted, called up and fully paid:




149,679,687 (2017 - 150,512,687) Ordinary shares of 25p each - equity

37,420

37,628


Treasury shares:




3,998,248 (2017 - 3,165,248) Ordinary shares of 25p each - equity

999

791



______

______



38,419

38,419



______

______






The Ordinary share capital on the Statement of Financial Position relates to the number of shares in issue and in treasury. Only when the shares are cancelled, either from treasury or directly, is a transfer made to the capital redemption reserve.




During the year the Company repurchased 833,000 Ordinary shares (2017 - 493,500) at a cost of £2,154,000 including expenses (2017 - £1,059,000). All of these shares were placed in treasury.




Since the year end 183,430 Ordinary shares of 25p each have been purchased by the Company at a total cost of £454,000. These are held in treasury.

 



2018

2017



Equity



Equity





share capital



share capital





(including

Loan

Debenture

(including

Loan

Debenture

15.

Analysis of changes in financing

 premium)

Notes

stock

 premium)

Notes

stock


during the year

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000


Opening balance at 31 January 2017

43,038

29,705

28,571

43,038

29,713

28,558


Loan Notes issue expenses

-

-

-

-

(18)

-


Movement in unamortised Debenture Stock discount and issue expenses

-

-

13

-

-

13


Movement in unamortised Loan Notes issue expenses

-

10

-

-

10

-



______

______

______

______

______

______


Closing balance at 31 January 2018

43,038

29,715

28,584

43,038

29,705

28,571



______

______

______

______

______

______

 

16.

Net asset value per share


Equity shareholders' funds have been calculated in accordance with the provisions of FRS 102. The analysis of equity shareholders' funds on the face of the Statement of Financial Position does not reflect the rights under the Articles of Association of the Ordinary shareholders on a return of assets. These rights are reflected in the net asset value and the net asset value per share attributable to Ordinary shareholders at the year end, adjusted to reflect the deduction of the Debenture Stock and Loan Notes at par. A reconciliation between the two sets of figures is as follows:







2018

2017


Net assets attributable (£'000)

442,384

415,810


Number of Ordinary shares in issue at year endA

149,679,687

150,512,687


Net asset value per Ordinary share

295.55p

276.26p



______

______


A Excluding shares held in treasury.








Adjusted net assets

2018

2017


Net assets attributable (£'000) as above

442,384

415,810


Unamortised Debenture Stock premium and issue expenses (note 13)

(16)

(29)


Unamortised Loan Note issue expenses (note 13)

(285)

(295)



______

______


Adjusted net assets attributable (£'000)

442,083

415,486



______

______


Number of Ordinary shares in issue at year endA

149,679,687

150,512,687



_________

_________


Adjusted net asset value per Ordinary share

295.35p

276.05p



______

______


A Excluding shares held in treasury.








Net assets - debt at fair value

£'000

£'000


Net assets attributable

442,384

415,810


Amortised cost Debenture Stock

28,584

28,571


Amortised cost Loan Notes

29,715

29,705


Market value Debenture Stock

(30,684)

(32,547)


Market value Loan Notes

(35,069)

(34,637)



______

______


Net assets attributable

434,930

406,902



______

______


Number of Ordinary shares in issue at the period endA

149,679,687

150,512,687



_________

_________


Net asset value per Ordinary share (debt at fair value)

290.57p

270.34p


A Excluding shares held in treasury.

______

______






Net assets - debt at fair value (capital basis)

£'000

£'000


Net assets attributable

434,930

406,902


Less: revenue return for the period

(18,969)

(18,899)


Add: interim dividends paid

7,730

7,752


Less: refund of unclaimed dividends

(32)

-



______

______


Net assets attributable

423,659

395,755



______

______


Number of Ordinary shares in issue at the period endA

149,679,687

150,512,687


Net asset value per Ordinary share (debt at fair value)

283.04p

262.94p



______

______


A Excluding shares held in treasury.



 

17.

Financial instruments and risk management


The Company's investment activities expose it to various types of financial risk associated with the financial instruments and markets in which it invests. The Company's financial instruments comprise securities and other investments, cash balances, loans and debtors and creditors that arise directly from its operations; for example, in respect of sales and purchases awaiting settlement, and debtors for accrued income. The Company also has the ability to enter into derivative transactions in the form of option contracts for the purpose of generating income and futures/options for hedging market exposures.




