133-year-old Edinburgh Investment Trust beats benchmark despite 'profound headwinds'

The 133-year-old Edinburgh Investment Trust has outperformed its stock market benchmark despite “profound headwinds” over the past year.

The trust, one of Scotland’s oldest, saw its net asset value (NAV) on a total return basis, including reinvested dividends, rise by 14.1 per cent over the year to the end of March. That compares with a total return of 13 per cent for the FTSE All-Share Index.

Chairman Glen Suarez, who is stepping down after five years in the role to be replaced by Elisabeth Stheeman, said: “After a long and difficult period in the aftermath of the financial crisis, and then Brexit and most recently a challenging two year period during the Covid pandemic, markets now have to contend with a crisis in Ukraine and all the economic consequences that flow from that.

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“Despite this difficult backdrop, the company has continued to make progress. It is now two full years since we appointed Majedie [now Liontrust Asset Management] and James de Uphaugh as manager, and I am pleased to report that the company has recorded its second consecutive year of strong investment returns - both absolute and relative to the comparator index.

“It is encouraging to be able to report another year in which the growth in NAV has exceeded that of the FTSE All-Share Index. This is despite the profound headwinds facing the economy over this period.”

Total dividends for the 12-month period amounted to 24.8p, up from 24p the year before, excluding 2021’s special dividend.

Suarez added: “Overall, a healthy combination of income and capital growth over the medium term should support a dividend that grows faster than inflation.

“We have returned to a growing dividend this year - albeit not at the rate of the current elevated level of inflation - and believe this is a platform from which it will increase ahead of normalised inflation over time.”

Fund manager James de Uphaugh of Liontrust Asset Management, which acquired Majedie Asset Management earlier this year. Picture: Daniel Lewis

De Uphaugh, portfolio manager, said: “If the events in Ukraine are a reminder of anything, they are of the importance of managing a sensibly diversified portfolio. As a result, positive contributors to the portfolio's performance since the start of the war have come from existing holdings in sectors such as oil and defence stocks.”

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