Mercury Grosvenor Trust (MGT), a private equity vehicle managed by Hg Capital, has announced a 52 per cent fall in pre-tax profits for the year to 31 December 2001. MGT attributed the figures to the negative performance of both equity values and the world economy.
Net assets per share fell by 7.5 per cent to 380.3p against 411p in 2000. Despite the drop, this compares favourably with falls of 15.4 per cent in the FTSE All-Share Index and of 17.0 per cent in the FTSE SmallCap Index (capital only). In the same period, MGT increased its total additional investments to £22.7m against £13m in 2000. Realisations in 2001 fell by £5.1m to £19.5m.
MGT Chairman, David Bucks, said he believed the results represented a 'solid' performance, given the backdrop of economic instability in 2001. He confirmed that MGT will pay a dividend of 8p per share against 14.5p in 2000.
Bucks believes that the continuing economic uncertainty will provide opportunities as well as challenges for MGT. 'Uncertainties, both in the general economic outlook and in the performance of major stock markets, are likely to persist to a greater or lesser degree during the current year; however these uncertainties should also generate investment opportunities. The Company remains liquid and, at the year end, had cash resources of £18.9m plus £25m in unused borrowing facilities. We are in a good position to take advantage of those investment opportunities as they arise.'