During the year, the Company entered into certain options contracts for the purpose of generating income. Positions closed during the year realised a loss of £198,000 (2017 - £669,000). As disclosed in note 3, the premium received and fair value changes in respect of options written in the year was £1,413,000 (2017 - £1,720,000). The largest position in derivative contracts held during the year at any given time was £510,000 (2017 - £900,000). The Company had no open positions in derivative contracts at 31 January 2018 (2017 - none).




The Board relies on Aberdeen Fund Managers Limited ("AFML" or the "Manager") for the provision of risk management activities under the terms of its management agreement with AFML (further details of which are included under note 3). The Board regularly reviews and agrees policies for managing each of the key financial risks identified with the Manager. The types of risk and the Manager's approach to the management of each type of risk, are summarised below. Such approach has been applied throughout the year and has not changed since the previous accounting period. The numerical disclosures exclude short-term debtors and creditors on the grounds that they are not considered to be material.




The Company's Manager has an independent Investment Risk department for reviewing the investment risk parameters of all core equity, fixed income and alternative asset classes on a regular basis. The department reports to the Manager's Performance Review Committee which is chaired by the Manager's Chief Investment Officer. The department's responsibility is to review and monitor ex-ante (predicted) portfolio risk and style characteristics using best practice, industry standard multi-factor models.




Risk management framework


The directors of AFML collectively assume responsibility for AFML's obligations under the AIFMD including reviewing investment performance and monitoring the Company's risk profile during the year.




AFML is a fully integrated member of the Standard Life Aberdeen Group (the "Group") which provides a variety of services and support to AFML in the conduct of its business activities, including in the oversight of the risk management framework for the Company. AFML has delegated the day to day administration of the investment policy to Aberdeen Asset Managers Limited, which is responsible for ensuring that the Company is managed within the terms of its investment guidelines and the limits set out in its pre-investment disclosures to investors (details of which can be found on the Company's website). AFML has retained responsibility for monitoring and oversight of investment performance, product risk and regulatory and operational risk for the Company.




The Manager conducts its risk oversight function through the operation of the Group's risk management processes and systems which are embedded within the Group's operations. The Group's Risk Division supports management in the identification and mitigation of risks and provides independent monitoring of the business. The Division includes Compliance, Business Risk, Market Risk, Risk Management and Legal. The team is headed up by the Group's Head of Risk, who reports to the co-Chief Executive Officers of the Group. The Risk Division achieves its objective through embedding the Risk Management Framework throughout the organisation using the Group's operational risk management system ("SWORD").




The Group's Internal Audit Department is independent of the Risk Division and reports directly to the Group's co-Chief Executive Officers and to the Audit Committee of the Group's Board of Directors. The Internal Audit Department is responsible for providing an independent assessment of the Group's control environment.




The Group's corporate governance structure is supported by several committees to assist the board of directors of Aberdeen, its subsidiaries and the Company to fulfil their roles and responsibilities. The Group's Risk Division is represented on all committees, with the exception of those committees that deal with investment recommendations. The specific goals and guidelines on the functioning of those committees are described on the committees' terms of reference.




Risk Management


The main risks the Company faces from its financial instruments are (i) market risk (comprising interest rate risk, currency risk and other price risk), (ii) liquidity risk and (iii) credit risk.




The Board regularly reviews and agrees policies for managing each of these risks. The Group's policies for managing these risks are summarised below and have been applied throughout the year. The numerical disclosures exclude short-term debtors and creditors, other than for currency disclosures.




(i)

Market risk



Market risk comprises three elements - interest rate risk, currency risk and price risk. 






Interest rate risk



Interest rate movements may affect:



-       the fair value of the investments in fixed interest rate securities;



-       the level of income receivable on cash deposits; and



-       interest payable on the Company's variable rate borrowings.






Management of the risk



The possible effects on fair value and cash flows that could arise as a result of changes in interest rates are taken into account when making investment and borrowing decisions.






The Board imposes borrowing limits to ensure gearing levels are appropriate to market conditions and reviews these on a regular basis. Borrowings comprise fixed rate, revolving, and uncommitted facilities. Details of borrowings at 31 January 2018 are shown in notes 12 and 13.






