Polar Capital Global Healthcare

Final Results
RNS Number : 6261I
Polar Capital Global Health Tst PLC
15 December 2020
 

POLAR CAPITAL GLOBAL HEALTHCARE TRUST PLC

Legal Entity Identifier: 549300YV7J2TWLE7PV84

 

AUDITED RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE YEAR ENDED

30 SEPTEMBER 2020

 

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

For the year to 30 September 2020

 

Performance

 

Net asset value per Ordinary share (total return)*

14.14%

Benchmark index

(MSCI ACWI Health Care Index (total return in sterling with dividends reinvested))

15.95%

Share price total return*

7.81%

Since restructuring

 

Net asset value per Ordinary share (total return) since restructuring *~

27.48%

Benchmark index total return since restructuring

35.30%

Expenses

2020

2019

 

Ongoing charges*

1.01%

1.01%

 

Financials

As at

30 September 2020

As at

30 September 2019

Change

Total net assets (Group and Company)

£325,133,000

£288,447,000

+12.7%

Net asset value per Ordinary share

268.11p

236.88p

+13.2%

Net asset value per ZDP share^

110.20p

106.99p

+3.0%

Price per Ordinary share

233.00p

218.00p

+6.9%

Discount per Ordinary share*

13.1%

8.0%

-

Price per ZDP share^

107.50p

108.50p

-0.9%

Net gearing*

5.28%

7.21%

-

Ordinary shares in issue (excluding those held      in treasury)

121,270,000

121,770,000

-0.4%

Ordinary shares held in treasury

2,879,256

2,379,256

+21.0%

ZDP shares in issue^

32,128,437

32,128,437

-

 

      Dividends

The Company has paid or declared the following dividends relating to the financial year ended 30 September 2020:

Pay date

Amount per
Ordinary share

Record Date

Ex-Date

Declared Date

First interim: 28 August 2020

1.00p

7 August 2020

6 August 2020

22 July 2020

Second interim: 26 February 2021

1.00p

5 February 2021

4 February 2021

15 December 2020

Total (2019: 2.10p)

2.00p

 

 

 

 

* See Alternative Performance Measures below.

~ The Company's portfolio was restructured on 20 June 2017. The total return NAV performance since restructuring is calculated by reinvesting the dividends in the assets of the Company from the relevant payment date.

^ For information purposes.

 

For further information please contact:

Ed Gascoigne-Pees

Camarco

Tele. 020 3757 4984

 

Tracey Lago, FCG

Polar Capital Global Healthcare Trust Plc

Tele. 020 7227 2742

John Regnier-Wilson

Polar Capital LLP

Tele. 020 7227 2725

         

STATUS OF ANNOUNCEMENT

The figures and financial information contained in this announcement are extracted from the Audited Annual Report for the year ended 30 September 2020 and do not constitute statutory accounts for the period. The Annual Report and Financial Statements include the Report of the Independent Auditors which is unqualified and does not contain a statement under either section 498(2) or Section 498(3) of the Companies Act 2006.  The Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 30 September 2020 have not yet been delivered to the Registrar of Companies. The figures and financial information for the period ended 30 September 2019 are extracted from the published Annual Report and Financial Statements for the period ended 30 September 2019 and do not constitute the statutory accounts for that year.  The Annual Report and Financial Statements for the period ended 30 September 2019 have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies and included the Report of the Independent Auditors which was unqualified and did not contain a statement under either section 498(2) or Section 498(3) of the Companies Act 2006.

 

The Directors' Remuneration Report and certain other helpful Shareholder information has not been included in this announcement but forms part of the Annual Report which will be available on the Company's website and will be sent to Shareholders in December 2020.

 

National Storage Mechanism 

A copy of the Annual Report has been submitted to the National Storage Mechanism ('NSM') and will shortly be available for inspection at https://data.fca.org.uk/#/nsm/nationalstoragemechanism

 

Neither the contents of the Company's website nor the contents of any website accessible from the hyperlinks on the Company's website (or any other website) is incorporated into or forms part of this announcement.

 

 

 

CHAIR'S STATEMENT

 

I wrote my first statement to you as Chair of the Company within the half-year report in May 2020, during a time of national lock-down in connection with the government restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time there was much talk of easing the restrictions, but also fear of a second wave in the autumn. I am writing to you again during a period of widespread government restrictions, but also with cautious optimism for 2021, as vaccines begin to be approved across the globe. 2020 has been a year unlike any other in my lifetime, and your Board and I hope that you and your families continue to remain safe and well.

 

PERFORMANCE

Performance of the portfolio has also been difficult over the financial year; the first six months saw some steady performance but this was dwarfed by the market crash in March, at the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the start of more widespread national lock-downs. In particular, our overweight exposure in healthcare equipment was the main negative as we entered the crisis. Elective procedures were effectively stopped overnight, to prioritise care for COVID-19 patients, with little visibility over when they would recommence, let alone when they would reach pre-pandemic levels.

 

As with any market defining crisis, it was important for the Managers to carry out a thorough re-evaluation of the portfolio, not only to assess the impact of the crisis on their holdings, but also to consider new and evolving opportunities. Despite a much stronger second half, the falls experienced in March proved difficult to pull back completely by the year end. Whilst showing strong absolute returns, we have finished the year slightly behind the benchmark. Full detail is given within the Managers' Report.

 

OUTLOOK

The Board have continued to monitor performance and have met virtually with the Managers several times to discuss the strategy and approach, both directly within the portfolio, but more generally to the sector. Whilst 2020 was a challenging year, we continue to be confident that healthcare remains a sector offering superior growth opportunities. We believe these opportunities will persist, driven by demographics, innovation, and the need for greater efficiency in the delivery of healthcare. COVID-19 has caused challenges, but it has also provided some positives for healthcare, not only highlighting the need for efficiency, but also for innovation, particularly where it is driven by technological change. These are explained in more detail in the Managers' report.

 

Healthcare is a sector that has always been subject to high levels of news flow, often resulting in sharp movements at a stock level, causing valuations to become adrift from fundamentals. During 2020 COVID-19 and uncertainty over the outcome of the US Presidential election, have increased this volatility, some of which is likely to persist in the months ahead. We believe that having a specialist healthcare strategy, with a fund management team which has wide experience across the healthcare universe, is the right approach to identifying those companies that will benefit from long term trends and applying rigour in the assessment of how news or events will impact on individual company valuations.

 

To conclude, the Board believes investing in healthcare is an exciting growth opportunity, and that view has been strengthened by developments during 2020. The valuation of the S&P healthcare sector relative to the overall market looks very attractive, particularly now that the extreme outcomes of the US election have been removed. The Company offers a well diversified approach to gain access to growth and solid innovation ideas, without the need to take risk in less developed areas, or on single product outcomes.

 

FEES

On 14 October 2020, the Board announced that following discussions with Polar Capital in connection with the relative under-performance of the Company, we agreed a reduction in the management fee charged for managing the assets. The management fee was reduced with effect from 1 October 2020 to 0.75% per annum (previously 0.85% per annum) based on the lower of the market capitalisation and the adjusted net asset value. All other terms within the Investment Management Agreement remain the same.

 

DIVIDENDS

The Company's focus remains on capital growth, and consequently dividends are expected to represent a relatively small part of Shareholders' total return.

 

In August 2020 the Company paid an interim dividend of 1.00p per ordinary share. At that time the Board notified shareholders that, having considered the level of revenue reserves available, it intended to continue paying dividends, but at a reduced rate, utilising the revenue reserves available. The Board has declared a further interim dividend of 1.00p per ordinary share payable to shareholders on the register as at 5 February 2021. This will bring the total dividend paid for the financial year under review to 2.00p per ordinary share, a small reduction to the previous financial year.

 

SHARE CAPITAL

The persistent and relatively high level of share price discount continues to be a frustration and we as a Board proactively monitor the situation with the Brokers and Managers, considering any feedback received from Shareholders, market news, liquidity and flow, size and life of the Company. We do, and continue to, buy back shares on a selective basis when we consider it is in the interests of Shareholders to do so. During the year, the Company bought back 500,000 ordinary shares at a price of 207.00p per ordinary share. These shares were placed into the treasury account taking the balance held in treasury to 2,879,256 ordinary shares. The Company has 121,270,000 ordinary shares in issue (excluding those held in treasury) as at the date of writing.

 

The Company's share price on 30 September 2020 was 233.00p (2019: 218.00p). The Company's market capitalisation at the financial year end was £282.6m (2019: £265.5m). The Company's share price traded at a discount throughout the year, ending the year at a discount of 13.1% compared to 8.0% at the start of the year.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE

The requirement to report on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) matters is ever increasing. We have been discussing ESG, and how it impacts the investment process and outcomes, with the Managers and with the wider Polar Capital team in relation to the Polar Capital policy and approach across the entire business. We recognise the importance of ESG but note that this is only one factor in the investment process and should not be the sole consideration when reviewing investments or actions. ESG is discussed

further in the Managers' Report.

 

BOARD

I am very pleased to confirm that the fully refreshed Board has settled into a rhythm, despite having only managed to meet in person as a full Board twice before we entered the lockdown period. Since March we have successfully utilised video conferencing facilities and have met many times both as a full Board, with additional guests as required, but also in a more ad hoc manner with private director-only meetings and also in one-to-one meetings.

 

We appreciate the efforts made by all of the service providers to the Company during the lockdown period, and are pleased to confirm that no service breaks or matters of concern have arisen in the year either due to the remote working environment or for any other reason.

 

COMPANIES ACT 2006, S172 - Directors' Duties

Directors have a duty to promote the success of the Company for the benefit of its members. Our section 172 statement is contained in the Annual Report and Accounts and details various actions taken and considerations made during the year.

 

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The Company's tenth Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held at 2 pm on Tuesday, 26 January 2021. It is difficult to know where we will be in relation to COVID-19 in January however, the health and welfare of our shareholders, advisers and wider stakeholders is our primary concern. We have therefore followed the current government guidelines in relation to gatherings of individuals from multiple households. This means that the AGM this year will a 'closed meeting' with only a quorum present. The quorum will be represented by board member and adviser shareholders; all resolutions will be voted on by a poll and we would therefore encourage

you to submit your votes by proxy in accordance with the instructions included with the Notice of AGM.

 

We acknowledge that a closed meeting does not represent an opportunity for shareholders to engage with either the Board or the Managers and for this reason we are offering a 'Meet the Manager & Board' session by webinar. At this session you will have the opportunity to hear a brief introduction from the Managers and myself and there will be an opportunity to ask questions. We will also be happy to receive questions ahead of the session by email to marketing@polarcapital.co.uk, with the subject line PCGH Meet the Manager & Board. The Webinar will be held at 2 pm on Thursday, 14 January 2021, full details are provided at the front of the Annual Report and on the Company's website: www.polarcapitalglobalhealthcare.co.uk.

 

I look forward to welcoming you to the Meet the Manager & Board session at which we will very much value your questions and feedback.

 

 

Lisa Arnold

Chair

 

14 December 2020

 

INVESTMENT MANAGER'S REPORT - FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30 SEPTEMBER 2020

 

The objective of Polar Capital Global Healthcare Trust plc is to generate long-term capital appreciation by investing in a globally diversified portfolio of healthcare companies, to include, but not limited to, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and healthcare services companies.

 

The Company's diversification strategy, coupled with its focus on large-capitalisation healthcare companies with resilient, medium-term growth profiles, helps drive the relatively lower risk-profile of the underlying assets, relative to the more volatile areas of healthcare. Further, the broad investment remit affords the opportunity to invest in growth areas regardless of the economic, political and regulatory environment. Importantly, the Company also has the opportunity to invest in earlier-stage, more innovative and disruptive companies, companies that tend to be lower down the market capitalisation and liquidity scale. This is a key advantage of a closed-end company like an investment trust. Regardless of size, sub-sector or geography, stock selection is central to the process, looking to identify companies where there is a disconnect between valuations and the near and medium-term growth drivers.

 

In terms of structure, the majority of the Company's assets (calculated on a gross basis and referred to as the growth portfolio) will be invested in companies with a market capitalisation >$5bn at the time of investment, with the balance invested in companies with a market capitalisation <$5bn (a maximum of 20% of gross assets and referred to as the innovation portfolio). At the end of the reporting period, 29 investments were in the growth portfolio, comprising some 94.0% of net assets, and 14 investments were in the innovation portfolio, comprising 11.3% of net assets. Structural debt, in the form of Zero Dividend Preference Shares, offers access to additional liquidity and the opportunity to enhance returns.

 

 

Market Cap at

 

 

30 September 2020

 

 

30 September 2019

Large (>US$5bn)

 

 

     94.0%

 

 

        96.9%

Medium (US$1bn - US$5bn)

 

        7.1%

 

 

          3.3%

Small (<US$1bn)

 

 

        4.2%

 

 

          6.9%

Other net liabilities

 

 

      (5.3%)

 

 

        (7.1%)

 

 

 

 

   100.0%

 

 

      100.0%

               

 

 

The seven-strong specialist healthcare team at Polar Capital, set up in 2007, boasts 120+ years of industry experience. The team has a wide range of skills, tenure and approaches to fund management, but all are fundamental investors focused on stock selection. Further, the majority of the team have held roles within the healthcare industry, building complementary skill sets. The team fits well within the collegiate, positive, forward-looking culture at Polar Capital where the capacity of all investment strategies is managed to enhance and protect performance. Reflecting on last year's annual report and investment themes, the focus was very much on how innovative technologies are being used by the healthcare industry to disrupt and improve the delivery of care. Continuous glucose monitoring in diabetes and minimally invasive technologies that reduce surgery time and improve patient outcomes are just two examples of how disrupting the status quo can translate into commercial success. Still in their infancy, momentum in those areas continues to be strong, but it is the COVID-19 crisis that has highlighted the need for further investment. Healthcare systems globally need to accelerate the adoption of products and services that drive efficiencies, broaden access to care and improve clinical outcomes. It is that shift in the healthcare landscape that we believe will yield a plethora of interesting investment opportunities not just over the next 12 months, but for many years to come.

 

Over the financial year to the end of September 2020, the healthcare sector comfortably outperformed global stock market major indices. The collapse in markets in March 2020, driven by the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, defined the performance period under review, further details of which are provided below. Over the full period, the Company returned 14.14% but lagged its benchmark healthcare index by 1.81%.

 

The healthcare sector outperformed during March, but driven by defensive stocks, including large-capitalisation pharmaceutical and large-capitalisation biotechnology. Also, any companies attempting to develop or manufacture drugs or diagnostics in relation to COVID-19 saw their stocks outperform. By contrast, reallocation of resources away from standard hospital procedures to care for COVID-19 patients led to a dramatic decline in elective procedures, negatively impacting medical device companies and healthcare providers, which had a material negative impact on the portfolio.

 

The substantial fall in the markets in March was followed by an equally dramatic recovery, driven mainly by an unparalleled fiscal and monetary response, with $10 trillion of global stimuli announced, a figure three times more than the response to the 2008-09 financial crisis.

