Prelude portfolio falls by 11 per cent

Declining values in its quoted investments has led to a fall in Prelude’s NAV, down by £6m in the six months to September 30.

Prelude Trust, the UK-listed early-stage technology and life sciences investor has announced its half year results, highlighting a continued downturn in the value of the company’s portfolio of publicly traded companies.


The company’s net asset value (NAV) at the end of September fell to £56.8m, an eleven per cent fall since March. This gives the company a net asset value of 155 pence per share, compared with 178.1 pence in March.


No new companies were added to the firm's portfolio during the period. Further investments totalling £3.2m were made in six of the trust’s 17 unquoted companies resulting in a slight uplift in the total value of the unquoted portfolio, increasing from £43.6m to £44.8m. Investments included follow-on investments in Alphamosaic, Kiadis, De Novo Pharmaceuticals and ZBD Displays.


The continuing slide in technology stock prices contributed significantly to the reduction of Prelude’s NAV. The trust’s three quoted holdings CeNeS Pharmaceuticals, nCipher and Oxford BioMedica, together lost 61 per cent of their value during the six months covered by the latest results. There were no realisations from Prelude’s quoted portfolio during the period, although the firm said it was likely to receive a cash distribution of up to £2m from nCipher, a quoted portfolio company, which is to return up to £65m to shareholders in June 2003. 


Prelude chairman David Wansbrough said the company would focus on its existing investments in the current environment. “While companies have taken steps to ensure that their cash reserves last as long as possible, a number will be raising further finance in the next year. Prelude will therefore be increasingly selective in considering new investments until realisations are achieved.”