Interest risk profile



The interest rate risk profile of the portfolio of financial assets and liabilities at the Statement of Financial Position date was as follows:




Weighted







average

Weighted






period for

average






which

interest

Fixed

Floating




rate is fixed

rate

rate

rate



At 31 January 2018

Years

%

£'000

£'000



Assets







Sterling

11.62

6.36

28,246

5,983




______

______

______

______



Total assets

-

-

28,246

5,983




______

______

______

______



Liabilities







Bank loans

0.08

0.80

(11,476)

-



Loan Notes

27.87

3.99

(29,715)

-



Debenture Stock

1.25

7.87

(28,584)

-




______

______

______

______



Total liabilities

-

-

(69,775)

-




______

______

______

______










The weighted average period for which interest rates are fixed in relation to the Company's fixed interest portfolio at 12.63 years, extends significantly beyond the maturity date of the 7⅞% Debenture Stock, which matures on 30 April 2019. This is due to the large number of perpetual holdings within that portfolio which have call dates around the time of the maturity of the Debenture.







Weighted







average

Weighted






period for

average






which

interest

Fixed

Floating




rate is fixed

rate

rate

rate



At 31 January 2017

Years

%

£'000

£'000



Assets







Sterling

14.57

6.54

29,462

8,648




______

______

______

______



Total assets

-

-

29,462

8,648




______

______

______

______



Liabilities







Bank loans

0.08

0.80

(11,253)

-



Loan Notes

28.83

3.99

(29,705)

-



Debenture Stock

2.25

7.87

(28,571)

-



Total liabilities

-

-

(69,529)

-




______

______

______

______










The weighted average interest rate is based on the current yield of each asset, weighted by its market value. The weighted average interest rate on bank loans is based on the interest rate payable, weighted by the total value of the loans. The maturity dates of the Company's borrowings are shown in notes 12 and 13 to the financial statements.



The floating rate assets consist of cash deposits all earning interest at prevailing market rates.



The Company's equity portfolio and short-term debtors and creditors (excluding bank loans) have been excluded from the above tables. All financial liabilities are measured at amortised cost.






Interest rate sensitivity



Movements in interest rates would not significantly affect net assets attributable to the Company's shareholders and total profit.






Foreign currency risk



A proportion of the Company's investment portfolio is invested in overseas securities whose values are subject to fluctuation due to changes in exchange rates. In addition, the impact of changes in foreign exchange rates upon the profits of investee companies can result, indirectly, in changes in their valuations. Consequently the Statement of Financial Position can be affected by movements in exchange rates.






Management of the risk



It is not the Company's policy to hedge this risk on a continuing basis but the Company may, from time to time, match specific overseas investment with foreign currency borrowings. A proportion of the Company's borrowings, as detailed in note 12, is in foreign currency as at 31 January 2018. The revenue account is subject to currency fluctuations arising on dividends received in foreign currencies and, indirectly, due to the impact of foreign exchange rates upon the profits of investee companies. The Company does not hedge this currency risk.






Foreign currency risk exposure by currency of denomination:







  31 January 2018

  31 January 2017





Net

Total


Net

Total





monetary

currency


monetary

currency




Investments

assets

exposure

Investments

assets

exposure




£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000



Euro

58,864

(11,074)

47,790

33,656

(5,526)

28,130



Swiss Francs

27,603

719

28,322

27,535

260

27,795



Danish Krone

9,200

193

9,393

2,514

-

2,514



Sterling

409,594

(52,715)

356,879

406,959

(49,588)

357,371




______

______

______

______

______

______



Total

505,261

(62,877)

442,384

470,664

(54,854)

415,810




______

______

______

______

______

______












The asset allocation between specific markets can vary from time to time based on the Manager's opinion of the attractiveness of the individual stocks in these markets.






Foreign currency sensitivity



There is no sensitivity analysis included as the Board believes the amount exposed to foreign currency denominated monetary assets to be immaterial. Where the Company's equity investments (which are non-monetary items) are priced in a foreign currency, they have been included within the other price risk sensitivity analysis so as to show the overall level of exposure.






Price risk



Price risks (i.e. changes in market prices other than those arising from interest rate or currency risk) may affect the value of the quoted investments and traded options.