 

Politics have also been prominent during the reporting period, with the US election a big driver of sentiment amongst investors. During 2019, when the more progressive Democratic nominees, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, were still in the running for office, we witnessed periods of severe stress as the market focused on the risks associated with Medicarefor-All (in essence, a Government run and funded healthcare system not that dissimilar to the UK's National Health Service). 2020, however, saw Joe Biden grab the Democratic baton which we believe has removed the worst-case scenario for the healthcare industry given his intention to invest more dollars into the current system, as opposed to dismantling it. The affordability of pharmaceuticals is on the agenda of both political parties, but it will be the make-up of Congress that will determine the ultimate success or failure of the various policies.

 

As one would expect, this dramatic shift in the healthcare landscape presented an opportunity to markedly change the positioning of the Company's portfolio. As at the 30 September 2019, the biggest sub-sector relative over-weight was healthcare equipment, a decision driven by innovation-fuelled revenue acceleration, with pharmaceuticals the biggest relative under-weight. As at the 30 September 2020, healthcare equipment's weighting was reduced to a modest relative overweight driven by uncertainty surrounding a potential second COVID-19 wave. The biotechnology sub-sector exposure was increased materially, with the relative over-weight reflecting our positive view on the high levels of innovation in areas such as gene therapy, precision oncology and rare diseases. Attractive valuations, healthy balance sheets and supportive regulators helped underpin the decision further. To the latter point, regulators are accelerating access to medicines that meet high unmet medical needs. For example, the US FDA has approved a comparable number of new medicines this year as it did in 2019, this despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. We continue to have an under-weight position in pharmaceuticals, given the sub-sector's lack of top-line growth and mature operating margins.

 

2020 has been an extremely challenging year, but one that under-pins the value of the healthcare industry. This is corroborated not just by the high levels of innovation that have accelerated development of COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines, but also by the mass coordination and mobilisation of resources to ensure wide-spread access to effective testing. The crisis has also, however, highlighted the need for healthcare systems globally to become more efficient as the demand for products and services continues to rise.

 

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

Over the financial year to the end of September 2020, the healthcare sector comfortably outperformed global stock markets. Over the full period, the Company delivered strong absolute returns 14.14% but disappointingly lagged its benchmark index by 1.81%, with the index returning 15.95%. The stock market crash in March, driven by the COVID-19 crisis, defined the performance period under review, with significant relative underperformance in the first half of the financial year (-6.1%), followed by considerable outperformance in the second half of the year (5.6%), but still not quite enough to counter the impact of March on the portfolio.

 

As we have already mentioned, the defining period for the financial year was March which in the first half of the month, witnessed extreme fear and a rush for liquidity. The healthcare sector outperformed, driven by defensive stocks, including large-capitalisation pharmaceutical and large-capitalisation biotechnology. Also, a number of companies attempting to develop or manufacture drugs or diagnostics in relation to COVID-19 saw their stocks outperform, often with extreme moves on scant newsflow.

 

Whilst stock-picking is central to the team's process, we do invest time on assessing macro-factors and, unfortunately, the Company entered the month with positioning driven by an optimistic top-down view of the economic growth outlook for developed markets with COVID-19 at the time deemed a problem isolated to China. With leading economic indicators rising, the top-down part of the investment process drove increased exposure to healthcare equipment at 29.6% of the Company, overweight versus the benchmark by 10.7%, and healthcare facilities at 3.6% of the portfolio, overweight by 2.3%. To fund this, defensive positioning was muted with the weighting in pharmaceuticals at 23.5%, underweight versus the benchmark by 20.3%. Hence the Company was not well positioned for the market correction, carrying an overweight position in areas of healthcare that were hit the hardest, namely healthcare equipment and facilities, and carrying an under-weight position in the sub-sectors that out-performed, i.e. large-capitalisation pharmaceuticals. In an attempt to shift more defensively in reaction to COVID-19 spreading from China, across Europe and into the US, the exposure to pharmaceuticals was increased to 35.5% of the Company and healthcare equipment was reduced to 18.2%. However, this shift was too late to limit the damage from the COVID-19 outbreak, with the Company lagging its benchmark by 6.5%, for the month of March.

 

Going into further detail, asset allocation was a negative driver in March with the Company being over-weight in mid-capitalisation stocks on a relative basis, as was stock selection in large-capitalisation securities. On a geographical basis, over-weight positioning in Europe and the US on arelative basis was negative driven mainly by stock selection. On a sub-sector basis, being over-weight in biotechnology was a positive in terms of allocation, with negatives being the over-weight positions in managed care, healthcare facilities and healthcare equipment. Also, stocks with gearing were punished indiscriminately. The challenge in large-capitalisation

stock selection was the impact on healthcare equipment and healthcare facilities sub-sectors. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a collapse in elective care procedures at hospitals, hence the dramatic fall in the share prices of many companies in these sub-sectors. On the drug development side, clinical trials for non-COVID-19 drug development were delayed or paused, negatively impacting the outsourcing providers (Clinical Research Organisations or CROs).

 

The peak in risk aversion by investors appeared to occur in the latter part of March, as markets started to digest the sheer size of the stimulus packages. After the sharp collapse in stocks, we saw this was as a compelling opportunity for the Company to shift to a more aggressive approach and take advantage of the extreme weakness. The view was taken that the worst was over and that the worst of the data, whether it be economic activity or healthcare utilisation, would hit a low in April and move aggressively higher, at a rate much faster than generally expected. The belief here stemmed in large part from efforts being made by the healthcare industry, whether it be diagnostics or drug development against COVID-19, to facilitate "living" with the pandemic pending the successful development of vaccines. For the Company this view was translated into increased exposure to life sciences tools and services at 15.7% of the portfolio, managed care at 10.7% and healthcare supplies at 6.6%, representing a more than doubling of relative over-weighting of these sub-sectors in comparison to positioning at the end of February. This shift enabled significant outperformance over the second half of the financial year.

 

Over the full financial period, the strong second half was still not enough to compensate for the March period. Stock selection was the biggest negative driver for the Company, with large-capitalisation securities the biggest drag on performance. Both allocation and stock selection were positive for mid-capitalisation stocks, whereas the picture was more mixed at the small-capitalisation end with positive allocation and negative selection. On a geographical basis, Japan was a positive contributor, with the out-performance

driven by a single stock, Medley, held in the innovation portfolio. Europe and the US & Canada were negative driven by a mixture of allocation and stock selection. The underweight position in Asia-Pac (ex- Japan) also hurt performance.

 

In terms of sub-sectors, pharmaceuticals was the biggest positive contributor, with the material under-weight stance driving positive allocation in conjunction with positive stock selection. Healthcare technology was also a positive contributor, with both allocation and stock selection contributing to performance. The biggest drag on performance was healthcare equipment, with the sector hit hardest during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in March. Life sciences tools and services were also a drag, with poor stock selection off-setting the positive allocation effect.

 

Top 10 Relative Contributors (%)

 

 

 

Top 10

Average

Stock

Weight

Active

Weight

Stock

Return

Stock

Return

vs BM

Total

Attribution

Horizon Pharma

2.89

2.89

171.55

155.60

2.88

Medley

0.94

0.94

308.53

292.58

1.56

Bio-Rad Laboratories

3.18

3.05

47.46

31.51

0.90

Align Technology

1.04

0.71

72.24

56.29

0.90

ArgenX

1.09

1.07

121.20

105.25

0.77

Catalent

1.08

1.01

71.09

55.14

0.75

Incyte

2.52

2.25

15.08

-0.87

0.61

Cigna

2.07

0.89

6.24

-9.71

0.60

Axonics Modulation

Technologie

0.78

0.78

80.48

64.53

0.60

Pfizer

0.00

-3.44

-2.77

-18.72

0.59

             

        Source: Polar Capital, as at 30 September 2020. Past performance is not indicative or a guarantee of future results.

 

Positive contributors to performance for the financial year included Horizon Pharma, Medley, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Align Technology and ArgenX. Horizon Pharma's performance reflects a very strong launch for one of the company's lead assets, Tepezza for Thyroid Eye Disease, a condition in which the eye muscles, eyelids, tear glands and fatty tissues behind the eye become inflamed. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Tepezza has consistently out-stripped consensus expectations driving material revenue and earnings upgrades. Indeed, Tepezza's impressive launch moved the management team to increase the drug's peak sale potential to >$3bn from >$1bn previously. Medley has been a significant, positive contributor and has been held since the company's IPO in December 2019. Medley runs one of Japan's largest human resource recruitment systems in the medical and healthcare field but, perhaps more interesting, is the medical platform business which houses the largest telemedicine system in Japan known as CLINICS Telemedicine. Very much in its infancy, and accelerated by COVID-19, it is our view that the demand for telemedicine services in Japan will continue to grow substantially. Life sciences tools and services company, Bio-Rad Laboratories, has continued to execute operationally, driven by top-line momentum in the Life Science segment and steady operating margin progress. The stock also benefited from exposure to COVID-19 testing and from its 34.3% stake in German life sciences tools and services company, Sartorius, which has performed strongly in 2020. Sartorius' success has stemmed from exposure to the bio-processing market which not only has strong, underlying fundamentals but has also received a short-term boost from demand for COVID-19 related projects.

 

Align Technology's strong performance can be attributed to a better-than-expected post COVID-19 recovery as dental practices re-opened, with demand for the company's clear aligners revitalised. Looking further forward, Align's digital approach to dental treatment could be a catalyst for market share gains, offering customers the advantage of fewer inpractice visits with their dentist. This is something that has appeal in a COVID-19 world and should be sustainable once COVID-19 related restrictions ease. Belgian biotechnology company ArgenX also had a good year, with the biggest inflection coming after the company disclosed positive data for its lead pipeline asset, efgartigimod. Being investigated for the treatment of generalised Myasthenia Gravis (a chronic and debilitating autoimmune disease that causes severe muscle weakness), the product showed statistical significance with the primary endpoint and delivered fast and deep responses. We expect the company to submit its BLA (Biologics License Application) to the FDA in H2'20 followed by a Japanese filing in early 2021.

 

   Bottom 10 Relative Contributors (%)

 

 

 

Bottom 10

Average

Stock

Weight

Active

Weight

Stock

Return

Stock

Return

vs BM

Total

Attribution

Quotient

1.73

1.73

-37.03

-52.98

-1.05

UnitedHealth

2.02

-2.51

36.56

20.61

-0.99

Intuitive Surgical

1.41

0.28

25.09

9.14

-0.91

Bristol Myers Squibb

2.87

0.63

13.17

-2.77

-0.83

Smith & Nephew

0.89

0.58

-22.59

-38.54

-0.75

HCA Healthcare

2.85

2.28

-1.44

-17.39

-0.70

PRA Health Sciences

1.22

1.22

-2.69

-18.64

-0.69

Becton Dickinson

3.50

2.34

-12.44

-28.39

-0.68

eHealth

0.43

0.43

12.59

-3.36

-0.63

Lundbeck

1.49

1.45

-5.31

-21.26

-0.61

             

       Source: Polar Capital, as at 30 September 2020. Past performance is not indicative or a guarantee of future results.

 

 

Negative contributors to performance for the financial year 2020 included Quotient, UnitedHealth Group, Intuitive Surgical, Bristol Myers Squibb and Smith & Nephew. Before the COVID-19 crisis the Quotient management team had consistently delivered on stated timelines and objectives, but two factors have adversely impacted performance in the last 12 months. Firstly, there have been financing overhangs which have been resolved for the time being. Secondly, COVID-19 related shutdowns delayed field trials for the company's MosaiQ IH microarray, delays that have now been rectified as sites have re-opened and trials re-started. The Company's

under-weight position in UnitedHealth Group detracted from performance following the stock's strong recovery during the first financial quarter of the reporting period. The managed healthcare sector was volatile during calendar 2019, with the sector's fortunes very much tied to the campaign momentum of the more progressive Democratic nominees, namely Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. As a reminder, that positive campaign momentum compressed the valuation multiples of the managed healthcare sector as it raised the spectre of Medicare-For-All, a Government funded and run insurance programme that would potentially disintermediate the healthcare insurance industry. Once the more moderate Joe Biden started to gain momentum, that valuation pressure eased and the sector started to recover.

 

Medical device companies Intuitive Surgical and Smith & Nephew also detracted from performance during the reporting period, with both stocks suffering quite markedly during the March sell-off. One of the big challenges the healthcare industry faced during the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis was the cancellation of elective or non-urgent procedures, freeing up much-needed hospital capacity to care for COVID-19 patients. These cancellations impacted the medical device companies, with demand for their products and services materially impacted. Smith & Nephew manufactures hips and knees and was therefore directly exposed. Intuitive Surgical,

a leading protagonist in the field of robotic surgery, was similarly affected by the downturn in patient volumes. Intuitive Surgical's challenges were further compounded as the market started to question the strength of hospitals' balance sheets and hence their appetite to purchase capital equipment such as Intuitive's surgical robots. The portfolio was also under-weight in Bristol Myers Squibb during the first half of the 2020 financial year, at a time when the company delivered a steady stream of positive newsflow, primarily from its oncology division, that positively re-rated the stock.

 

Compelling opportunities lie-ahead

There are a number of key themes and opportunities in healthcare that are exciting and that we believe offer the potential for significant returns in the years ahead. In brief, the major investment themes, which we discuss further below, are:

 

Employing technology to disrupt healthcare delivery and shift utilisation to lower cost settings;

This will be by far the most important structural shift in healthcare for the next 10-20 years and the enablers of this shift should enjoy significant growth.

 

Product and service innovation;

Long-term product or service development success dependent on ability to lower healthcare costs.

 

Consolidation on the rise again;

Leaders that can acquire high quality assets in fragmented markets at attractive valuations can enjoy significant outperformance.

 

Growth in emerging market healthcare demand;

Due to move significantly higher over the next 15-20 years - investing in the long-term structural growth stories should deliver handsome returns.

 

Outsourcing;

Not a new theme but growth is robust across clinical trial outsourcing, manufacturing and early stage research.

 

Prevention;

References diagnostics and vaccines, both of which provide tremendous value to healthcare systems as prevention is the most cost-effective way of delivering care. The impact of COVID-19 has highlighted the value of diagnostics and vaccines.

 

Healthcare delivery disruption: Shifting utilisation to lower cost settings

Healthcare systems globally are embracing new products and technologies to drive efficiencies without compromising quality of care, and this mega-trend should yield compelling investment opportunities that should generate attractive, medium-term returns. Whilst one would never trivialise the human suffering and practical implications of the COVID-19 crisis, it has been a real catalyst for positive change in the healthcare industry. Telehealth and virtual interactions with physicians and specialists are here to stay, as is the shift of patient volumes from traditional in-patient hospital settings to lower-cost out-patient facilities. All this at a time when the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries are investing heavily in innovative medicines and devices to target unmet medical needs. The structural growth drivers for healthcare are reasonably well understood, i.e. we are all getting older and we are all consuming more and more healthcare products and services, it is the hidden opportunities within structural change that are really exciting and possibly under-appreciated.

