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James Henderson: my HOT story will narrow discount

17 February 2017

Henderson Opportunities Trust manager believes trust's shares will re-rate as investors hear how he is navigating post-Brexit market.

Henderson Opportunities Trust (HOT) is the smallest of the three investment trusts run by contrarian fund manager James Henderson (the other two being Law Debenture (LWDB) and Lowland Investment Company (LIC)).

Last year was a tough one for the fund, which has net assets after debts of £88 million. With two thirds of the portfolio in smaller UK companies, HOT was hit by investors' panic selling 'small caps' perceived to be higher risk with their exposure to a forecast weakening in the domestic economy.

The shares dropped 5.5% in 2016 and by December traded 23% below their net asset value. That prompted investors to buy in and the discount has narrowed to 16% today, helping the shares to rally over 15%.

In this video interview with Selin Bucak, Henderson expresses confidence that if he continues to tell the 'story' behind HOT its shares could return to the small premium above NAV at which they traded three years ago.

In the interview, Henderson explains how he turned the Brexit sell-off to his advantage, recycling profits from mining stocks into smaller exporters whose competitiveness has increased from the weak pound and yet whose shares have fallen.

The portfolio also benefited from a US bid for E2V Technologies (E2V), a top 10 holding, a sign of the value that overseas industrial buyers now saw in the UK, according to Henderson.

In the past five years HOT has generated a total return to shareholders of nearly 153%, placing it second in the UK All Companies sector of investment trusts, according to Association of Investment Companies figures.

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