Management of the risk



It is the Board's policy to hold an appropriate spread of investments in the portfolio in order to reduce the risk arising from factors specific to a particular company or sector. Both the allocation of assets and the stock selection process act to reduce market risk. The Manager actively monitors market prices throughout the year and reports to the Board, which meets regularly in order to review investment strategy. The investments held by the Company are listed on various stock exchanges in the UK and Europe.






Price risk sensitivity



If market prices at the Statement of Financial Position date had been 10% higher while all other variables remained constant, the return attributable to Ordinary shareholders for the year ended 31 January 2018 would have increased by £50,526,000 (2017 - increase of £47,066,000) and equity reserves would have increased by the same amount. Had market prices been 10% lower the converse would apply.





(ii)

Liquidity risk



This is the risk that the Company will encounter difficulty in meeting obligations associated with financial liabilities as they fall due in line with the maturity profile analysed below. 



















More





Within

Within

Within

Within

Within

than





1 year

1-2 years

2-3 years

3-4 years

4-5 years

5 years

Total



At 31 January 2018

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000



Bank loans

11,476

-

-

-

-

-

11,476



Debenture Stock

-

28,600

-

-

-

-

28,600



Loan Notes

-

-

-

-

-

30,000

30,000



Interest cash flows on bank loans, debentures and loan notes

3,457

2,323

1,197

1,197

1,197

27,531

36,902



Cash flows on other creditors

354

-

-

-

-

-

354




______

______

______

______

______

______

______




15,287

30,923

1,197

1,197

1,197

57,531

107,332




______

______

______

______

______

______

______



















More





Within

Within

Within

Within

Within

than





1 year

1-2 years

2-3 years

3-4 years

4-5 years

5 years

Total



At 31 January 2017

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000



Bank loans

11,253

-

-

-

-

-

11,253



Debenture Stock

-

-

28,600

-

-

-

28,600



Loan Notes

-

-

-

-

-

30,000

30,000



Interest cash flows on bank loans and Debenture Stock

3,457

3,449

2,323

1,197

1,197

28,728

40,351



Cash flows on other creditors

253

-

-

-

-

-

253




______

______

______

______

______

______

______




14,963

3,449

30,923

1,197

1,197

58,728

110,457




______

______

______

______

______

______

______













Management of the risk



The Board imposes borrowing limits to ensure gearing levels are appropriate to market conditions and reviews these on a regular basis. Borrowings comprise Debenture Stock, Loan Notes and a revolving facility. The Debenture Stock and Loan Notes provide secure long-term funding while short term flexibility is achieved through the borrowing facility. It is the Board's policy to maintain a gearing level, measured on the most stringent basis of calculation after netting off cash equivalents, of less than 30% at all times. Details of borrowings at 31 January 2018 are shown in notes 12 and 13.






Liquidity risk is not considered to be significant as the Company's assets comprise mainly cash and listed securities, which can be sold to meet funding commitments if necessary. Short-term flexibility is achieved through the use of loan and overdraft facilities, details of which can be found in note 12. Under the terms of the loan facility, the Manager provides the lender with loan covenant reports on a monthly basis, to provide the lender with assurance that the terms of the facility are not being breached. The Manager will also review the credit rating of a lender on a regular basis. Details of the Board's policy on gearing are shown in the interest rate risk section of this note.






Liquidity risk exposure



At 31 January 2018 and 31 January 2017 the amortised cost of the Company's Debenture Stock was £28,584,000 and £28,571,000 respectively. This is due to be redeemed at par on 30 April 2019. At 31 January 2018 and 31 January 2017 the amortised cost of the Company's Loan Notes was £29,715,000 and £29,705,000 respectively. At 31 January 2018 and 31 January 2017 the Company's bank loans amounted to £11,476,000 and £11,253,000 respectively. The facility is committed until 15 July 2018.





(iii)

Credit risk



This is failure of the counterparty to a transaction to discharge its obligations under that transaction that could result in the Company suffering a loss.






Management of the risk



investment transactions are carried out with a large number of brokers, whose credit standing is reviewed periodically by the Manager, and limits are set on the amount that may be due from any one broker;



the risk of counterparty exposure due to failed trades causing a loss to the Company is mitigated by the review of failed trade reports on a daily basis. In addition, both stock and cash reconciliations to the custodians' records are performed on a daily basis to ensure discrepancies are investigated on a timely basis. The Group's Compliance department carries out periodic reviews of the custodian's operations and reports its finding to the Aberdeen Group's Risk Management Committee. This review will also include checks on the maintenance and security of investments held;



the risk of counterparty exposure due to stock lending is mitigated by the review of collateral positions provided daily by the various counterparties involved;



cash is held only with reputable banks whose credit ratings are monitored on a regular basis.