 

The marriage between healthcare and technology has been a consistent theme for Polar Capital's healthcare team and one that has significantly accelerated during the COVID-19 crisis. The ability to virtually interact with physicians and other healthcare professionals has proved to be invaluable. US-based virtual care provider, Teladoc, for example, posted a 92% increase in total visits in Q1'20. Importantly, whilst volume growth eased over the course of April and May, utilisation stabilised in late May and throughout most of June at a level of roughly 40% higher than prior to COVID-19. Further, the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) took steps to make it easier to access telehealth services during the crisis, encouraging providers to adopt and use the latest technologies. This was followed by the Centres for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) who have proposed to permanently allow Medicare providers to use telehealth to carry out home-visits. To quote Seema Verma, the CMS administrator; "I think the genie's out of the bottle on this one," "I think it's fair to say that the advent of telehealth has been just completely accelerated, that it's taken this crisis to push us to a new frontier, but there's absolutely no going back." And it is not just the US that is embracing telehealth services, with the Japanese company Medley* the owner of the largest telemedicine system in the country known as CLINICS Telemedicine. Very much in its infancy, and accelerated by COVID-19, it is our view that the demand for telemedicine services in Japan will continue to grow substantially. COVID-19 is also expected to accelerate the transition of care delivery out of hospital in-patient facilities to alternative sites of care, such as Ambulatory Surgery Centres (ASCs) or the home. Patients wanting to avoid hospitals due to COVID-19 risks is short term, but it is the convenience of shorter stays, and the cost advantages of ASCs, that will drive a longer-term trend. Clearly not all procedures can be performed in an ASC, but there could be an acceleration of those that can. With reimbursement aligned, orthopaedics is an area that could see an inflection, especially now that the use of robots can reduce the number of instrument trays needed to perform the procedures. Ophthalmology is another area that could see an acceleration, with the efficiency of an ASC appealing as the system attempts to clear its backlog.

 

The drive to generate efficiencies and reduce costs should also encourage more patient volume into the home, with the industry bracing itself for a strong rebound in demand for its services. AdaptHealth* appears to be especially well-positioned as a leading provider of Home Medical Equipment (HME), diabetes management products and medical supplies to the home. Clearly home health can encompass a wide variety of chronic illnesses but home dialysis is worth highlighting following President Trump's Executive Order (EO) the goals of which include; 1) Reducing the number of Americans developing end-stage renal disease by 25% by 2030; 2) Having 80% of new end-stage renal disease patients in 2025 either receiving dialysis at home or receiving a transplant; and 3) Doubling the number of kidneys available for transplant by 2030. A clear positive for patients, the EO has positive implications for medical device

providers such as Baxter International* and Fresenius Medical Care*, and for dialysis providers themselves, such as DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care*.

 

Another area of healthcare that could see a period of sustained investment is diagnostics and high-throughput screening. Companies within the diagnostics and life sciences tools and services arena have been very quick to mobilise their resources to develop and disseminate COVID-19 tests, not just for the antigen, but also for the antibody. The sub-sectors that have really driven this effort include a number of large capitalisation life sciences tools and services and diagnostics companies such as Abbott Laboratories, Thermo Fisher Scientific, PerkinElmer and Hologic, as well as Quidel and Quotient* which are further down the market capitalisation scale. One of the early bottlenecks in some healthcare systems, however, was access to the capital equipment and systems to perform the tests quickly and at scale. Those jurisdictions that have invested in testing infrastructure appeared to have a sizeable advantage over those that have neglected to invest, including the UK. Looking further out, once the infrastructure is in place, it is reasonable to surmise that diagnostic testing rates will increase in many different areas of medicine. Companies that could potentially benefit from

significant and sustained investment in infrastructure include Roche Holdings* via its Diagnostics division, Becton Dickinson* and European peers Biomerieux and Diasorin.

 

* Denotes a portfolio holding at the time of writing

 

Politics and COVID-19 cannot be ignored

If one assumes that ballot recounts in Georgia fail to change the course of the US election, then democrat Joe Biden will have won the race, an outcome that prima facie sets a cautionary tone for the healthcare industry. Importantly, however, the balance of power in the Senate will be key to determining how far-reaching Biden's healthcare reform can go. At the time of writing, the Republicans hold 50 seats in the Senate, the Democrats effectively hold 48 seats, with 2 seats yet to be decided. Those 2 seats are in Georgia and are heading to run-off elections to be held on the 5th January 2021. The outcome of those run-offs will determine the make-up of the Senate, a critical factor given it holds sway over judicial nominations and legislative agenda. A 51:49 outcome favouring the Republicans would make it very difficult for the Democratic party to pass its more progressive healthcare policies, especially with senator Mitch McConnell leading the Republicans in the Senate. Even if the Senate gets split 50:50, with the President carrying the tiebreaking vote, disruptive changes to law are unlikely given the reliance on bi-partisan coordination and agreement.

 

Heading into the election Joe Biden's focus was on building on and investing in the current healthcare system, known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and addressing the high cost of prescription drugs. With regards the former, Joe Biden has signalled he will consider a public insurance option and will also consider lowering the eligibility age for Medicare from the current 65 years of age. Investing in the ACA, and lowering the eligibility age for Medicare, are both tailwinds for the insurance industry given the positive volume implications. A public insurance option, however, could present a challenge but only if administered and under-written by the Federal government. Head-line grabbing perhaps, but unlikely to present a material challenge to the managed care industry.

 

With bi-partisan support, addressing the high out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, especially for US seniors, is a directive that will have traction. A divided Senate is unlikely to support the more draconian policies such as direct negotiation of drug prices by the Government, but we do believe that the Administration will look at a number of plans including, but not exhaustively; Using international pricing mechanisms to value drugs ahead of US launch; Prohibiting drug manufacturers from increasing prices above the general rate of inflation; Allowing for drug reimportation; Supporting the development of lower-cost generics. Regardless of the potential changes, the message to the bio-pharmaceutical industry is very clear - innovate and target unmet medical needs because pricing pressure is here to stay.

 

On a more positive note, the first Phase III COVID-19 vaccine update was extremely encouraging. Early in November, Pfizer and BioNTech announced positive results from the first interim analysis of the Phase III study for their vaccine candidate, BNT162b2. The vaccine was found to be >90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Importantly, no serious adverse concerns had been observed. A hugely uplifting update, and one that should be widely applauded, it is important to check euphoria by reflecting on some of the yet unanswered questions. Whilst there were no serious adverse events reported, we are yet to fully understand the tolerability profile of the vaccine (fever, chills, nausea etc), nor do we know if the vaccine is effective in the elderly or in high-risk groups. The vaccine's ability to prevent re-infection is also an unknown. When trying to assess access and availability, capacity and distribution should also be considered. A two-dose course, Pfizer/BioNTech will have approximately 50 million doses of BNT162b2 available by the end of 2020, and up to 1.3 billion available in 2021. It is also worth noting that the vaccine needs to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius, so wide-spread distribution is not a trivial matter and will require substantial investment. With multiple COVID-19 vaccines in late-stage development, using a variety of mechanisms and approaches, we firmly believe an optimistic stance is the right one to adopt.

 

Positioning and process; Constructive on biotechnology and life sciences tools and services

As at 30 September 2020, the portfolio's biggest relative overweight sub-sector was biotechnology, focusing on companies that are developing and commercialising drugs that target high, unmet medical needs. The constructive stance also reflects views on valuations, balance sheet strength and a supportive regulatory backdrop. Lastly, and clearly impossible to predict the timing and market participants, M&A is a theme that feels especially relevant in the biotechnology sector as companies look to bolster either their pipelines or financial profiles or both. We are increasingly positive on the life sciences tools and services sector given it is an area of the market that has the benefit of being insulated from political rhetoric, has fastgrowing end-markets such as bio-processing, and has potential COVID-19 upside driven by the testing market and by supplying consumables needed to manufacture COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines. Contract Research Organisations (CROs) are also insulated from political pressure and have the added benefit of operating in an extremely well-funded environment, with biotechnology financing hitting record highs. For context, as at the end of August 2020 biotechnology companies had raised $100bn in 2020, a broad measure of the health of the industry and the end-markets.

 

The portfolio continues to be under-weight pharmaceuticals, reflecting not just our concerns on drug pricing, but also the lack of growth that the sub-sector offers versus other parts of the healthcare ecosystem. To be clear, we do believe that we can find attractive stock specific opportunities within pharmaceuticals, often driven by under-appreciated pipeline assets or earnings upside from better-than-expected drug launches. With regards to the managed healthcare sector, we have a modest over-weight as we balance a constructive view on industry fundamentals versus the near-term challenges of a volatile US political environment as described previously. We do not believe that the healthcare insurance industry will be disintermediated, rather taking the view that the participants will play a critical role in managing costs and driving efficiencies across the healthcare ecosystem.

 

 

Geographical Exposure at

30 September 2020

30 September 2019

United States

68.0%

75.0%

Denmark

6.5%

8.5%

Ireland

5.5%

-

Netherlands

5.3%

3.6%

Germany

5.2%

-

Switzerland

4.8%

2.5%

France

3.9%

5.8%

United Kingdon

3.7%

5.4%

Japan

2.4%

1.5%

Spain

-

3.3%

Italy

-

1.1%

Canada

-

0.4%

Other net liabilities

(5.3%)

(7.1%)

Total

100.0%

100.0%

       

 

Source: Polar Capital, portfolio as at 30 September 2020.

 

 

Sector Exposure at

30 September 2020

30 September 2019

Pharmaceuticals

25.1%

27.0%

Biotechnology

22.6%

13.9%

Healthcare Equipment

21.3%

36.8%

Life Sciences Tools & Services

12.5%

12.9%

Managed Healthcare

8.2%

4.1%

Healthcare Distributors

4.2%

0.7%

Healthcare Supplies

3.8%

1.7%

Healthcare Technology

3.4%

0.7%

Healthcare Services

2.7%

5.7%

Healthcare Facilities

1.5%

3.6%

Other net liabilities

(5.3%)

(7.1%)

Total

100.0%

100.0%

       

 

Source: Polar Capital, portfolio as at 30 September 2020.

 

Whilst the above does focus on sub-sector weightings, bottom-up stock selection is central to the team's investment process, adopting an agnostic approach to sub-sector and geographic allocation. The healthcare industry is extremely complicated and dynamic, and subject to varied newsflow, often hyped, which lends itself to active management. We look to take advantage of dislocations between near-term valuations and medium-term returns. Our own in-house idea generation is complemented with input from external research, with conviction built through company meetings, investor conferences and expert physician and consultant networks. The team also has strong valuation discipline looking at a number of metrics including sales and earnings revisions, price-to-earnings, enterprise values, free-cash flow and returns on invested capital.

 

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

ESG considerations are increasingly an integral part of the Company's investment process. Material ESG controversies that have been identified by the team, or through use of third-party research, are addressed and adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. The team uses MSCI ESG data to monitor the status of portfolio companies to identify outliers, or those with positive or negative ratings momentum. Any company that is rated CCC by MSCI ESG, for example, is carefully reviewed by the team to assess the merits of holding, investing or selling. Most importantly, the team will use MSCI ESG ratings and research, where available, when assessing the merits of potential new investments. Regular contact with companies allows for ongoing dialogue with respect to challenges that could impact long-term returns. The team also reviews corporate governance frequently, using professional third-party proxy voting services to complement direct actions.

 

Healthcare delivery disruption: Shifting utilisation to lower cost settings

The portfolio is richly populated with companies that are directly exposed to the delivery disruption investment theme, i.e. companies that are developing products, technologies and services to drive efficiencies and reduce costs without compromising quality of care. Within the growth portfolio Fresenius Medical Care, Phillips, Roche Holdings and UnitedHealth Group are all good examples of companies looking to be part of the solution. AdaptHealth, Quotient and Renalytix in the Innovation portfolio are also looking to disrupt the status quo and deliver value to the system. It is important to remember, however, that we do not divorce valuation and

potential returns from our process, rather we actively seek out opportunities where we find dislocation from underlying value. That dynamism will inevitably lead to opportunities outside of the core investment themes of the Company.

 

Fresenius Medical Care (FMC) is a vertically integrated company involved in the delivery of products and services to patients that need dialysis treatment. With more than 4,000 dialysis centres globally, FMC treats approximately 350,000 patients and performs more than 50 million dialysis treatments every year. Whilst FMC's extensive network and scale is clearly an advantage when it comes to an efficiency drive, the company is also actively engaging in value-based contracts, working with payors to generate savings. If

successful, the contracts are mutually beneficial given that any savings generated are shared between the company and the payors. FMC is also very well-positioned to benefit from the shift of patient volume from traditional settings, i.e. dialysis clinics, to the home. With aligned incentives and backing from the US Government, the direction of travel is clear. FMC has invested heavily in both products (dialysers) and information technologies (connected care) to take advantage of the growth opportunity. Potential advantages to the patients of home dialysis are clear, but the payors are also set to benefit from reduced costs of care and FMC should benefit given potential savings in labour, i.e. reduced staffing requirements, and capital investment, i.e. reduced investment

in new dialysis centres.

 

Healthcare equipment company Philips has three divisions; Diagnosis and Treatment, Connected Care and Personal Health. The benefits of precise diagnosis and co-ordinated treatment planning are clear, but it is Philips' Connected Care division that is best positioned to benefit from the efficiency mega-trend. Philips has invested in telehealth, patient monitoring and analytics as they look to manage patient workflow and coordinate the treatment of chronic diseases. A near-term beneficiary from the COVID-19 pandemic via its ventilators business, it is on-going investment in hospital and clinical informatics platforms that we believe has greater durability. Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche Holdings is not only innovating in R&D but it is also innovating on pricing and affordability. Hemlibra, for the treatment of haemophilia, and lung cancer drug Rozlytrek, were both launched at ~50% discounts to incumbent treatments that they were trying to displace, despite having highly competitive clinical profiles. Ocrevus, Roche's novel treatment for multiple sclerosis, was also launched at a material discount (~25%) to the list price of existing treatments on the market. The company is pursuing a similar strategy with Evrysdi for the treatment of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a rare disorder that primarily affects boys. Roche is pricing the drug at <$100,000 / year in infants and a maximum price of $340,000 / year in older children. This is a ~25% discount over a 5-year treatment plan versus the current treatment, Biogen's Spinraza. Roche also has the largest diagnostics business globally, offering a comprehensive suite of platforms, software solutions and consumables. More interestingly, perhaps, in close collaboration with its pharmaceuticals division, Roche is a leader in personalised healthcare. According to Roche, 60% of late-stage products in development have an accompanying companion diagnostic test as the industry looks to produce targeted therapeutics. These targeted medicines are not only more efficacious but also reduce waste as they are administered in only those patients that will respond to treatment.

 

Perhaps the best example of a business driving down costs is UnitedHealth Group. The Group has a healthcare insurance business, UnitedHealthcare, providing benefits to individuals, employers, Medicare (for the over 65's) and Medicaid (for low income US citizens). The Group also has three ancillary businesses that have one shared mission; to improve performance, generate efficiencies and bend healthcare's cost-curve. OptumHealth provides care directly through localised networks of medical groups and ambulatory care systems, including primary, specialty, urgent and surgical care. The unit also provides products and services that help consumers control their health needs and manage chronic conditions. OptumInsight provides data, analytics, consulting services, research and technologies that help healthcare systems reduce costs, meet compliance mandates and improve clinical outcomes. OptumRx is the Group's PBM that uses its scale to negotiate the best possible deals for its members - low cost medications benefit not just consumers but also the sponsors and, ultimately, shareholders.

