Robust SVIIT to launch new fund of funds

NAV has held firm despite adverse marketing conditions, giving the group room to focus on new products.

Schroder Ventures International Investment Trust Plc (SVIIT) has said it is planning new product launches, following the announcement of robust preliminary trading results for the full year ended 30 June 2002.

The London-based group said net asset value per share had increased by 1.5 per cent to 413.7p – against an NAV of 407.6p the previous year – or £423.1m in net assets. SVIIT's compound growth of NAV per share was an annual 16.9 per cent over the past five years.

Nick Ferguson, chief executive, attributed the “remarkably resilient” performance to the conservatism with which portfolio companies were being run. “Earnings and balance sheets have improved almost entirely across the portfolio, and very tight cost controls have helped companies to perform well in their sectors.”

In a statement, SVITT highlighted developments in Europe, where it benefited from a write-up of, and partial exit from, its investment in Homebase, the UK DYI retail group. Japan also contributed to the results, with SVITT achieving a partial realisation from Xymax, a property manager.

During the past year, SVITT acquired affiliated entities Schroder Ventures (London) Limited and Schroder Ventures North America and, in conjunction with Schroders Plc, raised a E242m fund of funds from institutional and high net worth private investors.

A follow-on fund of funds is to be launched later this year, again with Schroders Plc as a joint venture partner.

The group is also working on a new product designed to identify and exploit value discrepancies between public and private equity markets. A “value investing facility in small/mid-cap companies, using private equity techniques of assessment” is being set up, with up to £15m, or 3.5 per cent of SVITT assets, to invest over the next two years. If successful, the group will offer the product to third party investors. 'It's an experiment, and if it goes well, we're going to launch it to the market', said Ferguson.