The Company participates in stock lending activities. Under the terms of the stock lending agreement, all loans are backed by collateral (cash, near cash, government and public securities, certificates of deposit, letter of credit and UK equities) equal to or greater than 105% of the market value (as calculated daily on each business day) of the securities on loan.






There are internal exposure limits to cash balances placed with counterparties. The credit worthiness of counterparties is also reviewed on a regular basis.






With the exception of securities on loan referred to in note 13, none of the Company's financial assets are secured by collateral or other credit enhancements.






Credit risk exposure



In summary, compared to the amounts in the Statement of Financial Position, the maximum exposure to credit risk at 31 January was as follows:







2018

2017




Balance

Maximum

Balance

Maximum




Sheet

exposure

Sheet

exposure




£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000



Non-current assets







Investments at fair value through profit or loss

505,261

28,246

470,664

29,462










Current assets







Cash and short term deposits

5,983

5,983

8,648

8,648




______

______

______

______




511,244

34,229

479,312

38,110




______

______

______

______










None of the Company's financial assets is past due or impaired.






Credit ratings



The table below provides a credit rating profile using Standard & Poors credit ratings for the quoted bonds at 31 January 2018 and 31 January 2017:









2018

2017




£'000

£'000



A+

1,393

1,449



A

1,239

741



A-

3,081

2,994



BB+

2,359

2,485



BB

2,595

2,628



BBB+

5,252

5,550



BBB

9,156

6,902



BBB-

3,171

6,713



______

______



28,246

29,462




______

______








Fair values of financial assets and financial liabilities



The fair value of borrowings has been calculated at £77,229,000 as at 31 January 2018 (2017 - £78,437,000) compared to an accounts value in the financial statements of £69,775,000 (2017 - £69,529,000) (notes 12 and 13). The fair value of each loan is determined by aggregating the expected future cash flows for that loan discounted at a rate comprising the borrower's margin plus an average of market rates applicable to loans of a similar period of time and currency. All other assets and liabilities of the Company are included in the Statement of Financial Position at fair value.

 

18.

Fair value hierarchy


FRS 102 requires an entity to classify fair value measurements using a fair value hierarchy that reflects the significance of the inputs used in making the measurements. The fair value hierarchy has the following classifications:




Level 1: unadjusted quoted prices in an active market for identical assets or liabilities that the entity can access at the measurement date.


Level 2: inputs other than quoted prices included within Level 1 that are observable (ie developed using market data) for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly.


Level 3: inputs are unobservable (ie for which market data is unavailable) for the asset or liability.




The financial assets and liabilities measured at fair value in the Statement of Financial Position are grouped into the fair value hierarchy at the reporting date as follows:






Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Total


As at 31 January 2018

Note

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000


Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss







Quoted equities

a)

477,015

-

-

477,015


Quoted bonds

b)

-

28,246

-

28,246




______

______

______

______


Total


477,015

28,246

-

505,261




______

______

______

______











Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Total


As at 31 January 2017


£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000


Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss







Quoted equities

a)

441,202

-

-

441,202


Quoted bonds

b)

-

29,462

-

29,462




______

______

______

______


Total


441,202

29,462

-

470,664





______

______

______

______










a)

Quoted equities








The fair value of the Company's investments in quoted equities has been determined by reference to their quoted bid prices at the reporting date. Quoted equities included in Fair Value Level 1 are actively traded on recognised stock exchanges.


b)

Quoted bonds



The fair value of the Company's investments in quoted bonds has been determined by reference to their quoted bid prices at the reporting date. Bonds included in Fair Value Levels 2 are Corporate Bonds. Investments categorised as Level 2 are not considered to trade in active markets.

 

19.

Capital management policies and procedures


The Company's capital management objectives are:


- to ensure that the Company will be able to continue as a going concern; and


- to maximise the return to its equity shareholders through an appropriate balance of equity capital and debt.




The capital of the Company consists of equity, comprising issued capital, reserves and retained earnings.