 

AdaptHealth is a leading provider of Home Medical Equipment (HME) and is a direct play on home health. Operating across most of the US, AdaptHealth offers a broad range of products and services to help patients adapt to life in the home. These include diabetes management, sleep and respiratory therapies, mobility products, wound care, non-invasive ventilation and nutrition supplies. A heavy user of technology, AdaptHealth is very focused on tailored solutions that empower patients to live and lead better lives. AdaptHealth is a classic play on the consolidation theme that is most relevant to healthcare services. The HME market is very fragmented and thus a significant opportunity exists to acquire assets at attractive valuation levels. With AdaptHealth's use of technology, it can manage this consolidation in a more effective manner at a much greater pace than competitors.

 

Quotient is a commercial-stage diagnostics company looking to reduce healthcare costs and improve patient care through the development of innovative tests for blood grouping. Blood grouping involves specific procedures performed at donor or patient testing laboratories to characterise blood, which includes antigen typing and antibody identification. The company's MosaicQ platform is potentially disruptive given that it significantly reduces the cost of blood grouping, is easy to use, and can be used for high throughput results. The efficiencies that the platform provides are key as the economics in blood donation and testing are extremely

challenging. The technology should allow development in other areas of diagnostics, with proof of this coming from Quotient's ability to produce a COVID-19 antibody test in rapidly and with best-in-class accuracy.

 

With a clear focus on prevention rather than treatment, Renalytix is an artificial intelligence-enabled in-vitro diagnostics company, focused on optimising clinical management of kidney disease to drive improved patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs. The company's KidneyIntelX platform uses artificial intelligence to combine and analyse a broad range of data inputs, including validated bio-markers, genetics and personalised patient data, to generate unique patient risk scores. These scores are then used to predict a patient's risk of deteriorating kidney function and progress towards Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). It is hoped that a powerful prognostic tool can help slow the progression of kidney disease and potentially prevent the occurrence of progressive kidney function decline such as kidney failure and the need for longterm dialysis or kidney transplant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CKD affects approximately 37 million people in the US alone, and the National Kidney Foundation estimates that one third of adults in the US are at risk of developing kidney disease. The revenue opportunity for Renalytix is substantial, as is the potential to generate savings for healthcare systems globally.

 

 

Top 10 Holdings Relative to Benchmark[1]

Relative

Avantor

3.2%

Humana

2.9%

Medtronic

2.9%

IQVIA

2.9%

Horizon Pharma

2.9%

Bio-Rad Laboratories

2.9%

INC Research Holdings

2.9%

Incyte

2.6%

Amgen

2.6%

Vertex Pharmaceuticals

2.5%

     

 

Source: Polar Capital, 30 September 2020. 1. Benchmark: MSCI AC World Daily TR Net Health Care Index. It should not be assumed that recommendations made in future will be profitable or will equal performance of the securities in this document. A list of all recommendations made within the immediately preceding 12 months is available upon request.

 

Conclusion

2020 will of course be remembered for the COVID-19 pandemic, the biggest economic, social and healthcare crisis of our generation. Importantly, however, the crisis has been a genuine catalyst for positive change in the healthcare industry, accelerating the adoption of products, technologies and services designed to make wide-scale access to healthcare more efficient and more affordable without compromising quality. It is that structural shift that we believe will yield some truly exciting investment opportunities, opportunities that should generate highly attractive, near and long-term returns.

 

 

James Douglas & Gareth Powell

Co-Managers

 

 

14 December 2020

 

 

PORTFOLIO REVIEW

 

 

Full Investment Portfolio

As at 30 September

           

 

Ranking

Stock

Sector

Country

Market Value

£'000

% of total net assets

2020

2019

 

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

2020

2019

1

(-)

Medtronic

Healthcare Equipment

Ireland

16,519

                -  

5.1%

-

2

(-)

Amgen

Biotechnology

United States

15,815

                -  

4.9%

-

3

(-)

Roche

Pharmaceuticals

Switzerland

15,491

                -  

4.8%

-

4

(-)

Bristol Myers Squibb

Pharmaceuticals

United States

14,393

                -  

4.4%

-

5

(2)

Sanofi

 

Pharmaceuticals

 

 

France

12,825

14,896

3.9%

5.2%

6

(5)

Eli Lilly

 

Pharmaceuticals

 

 

United States

12,337

10,606

3.8%

3.7%

7

(32)

Humana

 

Managed Healthcare

 

 

United States

12,330

4,936

3.8%

1.7%

8

(-)

Vertex Pharmaceuticals

 

Biotechnology

 

 

United States

11,561

-

3.6%

-

9

(-)

Avantor

Life Sciences Tools & Services

 

 

United States

10,948

-

3.4%

-

10

(25)

IQVIA

Life Sciences Tools & Services

 

United States

10,897

6,624

3.4%

2.3%

Top 10 investments

 

 

133,116

 

 

 

41.1%

 

 

11

(18)

Becton Dickinson

Healthcare Equipment

 

 

United States

 

10,258

7,961

3.2%

2.8%

12

(6)

Koninklijke Philips

Healthcare Equipment

 

 

Netherlands

 

10,071

10,518

3.1%

3.6%

13

(10)

Bio-Rad

Life Sciences Tools & Services

 

 

United States

9,867

8,977

3.0%

3.1%

14

(3)

Novo Nordisk

Pharmaceuticals

 

 

Denmark

9,731

13,763

3.0%

4.8%

15

(22)

Baxter International

Healthcare Equipment

 

 

United States

9,696

7,022

3.0%

2.4%

16

(15)

Incyte

Biotechnology

 

 

United States

9,431

8,193

2.9%

2.8%

17

(20)

Horizon Pharma

Pharmaceuticals

 

 

United States

9,335

7,375

2.9%

2.6%

18

(-)

Syneos Health

Life Sciences Tools & Services

 

 

United States

8,948

 

2.7%

-

19

(-)

Fresenius Medical Care

Healthcare Services

 

 

Germany

8,815

-

2.7%

-

20

(-)

Zimmer Biomet

Healthcare Equipment

 

 

United States

8,631

-

2.6%

-  

Top 20 investments

 

 

227,899

 

70.2%

 

 

 

21

(-)

Amerisourcebergen

Healthcare Distributors

 

 

United States

 

8,545

-  

2.6%

-  

22

(-)

Centene

Managed Healthcare

 

 

United States

 

8,526

              -  

     2.6%

          -  

23

(-)

Sartorius

Healthcare Equipment

 

 

Germany

 

8,254

             -  

     2.5%

          -  

24

(-)

Align Technology

Healthcare Supplies

 

 

United States

 

7,615

              -  

     2.3%

           -  

25

(-)

ArgenX

Biotechnology

 

 

Netherlands

 

7,216

              -  

     2.2%

           -  

26

(-)

Neurocrine Biosciences

Biotechnology

United States

 

 

7,076

-  

     2.2%

           -  

27

(-)

Exelixis

Biotechnology

United States

 

 

6,980

              -  

     2.1%

           -  

28

(-)

Acadia Pharmaceuticals

Biotechnology

 

United States

 

 

6,581

              -  

     2.0%

           -  

29

(-)

Lundbeck

Pharmaceuticals

 

Denmark

 

 

6,508

              -  

     2.0%

           -  

30

(-)

Medley

Healthcare Technology

 

Japan

 

 

5,905

             -  

     1.8%

           -  

Top 30 investments

 

 

 

301,105

 

 

 

92.5%

 

31

(-)

UnitedHealth

Managed Healthcare

 

 

United States

5,898

-  

1.8%

-  

32

(33)

Quotient

Healthcare Supplies

United Kingdom

 

 

4,874

4,767

1.5%

1.7%

33

(38)

Zealand Pharma

Biotechnology

 

Denmark

 

 

4,742

2,678

1.5%

0.9%

34

(12)

HCA Healthcare

Healthcare Facilities

 

United States

 

 

4,726

8,758

1.5%

3.0%

35

(41)

Intelligent Ultrasound

Healthcare Technology

United Kingdom

 

 

4,062

2,043

1.2%

0.7%

36

(-)

Axonics Modulation Technologies  

 

 

Healthcare Equipment

United States

 

3,896

-  

1.2%

-  

37

(-)

Biohaven Pharmaceutical

Biotechnology

 

 

United States

 

3,821

-  

1.2%

-  

38

(-)

AdaptHealth

Healthcare Distributors

 

 

United States

 

2,804

-  

0.9%

-  

39

(42)

Ship Healthcare

Healthcare Distributors

 

 

Japan

 

1,850

1,878

0.6%

0.7%

40

(37)

Oxford Immunotec

Healthcare Equipment

United Kingdom

 

 

1,805

2,694

0.6%

0.9%

Top 40 investments

 

 

 

 

339,583

 

 

104.5%

 

 

41

(40)

Renalytix AI

Healthcare Technology

United Kingdom

 

 

1,523

2,405

0.4%

0.8%

42

(-)

Avadel Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceuticals

Ireland

 

 

1,105

-  

0.3%

-  

43

(-)

Uniphar

Healthcare Distributors

Ireland

 

 

193

-  

0.1%

-  

Total equities

 

 

 

 

342,404

 

 

105.3%

 

Other net liabilities

 

 

 

 

(17,271)

 

 

 (5.3%)

 

Net assets

 

 

 

 

 

325,133

 

100.0%

 

Note - Sectors are from the GICS (Global Industry Classification Standard).

 

STRATEGIC REPORT

 

The Strategic Report comprises the Chair's Statement, the Investment Manager's Report, including information on the portfolio, and this Strategic Report.

 

This Report has been prepared to provide information to shareholders on the Company's strategy and the potential for this strategy to succeed, including a fair review of the Company's performance during the year ended 30 September 2020, the position of the Company at the year end and a description of the principal risks and uncertainties. Throughout the Strategic Report there are certain forward-looking statements made by the Directors in good faith based on the information available to them at the time of their approval of this Report. Such statements should be treated with caution due to inherent uncertainties, including both economic and business risk factors, underlying any such forward-looking information.

 

HISTORY

In June 2017 a reconstruction of the Company, change in investment mandate and change of name was implemented having been approved by shareholders. Further information is provided within the Additional Information in the full Annual Report and Financial Statements and on the Company's website www.polarcapitalhealthcaretrust.co.uk

 

Following the reconstruction and in the absence of any prior proposals, the Articles of Association require the Directors to put forward at the first Annual General Meeting to be held after 1 March 2025, a resolution for the voluntary winding up of the Company and the appointment of a liquidator. Members voting in favour, whether in person or by proxy, shall collectively have sufficient votes, irrespective of number, to pass the resolution.

 

The Board remains positive on the outlook for healthcare and the Company will continue to pursue its investment objective in accordance with the stated investment policy and strategy. Future performance is dependent to a significant degree on the world's financial markets and their reactions to economic events and other geo-political forces. The Chair's Statement and the Investment Manager's Report comment on the development and performance of the business during the financial year, the outlook and potential risks to the performance of the portfolio.

 

INTRODUCTION AND BUSINESS MODEL

The Company's business model follows that of an externally managed investment trust providing Shareholders with access

to a global portfolio of healthcare stocks.

 

The Company is designated an Alternative Investment Fund ('AIF') under the Alternative Investment Fund Management Directive ('AIFMD') and, as required by the Directive, has contracted with Polar Capital LLP to act as the Alternative Investment Fund Manager ('AIFM') and HSBC Bank Plc to act as the Depositary.

 

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE AND POLICY

The Company's investment objective is to generate capital growth by investing in a global portfolio of healthcare stocks across all four healthcare sub-sectors, being pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical technology and healthcare services.

 

The Company will seek to achieve its objective by investing in a diversified global portfolio consisting primarily of listed equities. The portfolio is diversified by geography, industry sub-sector and investment size.

 

The portfolio will comprise a single pool of investments, but for operational purposes, the Investment Manager will maintain a growth portfolio and an innovation portfolio. Innovation companies are broadly defined by the Investment Manager as small/mid cap innovators that are driving disruptive change, giving rise not only to new drugs and surgical treatments but also to a transformation in the management and delivery of healthcare. The growth portfolio is expected to comprise a majority of the Company's assets; for this purpose, once an innovation stock's market capitalisation has risen above US $5bn, it will ordinarily then be treated as a growth stock.

 

The relative ratio between the two portfolios may vary over the life of the Company due to factors such as asset growth and the Investment Manager's views as to the risks and opportunities offered by investments in each pool and across the combined portfolio. The original make up of the combined portfolio was of up to 50 stocks, with growth stocks being primarily US listed. In 2018, the Board authorised an increase to the number of stocks able to be held to 65 and confirmed there is no restriction on geographical exposure.

 

The combined portfolio will therefore be made up of interests in up to 65 companies, with no single investment accounting for more than 10% (or 15% in the case of an investment in another fund managed by the Investment Manager) of the Gross Assets at the time of investment. The innovation portfolio may include stocks which are neither quoted nor listed on any stock exchange but the exposure to such stocks, in aggregate, will not exceed 5% of Gross Assets at the time of investment. In the event that the Investment Manager launches a dedicated healthcare innovation fund, the Company's exposure to innovation stocks may be achieved in whole or in part by an investment in that fund. In any event, the Company will not, without the prior consent of the Board, acquire more than 15% of any such healthcare innovation fund's issued share capital.

 

STRATEGY

As the day to day management of the Company is outsourced to service providers the Board's focus at each meeting is on investment performance, including the outlook and strategy. The Board also considers the management and provision of services received from third-party service providers and the risks inherent in the various matters reviewed and discussed.

 

The Investment Manager's investment process is primarily based on bottom-up fundamental analysis. The Investment Manager uses a qualitative filter consisting of key criteria to build up a watch-list of securities that is monitored on a regular basis. Due diligence is then carried out on the individual securities on the watch-list.

 

Each individual holding is assessed on its own merits in terms of risk:reward including various ESG factors. While the Company expects normally to be fully or substantially invested, the Company may hold cash or money market instruments pending deployment in the portfolio. In addition, it will have the flexibility, when the Investment Manager perceives there to be actual or expected adverse equity market conditions, to maintain cash holdings as it deems appropriate.

 

SERVICE PROVIDERS

Polar Capital LLP has been appointed to act as the Investment Manager and AIFM ('Alternative Investment Fund Manager') as well as to provide or procure company secretarial services and administrative services, including accounting, portfolio valuation and trade settlement which it has arranged to deliver through HSBC Securities Services.

 

The Company also contracts directly, on terms agreed periodically, with a number of third parties for the provision of specialist services, including:

 

·      Panmure Gordon & Co as Corporate Broker;

·      Herbert Smith Freehills LLP as solicitors;

·      HSBC Securities Services as Custodian and Depositary;

·      Equiniti Limited as the Registrar;

·      PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as independent Auditors;

·      Emperor as internet service provider for website design and internet hosting services; and

·      Perivan Limited as designers and printers for shareholder Communications.

 

 

GEARING

Following the restructure of the Company in June 2017, the Company maintains long-term structural gearing in the form of a loan from the wholly owned subsidiary PCGH ZDP Plc. No short-term borrowings have been made and there are no arrangements made for any bank loans. The Articles of Association provide that the Company may borrow up to 15% of its Net Asset Value at the time of drawdown, for tactical deployment when the Board believes that gearing will enhance returns to shareholders. Further details of the loan provided by the subsidiary are provided in the Annual Report.

