Fund Manager March Commentary – Henderson EuroTrust
March saw strong equity markets. Performance has largely continued to be led by those stocks deemed to be rising rate beneficiaries and/or ‘reopening beneficiaries’. Having performed well year-to-date, our performance suffered a bit in March and the Trust lagged the index.
Our best performing positions included Telecom Italia, Stellantis and Kion. Telecom Italia is benefitting from two factors. First, domestic trading conditions seem to be stabilising after a long period of competitive pressure. Second, the potential merger of Telecom Italia’s fibre business with that of OpenFibre seems to be making some progress. Stellantis is a relatively recent initiation for us. The business was formed by the merger of Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler and we see potential scope for synergy realisation and an equity rerating. Finally, Kion is seeing a buoyant environment for its warehouse automation business – the company is very much a long-term beneficiary of the structural changes that accelerated under Covid 19.
Our worst performing positions included Prosus, Zur Rose and Stillfront. These three positions have one thing in common – they are all companies that flourished under Covid-19. As investors look to play the post Covid-19 recovery, we have seen some pressure on the share prices of these companies.
During the month, we sold our holding in Vivendi. Vivendi is a position that we have owned for a number of years. We have always felt that the music business (UMG) was an underappreciated asset but following the partial sell down and proposed IPO of this business, we are less interested in continuing to own the ‘rest of’ Vivendi.
We are confident in our positioning and will continue to retain balance in our exposures by considering two types of business for investment; those where we see high and sustainable returns that are undervalued by the market and those companies where we can see a material improvement in medium term business prospects.
Equity rerating: Occurs when investors are willing to pay a higher price for shares, usually in anticipation of higher future earnings. In terms of bonds a re-rating can be assigned when the bond issuer’s ability to service and repay its debt improves (credit quality).
References made to individual securities should not constitute or form part of any offer or solicitation to issue, sell, subscribe or purchase the security. Janus Henderson Investors, one of its affiliated advisor, or its employees, may have a position mentioned in the securities mentioned in the report.
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