The Board monitors and reviews the broad structure of the Company's capital. This review includes the nature and planned level of gearing, which takes account of the Manager's views on future expected returns and the extent to which revenue in excess of that which is required to be distributed should be retained. The Company is not subject to any externally imposed capital requirements.

 

20.

Related party transactions and transactions with the Manager


Transactions with the Manager


The Company has an agreement with the Standard Life Aberdeen Group for the provision of management, secretarial, accounting and administration services and also for the provision of promotional activities. Details of transactions during the year and balances outstanding at the year end are disclosed in notes 4 and 5.

 

21.

Alternative performance measures


Alternative performance measures are numerical measures of the Company's current, historical or future performance, financial position or cash flows, other than financial measures defined or specified in the applicable financial framework. The Company's applicable financial framework includes FRS 102 and the AIC SORP.




The Directors assess the Company's performance against a range of criteria which are viewed as particularly relevant for closed-end investment companies.




Total return


Total return is considered to be an alternative performance measure. NAV total return involves investing the same net dividend in the NAV of the Company with debt at fair value on the date on which that dividend was earned. Share price total return involves reinvesting the net dividend in the month that the share price goes ex-dividend.




The tables below provide information relating to the NAVs and share prices of the Company on the dividend reinvestment dates during the years ended 31 January 2018 and 31 January 2017.





Dividend


Share


2018

rate

NAVA

price


31 January 2017

N/A

270.34p

243.50p


2 February 2017

2.575p

269.01p

243.50p


4 May 2017

3.975p

285.04p

257.50p


3 August 2017

2.575p

290.39p

261.00p


2 November 2017

2.575p

291.81p

262.88p


31 January 2018

N/A

290.57p

260.00p



______

______

______


Total return


12.0%

11.7%



______

______

______








Dividend


Share


2017

rate

NAVA

price


31 January 2016

N/A

237.48p

220.00p


4 February 2016

2.575p

226.02p

210.00p


5 May 2016

3.675p

234.76p

211.50p


4 August 2016

2.575p

266.15p

244.75p


3 November 2016

2.575p

262.39p

232.25p


31 January 2017

N/A

270.34p

243.50p



______

______

______


Total return


19.2%

16.5%



______

______

______


A Cum-income NAV with debt at fair value










Ongoing charges





Ongoing charges is considered to be an alternative performance measure. The ongoing charges ratio has been calculated in accordance with guidance issued by the AIC as the total of investment management fees and administrative expenses and expressed as a percentage of the average net asset values throughout the year.









2018

2017


Investment management fees (£'000)


1,717

1,575


Administrative expenses (£'000)


954

932




______

______


Less: non-recurring charges (£'000)


(30)

-


Ongoing charges (£'000)


2,641

2,507


Average net assets (£'000)


433,055

397,046




______

______


Ongoing charges ratio


0.61%

0.63%




______

______

 

Additional Notes to Annual Financial Report

The Annual General Meeting will be held on 24 May 2018 at 12 noon at Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, Bow Bells House, 1 Bread Street, London EC4M 9HH.

 

The Annual Financial Report Announcement is not the Company's statutory accounts. The above results for the year ended 31 January 2018 are an abridged version of the Company's full accounts, which have been approved and audited with an unqualified report. The 2017 and 2018 statutory accounts received unqualified reports from the Company's auditor and did not include any reference to matters to which the auditor drew attention by way of emphasis without qualifying the reports, and did not contain a statement under S498 of the Companies Act 2006. The financial information for 2017 is derived from the statutory accounts for the year ended 31 January 2017 which have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies. The accounts for the year ended 31 January 2018 will be filed with the Registrar of Companies in due course.

 

The Annual Report and Accounts will be posted to shareholders in April 2018 and copies will be available from the registered office of the Company and on the Company's website, www.dunedinincomegrowth.co.uk.*

 

Please note that past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future and that the value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise.  Investors may not get back the amount they originally invested.

 

By order of the Board

Aberdeen Asset Management PLC

Company Secretary

28 March 2018

 

* Neither the Company's website nor the content of any website accessible from hyperlinks on the Company's website (or any other website) is (or is deemed to be) incorporated into, or forms (or is deemed to form) part of this announcement.

 


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
 
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Annual Financial Report - RNS