 

BENCHMARK

The Company will measure the Investment Manager's performance against the MSCI ACWI Healthcare Index total return, in sterling with dividends reinvested. Although the Company has a benchmark, this is neither a target nor an ideal investment strategy. The portfolio may diverge substantially from the constituents of this index. The purpose of the Benchmark is to set a reasonable return for shareholders above which the Investment Manager is entitled to a share of the extra performance it has delivered.

 

REGULATORY ARRANGEMENTS

Both the AIFM ('Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive') and the Depositary have responsibilities under AIFMD for ensuring that the assets of the Company are managed in accordance with the investment policy and are held in safe custody. The Board remains responsible for setting the investment strategy and operational guidelines as well as meeting the requirements of the Financial Conduct Authority ('FCA') Listing Rules and the Companies Act 2006.

 

The AIFMD requires certain information to be made available to investors in AIFs ("Alternative Investment Funds") before they invest and requires that material changes to this information be disclosed in the Annual Report of each AIF. Investor Disclosure Documents, which set out information on the Company's investment strategy and policies, leverage, risk, liquidity, administration, management, fees, conflicts of interest and other Shareholder information are available on the Company's website.

 

There have been no material changes to the information requiring disclosure. Any information requiring immediate disclosure pursuant to the AIFMD will be disclosed to the London Stock Exchange through a primary information provider. Statements from the Depositary and the AIFM can be found on the Company's website.

 

The Company seeks to manage its portfolio in such a way as to meet the tests in Section 1158 and 1159 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010 (as amended by Section 49(2) of the Finance Act 2011) and continue to qualify as an investment trust. This qualification permits the accumulation of capital within the portfolio without any liability to UK Capital Gains Tax. Further information is provided in the Directors' Report.

 

PERFORMANCE AND KEY PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES

The Board appraises the performance of the Company and the Investment Manager as the key supplier of services to the Company against key performance indicators ('KPIs'). The objectives of the KPIs comprise both specific financial and Shareholder related measures.

KPI

CONTROL PROCESS

OUTCOME

 

The provision of investment returns to shareholders measured by long-term NAV growth and relative performance against the

Benchmark.

The Board reviews the performance of the portfolio in detail and hears the views of the Investment Manager at each meeting.

 

The Board also considers the value delivered to shareholders through NAV growth and dividends paid.

As at 30 September 2020, the total net assets of the Company amounted to £325,133,000. The Company's NAV total return, over the year ended 30 September 2020, was 14.14% while the Benchmark Index over the same period increased by 15.95%. The Company's performance is explained further in the Investment Manager's Report.

 

Since restructuring on 20 June 2017, the total return of the NAV was 27.48% and the benchmark was 35.30%. Investment performance is explained in the Chair's Statement and the Investment Manager's Report.

 

The achievement of the dividend policy.

Financial forecasts are reviewed to track income and distributions.

Two dividends have been paid or are payable in respect of the year ended 30 September 2020 totalling 2.00p per share (2019: two dividends totalling 2.10p per share).

 

Monitoring and reacting to issues created by the discount or premium of the ordinary share price to the NAV per ordinary share with the aim of reduced discount volatility for shareholders.

The Board receives regular information on the composition of the share register including trading patterns and discount/premium levels of the Company's ordinary shares. The Board discusses and authorises the issue or buy back of shares when appropriate.

 

The Board is aware of the vulnerability of a sector specialist investment trust to a change in investor sentiment to that sector. While there is no formal discount policy the Board discusses the market factors giving rise to any discount or premium, the long or short-term nature of those factors and the overall benefit to Shareholders of any actions. The market liquidity is also considered when authorising the issue or buy back of shares when appropriate market conditions prevail.

 

A daily NAV per share, calculated in accordance with the AIC guidelines is issued to the London Stock Exchange.

 

The discount of the ordinary share price to the NAV per ordinary share at the year ended 30 September 2020 was 13.1% (2019: 8.0%).

 

During the year ended 30 September 2020, the Company bought back 500,000 ordinary shares into treasury, and no new shares or treasury shares were issued.

 

The number of shares in issue, at the year end was 124,149,256 of which 2,879,256 were held in treasury. The total voting rights of the Company are 121,270,000 shares.

To qualify and continue to meet the requirements for Sections 1158 and 1159 of the Corporation Tax Act

2010 ('investment trust status').

The Board receives regular financial information which discloses the current and projected financial position of the Company against each of the tests set out in Sections 1158 and 1159.

The Company was granted investment trust status annually up to 1 October 2014 and is deemed to be granted such status for each subsequent year subject to the Company continuing to satisfy the conditions of Section 1158 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010 and other associated ongoing requirements.

 

The Directors confirm that the tests have been met in the financial year ended 30 September 2020 and believe that they will continue to be met.

 

To ensure the efficient operation of the Company by monitoring the services provided by third party suppliers, including the Investment Manager, and controlling ongoing charges.

 

The Board considers annually the services provided by the Investment Manager, both investment and administrative, and reviews on a cycle the provision of services from third parties including the costs of their services.

 

The annual operating expenses are reviewed and any non-recurring project related expenditure approved by the Board.

 

The Board has received, and considered satisfactory, the internal controls report of the Investment Manager and other key suppliers including the contingency arrangements to facilitate the ongoing operations of the Company in the event of withdrawal or failure of services.

 

The ongoing charges for the year ended 30 September 2020 were 1.01%, compared to 1.01% the previous year.

 

Principal Risks and Uncertainties

The Board is responsible for the management of risks faced by the Company and, through delegation to the Audit Committee, has established procedures to manage risk, oversee the internal control framework and determine the nature and extent of the principal risks the Company is willing to take in order to achieve its long-term strategic objectives.

 

The Audit Committee carries out, at least annually, a robust assessment of the principal risks and uncertainties with the assistance of the Investment Manager, continually monitors identified risks and meets to discuss both long-term and emerging risks outside of the normal cycle of Audit Committee meetings.

 

A Risk management process has been established to identify and assess various risks, their likelihood and the possible severity of impact then, considering both internal and external controls and factors that could provide mitigation, a post mitigation risk impact score is determined. The Audit Committee has identified the key risks faced by the Company. During the year the Audit Committee, in conjunction with the Board and the Investment Managers undertook a full review of the Company's Risk Map including the mitigating factors and controls to reduce the impact of the risks, and made a number of amendments including the introduction of a Heat Map providing a visual reflection of the Company's identified risks. The key risks which are those classified as having the highest risk impact score post mitigation are detailed below with a high-level summary of the management through mitigation and status arrows to indicate any change in assessment over the past financial year.

 

The Audit Committee has also considered the risks posed by COVID-19, which have been considered as a Black Swan event. Further information on how the Committee has considered COVID-19 when assessing its effect on the Company's ability to operate as a going concern and the Company's longer-term viability can be found in the full Annual Report.

 

Portfolio Management

 

Description

Assessment

Mitigation

Investment Performance

Investment Manager unable to deliver the Investment Objective

leading to poor performance against the benchmark or market/

industry average.

Risk is elevated from 2019 to reflect the market and portfolio performance associated with the COVID-19

pandemic.

The Board seeks to mitigate the impact of such risks through the regular reporting and monitoring of the Company's investment performance against its peer group, benchmark and other agreed indicators of relative performance. A detailed annual review of the investment strategy is undertaken by the Investment Manager with the Board including analysis of investment markets and sector trends.

 

At each meeting the Board discusses developments in healthcare and drug pipelines with the Investment Manager in addition to the composition and diversification of the portfolio with sales and purchases of investments and the degree of risk which the

Investment Manager incurs to generate investment returns.

Individual investments are discussed with the Investment Manager as well as the Investment Manager's general views on the various

investment markets and the healthcare sector in particular. Analytical performance data and attribution analysis is presented by the Investment Manager.

 

The Board is committed to a clear communication program to ensure Shareholders understand the investment strategy. This is maintained

through the use of monthly factsheets which have a market commentary from the Investment Manager as well as portfolio data, an informative website as well as annual and half year reports.

 

Gearing

Inability to repay ZDP loan and or inappropriate use of derivatives.

Unchanged from previous year.

The Board considered the benefits and drawbacks of the structural debt at the time of restructuring and concluded that the ability to lock-in an effective interest rate of 3% pa for the 7-year life would be beneficial to investment returns, the Board remains of the same belief.

 

The asset cover necessary to repay the ZDP shares is a minimum of 1.8x. The asset cover at the year end of 30 September 2020 was 9.1x. If any flexible gearing is contemplated the Board would agree the overall levels of gearing with the AIFM. The arrangement of bank facilities and drawing of funds under such arrangements are controlled by the Board.

 

Derivatives are considered as being a form of gearing and a policy for their use has been agreed by the Board. The deployment of any borrowed funds is based on the Investment Manager's assessment of risk and reward.

 

Discount/Premium

Persistent discount in excess of Board or Shareholder acceptable

levels.

Risk is elevated from 2019 to reflect the continued doubledigit discount level.

The Board regularly considers, in comparison to the sector and peers, the level of premium and discount of the share price to the NAV and ways to enhance Shareholder value including share issuance and buy backs.

 

The Board has carefully monitored the discount level and market movements during the COVID-19 pandemic and has discussed performance with the Managers and advisers. The Chair has also met with key shareholders to understand any concerns and views as detailed in the Chair's Statement and within the s172 Report. The Board and the Managers continue to work together in an aim to improve performance to mitigate the discount level and will report to shareholders in due course should it be deemed necessary. Further detail on the performance and the impact of COVID-19 on the Company is given in the Investment Manager's Report.

 

Trading

Execution of unauthorised trade/dealing error. Error or breach may cause regulatory investigation leading to fines, reputational damage and risk to investment trust status.

Unchanged from previous year.

Investment limits and restrictions are encoded into the dealing and

operations systems of the Investment Manager and various oversight functions are undertaken to ensure there is early warning of any potential issue of compliance or regulatory matters.

 

 

Operational Risk

 

Description

Assessment

Mitigation

Service Failure

Failure in services provided by the Investment Manager, Custodian,

Depositary or other service providers; Accounting, Financial or Custody Errors resulting in regulatory investigation or financial loss, failure of trade settlement, potential loss of Shareholder assets and investment trust status.

Unchanged from previous year.

The Board carries out an annual review of internal control reports from suppliers which includes the Investment Manager's cyber protocols and disaster recovery procedures. Due diligence and service reviews are undertaken with third-party service providers including the Custodian and Depositary.

 

A full review of the internal control framework is carried out at least annually. Regular reporting is received by the Investment Manager on behalf of the Board from the Depositary on the safe custody of the Company's assets. The Board undertakes independent reviews of the Depositary and external Administrator services and additional resources have been put in place by the Investment Manager. Management accounts are produced and reviewed monthly, statutory reporting and

daily NAV calculations are produced by the external Administrator and verified by the Investment Manager. Accounting records are tested, and valuations verified independently as part of the year-end financial

reporting process.

 

Cyber Risk

Cyber-attack causing disruption to or failure of operational and accounting systems and processes provided by the Investment Manager creating an unexpected event and/or adverse impact on personnel or the portfolio.

Unchanged from previous year.

The number, severity and success rate of cyber-attacks have increased considerably over recent years, controls are however in place and the Board proactively seeks to keep abreast of developments through a series of meetings with relevant service providers. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures introduced by the UK Government, the Audit Committee sought assurance from each of the Company's service providers on the resilience of their business continuity arrangements whilst the majority of their employees

worked remotely. These assurances and the subsequent detailed updates that were given to the Committee provided a satisfactory level of assurance that there had not been, and there was no anticipation of any disruption in the ability of each service provider to fulfil their duties as would typically be expected.

 

Key Man

Loss of Investment Manager or other key management professionals. Impact on investor confidence leading to widening of the discount and/or poor performance creating a period of uncertainty and potential termination of the Investment Management Agreement.

Unchanged from previous year.

The strength and depth of investment team provides comfort that there is not over-reliance on one person with alternative portfolio managers available to act if needed. For each key business process roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear and unambiguous.

The Investment Manager has implemented business continuity

planning arrangements as a result of COVID-19 with staff working remotely with no loss of service.

 

Shareholder Communications

Failure to effectively communicate significant events to the shareholder and investor base.

Unchanged from previous year.

The Board is committed to a clear communication programme to ensure Shareholders understand the investment strategy. This is maintained through the use of monthly factsheets which have a market commentary from the Investment Manager as well as portfolio data, an informative website as well as annual and half year reports.

 

 

Regulatory Risk

 

Description

Assessment

Mitigation

 

Non-compliance with statutes, regulations and disclosure requirements, including FCA listed company regime and Companies Act 2006; s1158/1159 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010, the Companies Act 2006 and other UK, European and overseas legislation affecting UK companies including MiFID II and the GDPR.

 

Not complying with accounting standards could result in a suspension of listing or loss of investment trust status, reputational damage and Shareholder activism.

 

Further risks arise from not keeping abreast of changes in legislation and regulations which have in recent years been substantial.

Unchanged from previous year.

The Board monitors regulatory change with the assistance of the

Investment Manager, Company Secretary and external professional suppliers and implements necessary changes should they be required.

 

The Board receives regulatory reports for discussion and, if required, considers the need for any remedial action. In addition, as an investment company, the Company is required to comply with a framework of tax laws, regulation (both UK and EU) and company law.

 

The Board keeps abreast of third party service provider internal controls processes to ensure requirements are met in accordance with regulatory requirements.

 

 

Economic and Market Risk

 

Description

Assessment

Mitigation

 

Financial loss due to unexpected natural disaster or other unpredictable event disrupting the ability to operate or significant exposure to the economic cycles of the markets in which the underlying investments

conduct their business operations as well as the economic impact on

investment markets where such investments are listed.

 

Uncertainty in the regulatory environment and impact on London Financial Services industry due to UK vote to leave the EU ("Brexit") and the potential for the exit arrangements to adversely impact portfolio

investee companies.

 

Fluctuations in stock markets and currency exchange rates could be advantageous or disadvantageous to the Company and its performance.

 

Disruption to trading platforms and support services.

Risk is elevated from 2019 to reflect the market and portfolio performance associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and to reflect the continued double-digit discount level.

The Board regularly discusses the general economic conditions and developments.

 

The impact on the portfolio from Brexit and other geopolitical changes including the trade war between the US and China are monitored through existing control systems and discussed regularly

by the Board. While it is difficult to quantify the impact of such changes, it is not anticipated that they will fundamentally affect the business of the Company or make healthcare investing any less desirable. The longer term effects of COVID-19 on this risk, for example the unprecedented levels of fiscal stimulus and travel restrictions will continue to be assessed by the Audit Committee.

 

The Company has a disaster recovery plan in place.

           

 

MANAGEMENT COMPANY AND MANAGEMENT OF THE PORTFOLIO

As the Company is an investment vehicle for shareholders, the Directors have sought to ensure that the business of the Company is managed by a leading specialist investment management team and that the investment strategy remains attractive to shareholders.

