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Board praises recovery of global investors

Henderson Value, the global investment trust removed from SVM in Edinburgh last year after exotic investments went sour, is on track for recovery according to its board.

The trust saw net asset value creep up by only 4.3% last year as its benchmark world index grew by 19%. The share price fell by 3.4%, widening the discount from 9.4% to 15.6% in the year to September 30. Charges fell from 0.93% to 0.84%, and the dividend will be cut by 25% to 1.5p.

Henderson Global Investors beat off a dozen rivals to win the mandate last March and its managers Ian Barrass and Paul Craig took the helm on April 1, after SVM Global had made a negative total return of 40% over the previous five years while its benchmark had gained 50%.

Henderson last June highlighted how seven supposedly "deep value" SVM holdings bought for a total £24.7 million were now valued at £2.2m, with lack of liquidity a "key concern".

They included holdings in a Russian arbitrage fund, green technology ventures, and property funds invested in Mexico, Croatia and Cuba, as well as a stake in Battersea Power Station revalued from £5.3m to nil.

The trust has also changed its auditors, and three directors all on the board for over nine years will step down this year. Shareholders however will get a chance to vote in December on whether the company should continue or be wound up.

Chairman Shane Ross, an independent Irish politician, says: "It is the directors' intention that by December the portfolio will have been reconfigured to reap the rewards on which the directors, manager and shareholders are focused."

Mr Ross said the initial signs were good, and added: "While the company is still underperforming its peers, we have discouraged the new managers from feeling pressurised into making short-term decisions in pursuit of ephemeral performance gains.

"We recognise that a significant number of the underperforming stocks which remain from the previous portfolio are illiquid or unquoted.

"We do not wish to encourage face-saving sales ahead of the continuation vote but to ensure that any latent value in these holdings is realised to the benefit of shareholders."

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