 

The Directors believe that a strong working relationship with Polar Capital LLP (the Investment Manager) will achieve the optimum return for shareholders and the Board and Investment Manager operate in a supportive, co-operative and open environment.

 

INVESTMENT TEAM

The Investment Manager is Polar Capital LLP ('Polar Capital'), which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

 

Under the terms of the investment management agreement Polar Capital provides investment management, and provides or procures accounting, company secretarial and administrative services including the monitoring of third-party suppliers which are directly appointed by the Company. The Investment Manager has, with the consent of the Directors, delegated the provision of certain of these administrative functions to HSBC Securities Services and to Polar Capital Secretarial Services Limited.

 

Polar Capital provides a team of healthcare specialists and the portfolio is co-managed by Dr James Douglas and Mr Gareth Powell.

 

The Investment Manager has responsibility for the discretionary management of the Company's assets (including uninvested cash) and sole responsibility to take decisions as to the purchase and sale of individual investments, asset allocation and sector selection within the limits of both the investment policy and the guidelines established and regularly reviewed by the Board. The activities of the Investment Manager are subject to the overall control and supervision of the Board.

 

The Investment Manager has other resources which support the investment team and has experience in managing and administering other investment trust companies.

 

TERMINATION ARRANGEMENTS

The IMA may be terminated by either party giving 12 months' notice. The IMA may be terminated earlier by the Company with immediate effect on the occurrence of certain events, including: (i) if an order has been made or an effective resolution passed for the liquidation of the Investment Manager; (ii) if the Investment Manager ceases or threatens to cease to carry on its business; (iii) where the Company is required to do so by a relevant regulatory authority; (iv) on the liquidation of the Company; or (v) subject to certain conditions, where the Investment Manager commits a material breach of the IMA.

 

In the event the IMA is terminated before the expiry of the Company's fixed life then, except in the event of termination by the Company for certain specified causes, the base fee and the performance fee will be calculated pro rata for the period up to and including the date of termination.

 

FEE ARRANGEMENTS

 

MANAGEMENT FEE

Under the terms of the IMA, the Investment Manager will be entitled to a management fee together with reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred by it in the performance of its duties. The management fee is payable monthly in arrears and, was, for the year under review and prior years, charged at the rate of 0.85% per annum of the lower of the Group's market capitalisation and the Company's adjusted Net Asset Value on the relevant day. In October 2020, following discussion with Polar Capital, a reduction in the base management fee to 0.75% per annum based on the lower of the market capitalisation and adjusted net asset value was

agreed and became effective from 1 October 2020.

In accordance with the Directors' policy on the allocation of expenses between income and capital, in each financial year 80% of the management fee payable is charged to capital and the remaining 20% to income.

 

PERFORMANCE FEE

The Investment Manager may be entitled to a performance fee. The performance fee was reset at the date of reconstruction of the Company and will be paid in cash at the end of the Company's expected life (except in the case of an earlier termination of the IMA). The performance fee will be an amount equal to 10% of the excess total return (based on the Adjusted Net Asset Value per ordinary share at that time) over the total return of the benchmark plus 1.5% compounded annually on each anniversary of share admission and adjusted for periods of less than 12 months. In May 2020, the Board and Investment Manager agreed an amendment to the Performance fee arrangements, to take immediate effect, whereby a cap was added to reflect that, in the event of a performance fee becoming payable on the future portfolio realisation date, such fee would be subject to a maximum amount of 3.5% of the terminal NAV.

 

For the purposes of calculating the performance fee, the Company's Adjusted Net Asset Value will be based on the Net Asset Value adjusted by the amount of any dividends paid by the Company deemed to have been reinvested on the date of payment in ordinary shares at their Net Asset Value (on such date) and the resulting amount added to the Company's Net Asset Value.

 

If at the end of the Company's expected life the amount available for distribution to shareholders is less than 215.9p per ordinary share, no performance fee will be payable. If the amount is more than 215.9p per ordinary share but payment of the performance fee in full would reduce it below that level, then the performance fee will be reduced such that shareholders receive exactly 215.9p

per share.

 

No performance fee has been paid or accrued since inception and up to 30 September 2020.

 

CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY

 

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

 

The Company's core activities are undertaken by its Investment Manager which seeks to limit the use of non-renewable resources and reduce waste where possible. The Investment Manager has a corporate ESG policy and wherever possible and appropriate the parameters of such are considered and adopted by the investment team in relation to the Company's management and portfolio construction. As detailed further within the Investment Manager's Report the Investment Managers are required to have consideration to ESG factors when reviewing new, continuing or exiting investments but they are not required to take an investment

decision solely on the basis of ESG factors. The Board monitors the Investment Manager's approach to ESG and they themselves take into account ESG factors in the management of the Company.

 

The Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors' Reports) Regulations 2013 require companies listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange to report on the greenhouse gas ('GHG') emissions for which they are responsible. The Company is an investment trust, with neither employees nor premises, nor has it any financial or operational control of the assets which it owns. Consequently, it has no GHG emissions to report from its operations nor does it have responsibility for any other emissions.

 

DIVERSITY AND GENDER REPORTING

The Company has no employees and at the year end the Board is comprised of one female and three male Independent non-executive Directors.

 

When compiling a shortlist of candidates and selecting individuals for interview, the Board has regard to the benefits of diversity, including gender but will ultimately seek to ensure directors appointed to the Board are chosen on merit. Both Andrew Fleming and Jeremy Whitley, appointed 1 December 2019, were chosen as the most appropriate candidates for the Board based on their experience and complementary skill-sets both with each other and the remaining Board.

 

The Company has not adopted a policy on human rights as it has no employees or operational control of its assets.

 

MODERN SLAVERY ACT

As an investment company, the Company does not provide goods or services in the normal course of business and does not have any customers. Accordingly, it is considered that the Company is not required to make any slavery or human trafficking statements under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

 

ANTI-BRIBERY, CORRUPTION AND TAX EVASION

The Board has adopted a zero-tolerance policy (available on the Company's website) to bribery, corruption and the facilitation of tax evasion in its business activities. The Board uses the principles formulated and implemented by the Investment Manager and expects the same standard of zero-tolerance to be adopted by third party service providers.

 

The Company has implemented a Conflicts of Interest policy to which the Directors must adhere, in the event of divergence between the Investment Manager's policy and the Company's policy the Company's policy shall prevail. The Company is committed to acting with integrity and in the interests of shareholders at all times.

 

Approved by the Board on 14 December 2020

By order of the Board

 

TRACEY LAGO, FCG

POLAR CAPITAL SECRETARIAL SERVICES LIMITED

COMPANY SECRETARY

 

 

STATEMENT OF DIRECTORS' RESPONSIBILITIES

The directors are responsible for preparing the Annual Report and the financial statements in accordance with applicable law and regulation.

 

Company law requires the directors to prepare financial statements for each financial year. Under that law the directors have prepared the group financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) as adopted by the European Union. Under company law the directors must not approve the financial statements unless they are satisfied that they give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the group and company and of the profit or loss of the group and company for that period. In preparing the financial statements, the directors are required to:

 

-       select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently;

 

-       state whether applicable IFRSs as adopted by the European Union have been followed for the group financial statements and IFRSs as adopted by the European Union have been followed for the company financial statements, subject to any material departures disclosed and explained in the financial statements;

 

-       make judgements and accounting estimates that are reasonable and prudent; and

 

-       prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the group and company will continue in business.

 

The directors are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the group and company and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.

 

The directors are responsible for keeping adequate accounting records that are sufficient to show and explain the group and company's transactions and disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the group and company and enable them to ensure that the financial statements and the Directors' Remuneration Report comply with the Companies Act 2006 and, as regards the group financial statements, Article 4 of the IAS Regulation.

 

The directors are responsible for the maintenance and integrity of the company's website. Legislation in the United Kingdom governing the preparation and dissemination of financial statements may differ from legislation in other jurisdictions.

 

Directors' confirmations

The directors consider that the annual report and accounts, taken as a whole, is fair, balanced and understandable and provides the information necessary for shareholders to assess the group and company's position and performance, business model and strategy.

 

Each of the directors, whose names and functions are listed in the Strategic Report confirm that, to the best of their knowledge:

 

-       the company financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with IFRSs as adopted by the European Union, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit of the company;

 

-       the group financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with IFRSs as adopted by the European Union, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit of the group; and

 

-       the Strategic Report includes a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of the group and company, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties that it faces.

 

 

In the case of each director in office at the date the Directors' Report is approved:

 

-       so far as the director is aware, there is no relevant audit information of which the group and company's auditors are unaware; and

 

-       they have taken all the steps that they ought to have taken as a director in order to make themselves aware of any relevant audit information and to establish that the group and company's auditors are aware of that information.

 

 

 

Lisa Arnold

Chair

 

 

 

STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME

For the year ended 30 September 2020

 

Note

Group

Group

Year ended
30 September 2020

Year ended
30 September 2019

Revenue return

£'000

Capital return

£'000

Total

return

£'000

Revenue return

£'000

Capital return

£'000

Total

return

£'000

Investment income

3

3,446

-

3,446

4,131

-

4,131

Other operating income

4

17

-

17

79

-

79

Gains/(losses) on investments held at fair value

5

-

42,435

42,435

-

(3,337)

(3,337)

Other currency (losses)/gains

6

-

(647)

(647)

-

43

43

Total income

 

3,463

41,788

45,251

4,210

(3,294)

916

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investment management fee

7

(535)

(2,140)

(2,675)

(503)

(2,013)

(2,516)

Other administrative expenses

8

(685)

(107)

(792)

(610)

(69)

(679)

Total expenses

 

(1,220)

(2,247)

(3,467)

(1,113)

(2,082)

(3,195)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profit/(loss) before finance costs and tax

 

2,243

39,541

41,784

3,097

(5,376)

(2,279)

Finance costs

9

(1)

(1,038)

(1,039)

(9)

(1,037)

(1,046)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profit/(loss) before tax

 

2,242

38,503

40,745

3,088

(6,413)

(3,325)

Tax

10

(472)

-

(472)

(535)

-

(535)

Net profit/(loss) for the year and total comprehensive income

 

1,770

38,503

40,273

2,553

(6,413)

(3,860)

Earnings/(loss) per Ordinary share (pence)

12

1.46

31.74

33.20

2.09

(5.25)

(3.16)

 

The total column of this statement represents Group's Statement of Comprehensive Income, prepared in accordance with IFRS

as adopted by the European Union.

 

The revenue return and capital return columns are supplementary to this and are prepared under guidance published by the

Association of Investment Companies.

 

The Group does not have any other income or expense that is not included in net profit for the year. The net profit for the year

disclosed above represents the Group's total comprehensive income.

 

There are no dilutive securities and therefore the Earnings per Share and the Diluted Earnings per share are the same.

 

All revenue and capital items in the above statement derive from continuing operations. No operations were acquired or

discontinued in the year.

 

The notes below form part of these financial statements.

 

 

 

STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN EQUITY

For the year ended 30 September 2020

 

 

Note

Group and Company

Year ended 30 September 2020

Called up share capital

£'000

Capital redemption reserve

£'000

Share premium reserve

£'000

Special distributable reserve

£'000

Capital reserves

£'000

Revenue reserve

£'000

Total Equity

£'000

Total equity at 1 October 2019

31,037

6,575

80,685

4,712

162,646

2,792

288,447

Total comprehensive income:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profit for the year ended 30 September 2020

-

-

-

-

38,503

1,770

40,273

Transactions with owners, recorded directly to equity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shares bought back and held in treasury

14

-

-

-

(1,040)

-

-

(1,040)

Equity dividends paid

11

-

-

-

-

-

(2,547)

(2,547)

Total equity at
30 September 2020

31,037

6,575

80,685

3,672

201,149

2,015

325,133

 

 

Note

Group and Company

Year ended 30 September 2019

Called up share capital

£'000

Capital redemption reserve

£'000

Share premium reserve

£'000

Special distributable reserve

£'000

Capital reserves

£'000

Revenue reserve

£'000

Total Equity

£'000

Total equity at 1 October 2018

31,037

6,575

 80,685

6,225

169,059

 2,682

296,263

Total comprehensive (expense)/income:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Loss)/profit for the year ended 30 September 2019

-

-

-

-

(6,413)

2,553

(3,860)

Transactions with owners, recorded directly to equity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shares bought back and held in treasury

14

-

 -

-

(1,513)

-

-

(1,513)

Equity dividends paid

11

-

-

-

-

-

(2,443)

(2,443)

Total equity at
30 September 2019

31,037

6,575

80,685

4,712

162,646

2,792

288,447

 

The notes below form part of these financial statements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BALANCE SHEETS

As at 30 September 2020

 

Notes

Group

Company

30 September 2020

£'000

30 September 2019

£'000

30 September 2020

£'000

30 September 2019

£'000

Non-current assets

 

 

 

 

 

Investments held at fair value

 

342,404

308,993

342,404

308,993

Investment in subsidiary

 

-

-

50

50

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current assets

 

 

 

 

 

Receivables

 

3,082

17,237

3,082

17,237

Overseas tax recoverable

 

589

693

589

693

Cash and cash equivalents

16

17,845

6,862

17,795

6,812

 

 

21,516

24,792

21,466

24,742

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

 

363,920

333,785

363,920

333,785

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

Payables

 

(3,382)

(10,961)

(3,382)

(10,961)

Bank overdraft

16

-

(4)

-

(4)

 

 

(3,382)

(10,965)

(3,382)

(10,965)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-current liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

Zero Dividend Preference shares

 

(35,405)

(34,373)

-

-

Loan from subsidiary

 

-

-

(35,405)

(34,373)

Total liabilities

 

(38,787)

(45,338)

(38,787)

(45,338)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net assets

 

325,133

288,447

325,133

288,447

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equity attributable to equity Shareholders

 

 

 

 

 

Called up share capital

14

31,037

31,037

31,037

31,037

Share premium reserve

 

80,685

80,685

80,685

80,685

Capital Redemption reserve

 

6,575

6,575

6,575

6,575

Special distributable reserve

 

3,672

4,712

3,672

4,712

Capital reserves

 

201,149

162,646

201,149

162,646

Revenue reserve

 

2,015

2,792

2,015

2,792

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total equity

 

325,133

288,447

325,133

288,447

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net asset value per Ordinary share (pence)

15

268.11

236.88

268.11

236.88

Net asset value per ZDP share (pence)

 

110.20

106.99

-

-

 

The parent company has taken advantage of section 408 of the Companies Act 2006 and has not included its own income

statement in the financial statements. The parent company's profit for the year was £40,273,000 (2019: loss of £3,860,000).

 

The financial statements were approved and authorised for issue by the Board of Directors on 14 December 2020 and signed on its behalf by

 

 

Lisa Arnold

Chair

Registered number 7251471

 

 

The notes below form part of these financial statements.

 

 

 

CASH FLOW STATEMENT

For the year ended 30 September 2020

 

 

Group and Company

 

Note

Year ended

30 September 2020

£'000

Year ended

30 September 2019

£'000

Cash flows from operating activities

 

 

 

Profit/(loss) before finance costs and tax

 

41,784

(2,279)

Adjustment for non-cash items:

 

 

 

(Gain)/loss on investments held at fair value through profit or loss

 

(42,435)

3,337

Scrip dividends received

 

(204)

-

Adjusted (loss)/profit before tax

 

(855)

1,058

 

 

 

 

Adjustments for:

 

 

 

Purchases of investments, including transaction costs

 

(952,341)

(532,121)

Sales of investments, including transaction costs

 

967,884

530,063

Decrease in receivables

 

85

222

Increase in payables

 

176

169

Overseas tax deducted at source

 

(368)

(671)

Net cash generated from/(used in) operating activities

 

14,581

(1,280)

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from financing activities

 

 

 

Cost of shares repurchased

 

(1,040)

(1,513)

Interest paid

 

(7)

(45)

Equity dividends paid

11

(2,547)

(2,443)

Net cash used in financing activities

 

(3,594)

(4,001)

 

 

 

 

Net increase/(decrease) in cash and cash equivalents

 

10,987

(5,281)

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the year

 

6,858

12,139

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year

16

17,845

6,858

 

 

The notes below form part of these financial statements.

 

 

NOTES TO THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

For the year ended 30 September 2020

 

1.     General Information

The consolidated financial statements for the year ended 30 September 2020 comprise the financial statements of the Company and its wholly-owned subsidiary PCGH ZDP plc (together referred to as the 'Group').

 

The Group and Company financial statements have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which comprise standards and interpretations approved by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC), as adopted by the European Union, and with those parts of the Companies Act 2006 applicable to companies under IFRS.

 

The Group and Company's presentational currency is pounds sterling (rounded to the nearest £'000). Pounds sterling is also the functional currency of the Group and Company because it is the currency which is most relevant to the majority of the Group and Company's shareholders and creditors and the currency in which the majority of the Group and Company's operating expenses are paid.

 

2.     Accounting Policies

The principal accounting policies which have been applied consistently for all years presented are set out below:

 

(a)   Basis of Preparation

The financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis under the historical cost convention, as modified by the

revaluation of investments and derivative financial instruments at fair value through profit or loss.

 

Where presentational guidance set out in the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) for investment trusts issued by the

Association of Investment Companies (AIC) in October 2019 is consistent with the requirements of IFRS, in so far as those requirements are applicable to the financial statements, the Directors have sought to prepare the financial statements on a basis compliant with the recommendations of the SORP.

 

Following the guidance of the revised SORP, issued in October 2019, the presentation of gains and losses arising from disposals

of investments and gains and losses on revaluation of investments have now been combined, as shown in Note 13 with no impact to the net asset value or profit/(loss) reported for both the current or prior year. No other accounting policies or disclosures have changed as a result of the revised SORP.

 

Basis of consolidation - The Group financial statements consolidate the Financial Statements of the Company and its wholly owned subsidiary, PCGH ZDP plc, drawn up to the same accounting date. The subsidiary is consolidated from the date of its incorporation.

 

The Company has taken advantage of the exemption under section 408 of the Companies Act 2006 and accordingly has not presented a separate parent company income statement.

 

The financial position of the Group and Company as at 30 September 2020 is shown in the balance sheet above. As at 30 September 2020 the Group and Company's total assets exceeded its total liabilities by a multiple of over 9. The assets of the Group and Company consist mainly of securities that are held in accordance with the Group and Company's Investment Policy, as set out above and these securities are readily realisable. The Directors have considered a detailed assessment of the Group and Company's ability to meets its liabilities as they fall due. The assessment took account of the Company's current financial position, its cash flows and its liquidity position. In addition to the assessment the Group and Company carried out stress testing, including for the impact of COVID-19, which used a variety of falling parameters to demonstrate the effects on the Company's share price and net asset value. In light of the results of these tests, the Group and Company's cash balances, and the liquidity position, the Directors consider that the Group and Company has adequate financial resources to enable it to continue in operational existence. Accordingly, the Directors believe that it is appropriate to continue to adopt the going concern basis in preparing the Group and Company's financial statements.

 

(b)   Presentation of the Statement of Comprehensive Income

In order to better reflect the activities of an investment trust company and in accordance with the guidance set out by the AIC, supplementary information which analyses the Statement of Comprehensive Income between items of a revenue and capital nature has been presented alongside the Statement of Comprehensive Income. The results presented in the revenue return column is the measure the Directors believe appropriate in assessing the Group and Company's compliance with certain requirements set out in section 1158 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010.

 

(c)    Income

Dividends receivable from equity shares are recognised and taken to the revenue return column of the Statement of Comprehensive Income on an ex-dividend basis.

 

Special dividends are recognised on an ex-dividend basis and may be considered to be either revenue or capital items. The facts and circumstances are considered on a case by case basis before a conclusion on appropriate allocation is reached.

 

Income from US/Canadian REITs is initially taken to the revenue return column of the Statement of Comprehensive Income on an ex-dividend basis. An adjustment may then be made to reallocate a proportion of this income to capital, depending on the information announced by the REITs.

 

Where the Group and Company has received dividends in the form of additional shares rather than in cash, the amount of the cash dividend foregone is recognised in the revenue return column of the Statement of Comprehensive Income. Any excess

in value of shares received over the amount of the cash dividend foregone is recognised in the capital return column of the Statement of Comprehensive Income.

 

Bank interest is accounted for on an accruals basis. Interest outstanding at the year-end is calculated on a time apportionment basis using market rates of interest.

 

(d)   Written Options

The Group and Company may write exchange-traded options with a view to generating income. This involves writing short- dated covered-call options and put options. The use of financial derivatives is governed by the Group and Company's policies, as approved by the Board.

 

These options are recorded initially at fair value, based on the premium income received, and are then measured at subsequent reporting dates at fair value. Changes in the fair value of the options are recognised in the capital return for the period.

 

The option premiums are recognised evenly over the life of the option and shown in the revenue return, with an appropriate amount shown in the capital return to ensure the total return reflects the overall change in the fair value of the options.

 

Where an option is exercised, any balance of the premium is recognised immediately in the revenue return with a corresponding adjustment in the capital return based on the amount of the loss arising on exercise of the option.

 

(e)   Expenses

All expenses, including the management fee, are accounted for on an accruals basis and are recognised when they fall due.

 

All expenses have been presented as revenue items except as follows:

 

Expenses are charged to the capital column of the Statement of Comprehensive Income where a connection with the maintenance or enhancement of the value of investments can be demonstrated. In this respect the investment management fees have been charged to the Statement of Comprehensive Income in line with the Board's expected long-term split of returns, in the form of capital gains and income from the Group and Company's portfolio. As a result 20% of the investment management fees are charged to the revenue account and 80% charged to the capital account of the Statement of Comprehensive Income.

 

The performance fee (when payable) is charged entirely to capital as the fee is based on the out-performance of the Benchmark and is expected to be attributable largely, if not wholly, to capital performance.

 

The research costs relate solely to specialist healthcare research and are accounted for on an accrual basis and, are allocated           20% to revenue and 80% capital. This in in line with the Board's expected long-term split of revenue and capital return from the Company's investment portfolio.

 

Finance costs

The ZDP shares are designed to provide a pre-determined capital growth from their original issue price of 100p on 20 June 2017 to a final capital repayment of 122.99p on 19 June 2024. The initial capital will increase at a compound interest rate of 3% per annum.

 

No dividends are payable on the ZDP shares. The provision for the capital growth entitlement of the ZDP shares is included as a finance cost and charged 100% to capital within the Statement of Comprehensive Income (AIC SORP paragraph 53 - issued October 2019).

 

Overdraft interest costs are allocated 20% to revenue and 80% to capital in line with the Board's expected long-term split of revenue and capital return from the Company's investment portfolio.

 

Share issue costs

Costs incurred directly in relation to the issue of shares in the subsidiary are borne by the Company and taken 100% to capital.   Share issue costs relating to ordinary share issues by the Company are taken 100% to the share premium account.

 

Zero Dividend Preference (ZDP) shares

Shares issued by the subsidiary are treated as a liability of the Group, and are shown in the Group Balance Sheet at their redemption value at the Balance Sheet date. The appropriations in respect of the ZDP shares necessary to increase the subsidiary's liabilities to the redemption values are allocated to capital in the Statement of Comprehensive Income. This treatment reflects the Board's long-term expectations that the entitlements of the ZDP shareholders will be satisfied out of gains arising on investments held primarily for capital growth.

 

(f)    Taxation

The tax expense represents the sum of the overseas withholding tax deducted from investment income, tax currently payable and deferred tax.

 

The tax currently payable is based on the taxable profits for the year ended 30 September 2020. Taxable profit differs from net profit as reported in the Statement of Comprehensive Income because it excludes items of income or expense that are taxable or deductible in other years and it further excludes items that are never taxable or deductible. The Group and Company's liability for current tax is calculated using tax rates that have been enacted or substantively enacted at the balance sheet date.

 

In line with the recommendations of the SORP, the allocation method used to calculate tax relief on expenses presented against capital returns in the supplementary information in the Statement of Comprehensive Income is the "marginal basis". Under this basis, if taxable income is capable of being offset entirely by expenses presented in the revenue return column of the Statement of Comprehensive Income, then no tax relief is transferred to the capital return column.

 

Deferred tax is the tax expected to be payable or recoverable on temporary differences between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities in the financial statements and the corresponding tax bases used in the computation of taxable profit, and is accounted for using the balance sheet liability method. Deferred tax liabilities are recognised for all taxable temporary differences and deferred tax assets are recognised to the extent that it is probable that taxable profits will be available against which deductible temporary differences can be utilised.

 

Investment trusts which have approval as such under section 1158 of the Corporation Taxes Act 2010 are not liable for taxation on capital gains.

 

The carrying amount of deferred tax assets is reviewed at each balance sheet date and reduced to the extent that it is no longer probable that sufficient taxable profits will be available to allow all or part of the asset to be recovered.

 

Deferred tax is calculated at the tax rates that are expected to apply in the period when the liability is settled or the asset is realised based on tax rates that have been enacted or substantively enacted at the balance sheet date.

 

Deferred tax is charged or credited in the Statement of Comprehensive Income, except when it relates to items charged or credited directly to equity, in which case the deferred tax is also dealt with in equity.

 

(g)   Investments Held at Fair Value Through Profit or Loss

When a purchase or sale is made under contract, the terms of which require delivery within the timeframe of the relevant market, the investments concerned are recognised or derecognised on the trade date and are initially measured at fair value.

 

On initial recognition the Group and Company has designated all of its investments as held at fair value through profit or loss as defined by IFRS. All investments are measured at subsequent reporting dates at fair value, which is either the bid price or the last traded price, depending on the convention of the exchange on which the investment is quoted.

 

All investments, classified as fair value through profit or loss, are further categorised into the following fair value hierarchy:

 

Level 1: Unadjusted prices quoted in active markets for identical assets and liabilities.

 

Level 2: Having inputs other than quoted prices included within Level 1 that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly (i.e. as prices) or indirectly (i.e. derived from prices).

 

Level 3: Having inputs for the asset or liability that are not based on observable market data.

 

Changes in fair value of all investments held at fair value and realised gains and losses on disposal are recognised in the capital return column of the Statement of Comprehensive Income.

 

In the event a security held within the portfolio is suspended then judgement is applied in the valuation of that security.

 

(h)   Receivables

Receivables are initially recognised at fair value and subsequently measured at amortised cost. Receivables do not carry       any interest and are short-term in nature and are accordingly stated at their nominal value (amortised cost) as reduced by appropriate allowances for estimated irrecoverable amounts.

 

(i)    Cash and Cash Equivalents

Cash comprises cash on hand and demand deposits. Cash equivalents are short-term, maturity of three months or less, highly liquid investments that are readily convertible to known amounts of cash.

 

(j)    Dividends Payable

Dividends payable to shareholders are recognised in the financial statements when they are paid or, in the case of final dividends, when they are approved by the shareholders.

 

(k)   Payables

Other payables are not interest-bearing and are initially valued at fair value and subsequently stated at their nominal value (amortised cost).

 

(l)    Foreign Currency Translation

Transactions in foreign currencies are translated into sterling at the rate of exchange ruling on the date of each transaction. Monetary assets, monetary liabilities and equity investments in foreign currencies at the balance sheet date are translated into sterling at the rates of exchange ruling on that date. Realised profits or losses on exchange, together with differences arising on the translation of foreign currency assets or liabilities, are taken to the capital return column of the Statement of Comprehensive Income.

 

Foreign exchange gains and losses arising on investments held at fair value are included within changes in fair value.

 

(m)  Capital Reserves

Capital reserve arising on investments sold includes:

 

·      gains/losses on disposal of investments

 

·      exchange differences on currency balances

 

·      transfer to subsidiary in relation to ZDP funding requirement

 

·      other capital charges and credits charged to this account in accordance with the accounting policies above.

 

Capital reserve arising on investments held includes:

 

·      increases and decreases in the valuation of investments held at the balance sheet date.

 

All of the above are accounted for in the Statement of Comprehensive Income.

 

(n)   Repurchase of Ordinary Shares (Including Those Held in Treasury)

The costs of repurchasing Ordinary shares including related stamp duty and transaction costs are taken directly to equity and reported through the Statement of Changes in Equity as a charge on the special distributable reserve. Share repurchase transactions are accounted for on a trade date basis.

 

The nominal value of Ordinary share capital repurchased and cancelled is transferred out of called up share capital and into the capital redemption reserve.

 

Where shares are repurchased and held in treasury, the transfer to capital redemption reserve is made if and when such shares are subsequently cancelled.

 

(o)   Segmental Reporting

Under IFRS 8, 'Operating Segments', operating segments are considered to be the components of an entity about which separate financial information is available that is evaluated regularly by the chief operating decision maker in deciding how to allocate resources and in assessing performance. The chief operating decision maker has been identified as the Investment Manager (with oversight from the board). 

 

The Directors are of the opinion that the Group and Company has only one operating segment and as such no distinct segmental reporting is required.

 

(p)   Key Estimates and judgements

Estimates and assumptions used in preparing the financial statements are reviewed on an ongoing basis and are based on historical experience and various other factors that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. The results of these estimates and assumptions form the basis of making judgements about carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. The Group and Company do not consider that there have been any significant estimates or assumptions in the current financial year.

 

(q)   New and revised accounting Standards

There were no new IFRSs or amendments to IFRSs applicable to the current year which had any significant impact on the Group and Company's financial statements.

 

The following standards became effective on 1 January 2019 and the adoption of the standards and interpretations have not had a material impact on the financial statements of the Group and Company.

 

IFRS 16 Leases

As the Group and Company neither holds, trades or has any lease obligations of any type, the provisions of this standard are not expected to have a material impact on the financial statements.

 

IFRS 9 (Amended) Prepayment Features with Negative Compensation

Negative compensation arises where the contractual terms permit a borrower to prepay the instrument before its contractual maturity, but the prepayment amount could be less than unpaid amounts of principal and interest. The Company has no such terms in any of its loan agreements in place and the amendments are not expected to have any impact on the financial statements.

 

IFRIC 23 Uncertainty over Income Tax Treatments

The interpretation provides guidance on considering uncertain tax treatments in relation to taxable profit or loss and does not add any new disclosures. The Company complies with all relevant tax laws where applicable and the provisions of this interpretation are not expected to have a material impact on the financial statements.

 

IAS 19 (amended) Employee Benefits

As the Group and Company has no employees, the amendment to this standard are not expected to have any impact on the financial statements.

 

IAS 28 (amended) Investments in Associates and Joint Ventures

As the Group and Company have no investments in associates or joint ventures, the amendments to this standard are not expected to have any impact on the financial statements.

 

Annual Improvement Cycles 2015-2017 (Amendments)

This makes narrow-scope amendments to four IFRS Standards: IFRS 3 Business Combinations, IFRS 11 Joint Arrangements, IAS 12 Incomes Taxes and IAS 23 Borrowing costs. These limited amendments are not expected to have any impact on the financial statements.

 

At the date of authorisation of the Group and Company's financial statements, the following new IFRSs that potentially impact the Group and Company are in issue but are not yet effective and have not been applied in the financial statements:

 

Effective for periods commencing on or after 1 January 2020:

 

IFRS 3 Business Combinations (amended)

The IASB has made narrow-scope amendments to improve the definition of a business in order to help companies determine whether an acquisition made is of a business or a group of assets. These amendments are not expected to have any impact on the financial statements.

 

IFRS 9, IAS 39 and IFRS 7: Interest Rate Benchmark Reform (amended)

The IASB has issued amendments to IFRS 9, IAS 39 and IFRS 7 that provide certain reliefs in connection with interest rate benchmark reform. The reliefs relate to hedge accounting and have the effect that IBOR reform should not generally cause hedge accounting to terminate. These amendments are not expected to have any impact on the financial statements.

 

IAS 1 and IAS 8 Definition of Material (amended)

The definition of material has been amended to state that "information is material if omitting, misstating or obscuring it could reasonably be expected to influence decisions that the primary users of general purpose financial statements make on the basis of those financial statements, which provide financial information about a specific reporting entity." This new definition is not expected to change how materiality judgements are currently made by the Group and Company nor have any impact on the material information included in the Annual Report.

 

References to the Conceptual Framework in IFRS Standards (amended)

The amendments to References to the Conceptual Framework in IFRS Standards was issued to support transition to the revised Conceptual Framework for companies that develop accounting policies using the Conceptual Framework when no IFRS  Standard applies to a particular transaction. These amendments are not expected to have any impact to the financial statements.

 

Effective for periods commencing on or after 1 January 2021:

 

IFRS 4 Insurance Contracts - temporary exemption from IFRS 9 (amended)

The temporary exemption permits companies whose activities are predominantly connected with insurance to defer the application of IFRS 9.

 

IFRS 9, IAS 39, IFRS 7, IFRS 16 and IFRS 4: Interest Rate Benchmark Reform - phase 2 (amended)

Interest Rate Benchmark Reform-Phase 2, address issues that might affect financial reporting during the reform of an interest rate benchmark, including the effects of changes to contractual cash flows or hedging relationships arising from the replacement of an interest rate benchmark with an alternative benchmark rate.

 

Effective for periods commencing on or after 1 January 2023:

 

IFRS 17 Insurance Contracts

The standard establishes the principles for the recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure of insurance contracts. This information gives a basis for users of financial statements to assess the effect that contracts have on the financial position, financial performance and cash flows of a company.

 

The Directors expect that the adoption of the standards listed above will have either no impact or that any impact will not be material on the Financial Statements of the Company in future periods.

 

       

3.     Investment Income

 

Year ended

30 September

2020

£'000

Year ended

30 September

2019

£'000

Revenue:

 

 

Franked: Listed investments

 

 

Dividend income

63

377

Unfranked: Listed investments

 

 

Dividend income

3,179

3,754

Scrip dividends

204

-

Total investment income allocated to revenue

3,446

4,131

 

 

4.     Other Operating Income

 

Year ended

30 September

2020

£'000

Year ended

30 September

2019

£'000

Other income

-

30

Bank interest

17

49

Total other operating income

17

79

 

 

5.     Gains/(losses) on Investments Held at Fair Value

 

Year ended

30 September

2020

£'000

Year ended

30 September

2019

£'000

Net gains on disposal of investments at historic cost

39,352

22,892

Less fair value adjustments in earlier years

(11,710)

(33,931)

Gains/(losses) based on carrying value at previous balance sheet date

27,642

(11,039)

Valuation gains on investments held during the year

14,793

7,702

 

42,435

(3,337)

 

6.     Other Currency (Losses)/Gains

 

Year ended

30 September

2020

£'000

Year ended

30 September

2019

£'000

Exchange (losses)/gains on currency balances

(647)

43

 

7.     Investment Management Fee

 

Year ended

30 September

2020

£'000

Year ended

30 September

2019

£'000

Management fee

 

- charged to revenue

535

503

- charged to capital

2,140

2,013

Investment management fee payable to Polar Capital LLP

2,675

2,516

 

        Management fees are allocated 20% to revenue and 80% to capital. Details of the fee arrangements are given in the Strategic   

        Report above.

 

 

8.     Other Administrative Expenses (Including VAT where appropriate)

 

Year ended

30 September

2020

£'000

Year ended

30 September

2019

£'000

Directors' fees1

143

122

Directors' NIC

14

12

Auditors' remuneration2:

 

 

For audit of the Group and Company financial statements

44

32

Depositary fee

23

24

Registrar fee

31

34

Custody and other bank charges

39

30

UKLA and LSE listing fees

46

44

Legal & professional fees

6

-

AIC fees

21

20

Directors' and officers' liability insurance

9

8

Corporate broker's fee

24

30

Marketing expenses3

42

17

Research costs - allocated to revenue4

27

17

Shareholder communications

30

34

HSBC administration fee

182

150

Other expenses5

4

36

Total other administrative expenses allocation to revenue

685

610

Research cost - allocated to capital4

107

69

Total other administrative expenses

792

679

 

1 Full disclosure is given in the Directors' Remuneration Report within the Annual Report.

2 2020 includes £6,000 (2019: £5,175) paid to the Auditor for the audit of PCGH ZDP Plc.

3 Includes marketing expenses payable to Polar Capital LLP of £22,500 (2019: £7,500).

4 Research costs (which applied from 3 January 2018) payable by the Company relate solely to specialist healthcare research and are capped at US $232,994 (£180,000) (2019: US $232,994 (£189,000)) with the cost of general non-specialist research and any amounts exceeding the agreed cap being absorbed by Polar Capital. Any adjustments to the prior year's budget versus actual spend is included in the current period. These costs are allocated 20% to revenue and 80% to capital and are included in the ongoing charges calculation.

5 2019 included costs in relation to non-executive Director search fee.

 

Ongoing charges represents the total expenses of the Company, excluding finance costs and tax, expressed as a percentage of the average daily net asset value, in accordance with AIC guidance issued in May 2012.

 

The ongoing charges ratio for the year ended 30 September 2020 was 1.01% (2019: 1.01%). See Alternative Performance Measures below.

 

9.     Finance Costs

 

Year ended 30 September 2020

Year ended 30 September 2019

Revenue return

Capital return

Total return

Revenue return

Capital return

Total return

 

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

Interest on overdrafts

1

6

7

9

36

45

Appropriation to ZDP shares

-

1,032

1,032

-

1,001

1,001

Total finance costs

1

1,038

1,039

9

1,037

1,046

 

10.   Taxation

 

Year ended
30 September 2020

Year ended
30 September 2019

Revenue return

£'000

Capital

return

£'000

Total return

£'000

Revenue return

£'000

Capital return

£'000

Total return

£'000

a) Analysis of tax charge for the year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overseas tax

472

-

472

535

-

535

Total tax for the year (see note 10b)

472

-

472

535

-

535

b) Factors affecting tax charge for the year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The charge for the year can be reconciled to the profit per the Statement of Comprehensive Income as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profit/(loss) before tax

2,242

38,503

40,745

3,088

(6,413)

(3,325)

Tax at the UK corporation tax rate of 19% (2019: 19%)

426

7,316

7,742

587

(1,218)

(631)

Tax effect of non-taxable dividends

(655)

-

(655)

(785)

-

(785)

(Gains)/losses investments that are not taxable

-

(7,940)

(7,940)

-

626

626

Unrelieved current period expenses
and deficits

229

427

656

198

402

600

Overseas tax suffered

472

-

472

535

-

535

Expenses not allowable

-

197

197

-

190

190

Total tax for the year (see note 10a)

472

-

472

535

-

535

 

c) Factors that may affect future tax charges:

The Company has an unrecognised deferred tax asset of £3,513,000 (2019: £2,555,000) based on a prospective corporation tax rate of 19% (2019: 17%). At Budget 2020, the government announced that the main rate of corporation tax would remain at 19% for fiscal years beginning on 1 April 2020 and 2021.

 

The deferred tax asset has arisen due to the cumulative excess of deductible expenses over taxable income. Given the composition of the Company's portfolio, it is not likely that this asset will be utilised in the foreseeable future and therefore no asset has been recognised in the accounts.

 

Given the Company's intention to meet the conditions required to retain its status as an Investment Trust Company, no provision has been made for deferred tax on any capital gains or losses arising on the revaluation or disposal of investments.

 

11.   Amounts Recognised as Distributions to Ordinary Shareholders in the Year

 

Dividends paid in the year ended 30 September 2020

Payment date

No of shares

Pence per share

Year ended
30 September 2020

£'000

28 February 2020

121,270,000

1.10p

1,334

28 August 2020

121,270,000

1.00p

1,213

 

 

 

2,547

 

The revenue available for distribution by way of dividend for the year is £1,770,000 (2019: £2,553,000).

 

The total dividends payable in respect of the financial year ended 30 September 2020, which is the basis on which the requirements of Section 1158 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010 are considered, are set out below:

 

Payment date

No of shares

Pence per share

Year ended
30 September 2020

£'000

28 August 2020

121,270,000

1.00p

1,213

26 February 2021

121,270,000

1.00p

1,213

 

 

 

2,426

 

Dividends paid in the year ended 30 September 2019

Payment date

No of shares

Pence per share

Year ended
30 September 2019

£'000

28 February 2019

122,470,000

1.00p

1,225

30 August 2019

121,770,000

1.00p

1,218

 

 

 

2,443

 

The total dividends payable in respect of the financial year ended 30 September 2019 which is the basis on which the requirements of Section 1158 Corporation Tax Act 2010 are considered, is set out below:

 

Payment date

No of shares

Pence per share

Year ended
30 September 2019

£'000

30 August 2019

121,770,000

1.00p

1,218

28 February 2020

121,270,000

1.10p

1,334

 

 

 

2,552

All dividends are paid as interim dividends, and all have been charged to revenue, where necessary utilising the revenue reserves.

 

The dividends paid in February each year relate to a dividend declared in respect of the previous financial year but paid in the current accounting year.

 

12.   Earnings/(losses) per Ordinary Share

 

Year ended

30 September 2020

Year ended

30 September 2019

Revenue return

Capital return

Total return

Revenue return

Capital return

Total return

 

The calculation of basic earnings per share is based
on the following data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net profit/(loss) for the year (£'000)

1,770

38,503

40,273

2,553

(6,413)

(3,860)

 

Weighted average Ordinary
shares in issue during the year

121,291,858

121,291,858

121,291,858

122,123,685

122,123,685

122,123,685

 

Basic - Ordinary shares (pence)

1.46

31.74

33.20

2.09

(5.25)

(3.16)

 

                 

 

As at 30 September 2020 there were no potentially dilutive shares in issue.

 

13.   Subsidiary undertaking

Company and business

Country of registration, incorporation and operation

Number and class of shares held by the Company

Holding

PCGH ZDP Plc

England and Wales

50,000 Ordinary shares of £1

100%

 

The Company is a public limited company with the sole purpose of issuing Zero Dividend Preference (ZDP) shares. The registered office is at Polar Capital, 16 Palace Street, London SW1E 5JD.

 

The investment is stated in the Company's Financial Statements at cost, which is considered by the Directors to equate to fair value.

 

The subsidiary is non-trading and the value of the net assets have not changed since the acquisition of the Ordinary share capital by the Company. The cost is therefore considered to equate to the fair value of the shares held.

 

14.   Called up Share Capital

Ordinary shares - Allotted, Called up and Fully paid:

30 September

2020

£'000

30 September

2019

£'000

Ordinary shares of nominal value 25p each:

 

 

Opening balance of 121,770,000 (2019: 122,470,000)

30,442

30,617

Repurchase of 500,000 (2019: 700,000) Ordinary shares, into treasury

(125)

(175)

Allotted, Called up and Fully paid: 121,270,000 (2019: 121,770,000) Ordinary shares of 25p

30,317

30,442

2,879,256 (2019: 2,379,256) Ordinary shares, held in treasury

720

595

At 30 September

31,037

31,037

 

   500,000 Ordinary shares were repurchased into treasury at a total cost of £1,040,000 (2019: £1,513,000).

 

The Ordinary shares held in treasury have no voting rights and are not entitled to dividends.

 

 

15.   Net Asset Value Per Share

Ordinary shares

30 September

2020

30 September

2019

Net assets attributable to Ordinary Shareholders (£'000)

325,133

288,447

Ordinary shares in issue at end of year

121,270,000

121,770,000

Net asset value per Ordinary share (pence)

268.11

236.88

Total issued Ordinary shares

124,149,256

124,149,256

Ordinary shares held in treasury

2,879,256

2,379,256

Ordinary shares in issue

121,270,000

121,770,000

 

As at 30 September 2020 there were no potentially dilutive shares in issue.

 

16.   Cash and Cash Equivalents

 

30 September

2020

£'000

30 September

2019

£'000

Cash at bank

17,795

5,706

Cash held at derivative clearing houses

-

1,106

Bank overdraft

-

(4)

Company cash and cash equivalents

17,795

6,808

Cash held at subsidiary

50

50

Group cash and cash equivalents

17,845

6,858

 

17.   Transactions with the Investment Manager and Related Party Transactions

 

(a) Transactions with the Manager

Under the terms of an agreement dated 26 May 2010 the Group has appointed Polar Capital LLP ("Polar Capital") to provide investment management, accounting, secretarial and administrative services. Details of the fee arrangement for these services are given in the Strategic Report. The total fees paid under this agreement to Polar Capital in respect of the year ended 30 September 2020 were £2,675,000 (2019: £2,516,000) of which £457,000 (2019: £433,000) was outstanding at the year-end.

 

In addition, the total research cost in respect of the year ended 30 September 2020 was £170,000 (2019: £184,000) of which

£35,000 relates to 1 October 2019 to 31 December 2019 and £135,000 relates to 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. As at the year end, £90,000 (2019: £95,000) was outstanding. Refer to note 8 above for more details.

 

(b) Related party transactions

The Group and Company has no employees and therefore no key management personnel other than the Directors. The Group and Company paid £143,000 (2019: £122,000) to the Directors and the Remuneration Report, including Directors' shareholdings and movements within the year is provided within the full Annual Report.

 

 

18.   Post Balance Sheet Events

There are no significant events that have occurred after the end of the reporting period to the date of this report which require disclosure.

 

 

 

ALTERNATIVE PERFORMANCE MEASURES (APMS)

In assessing the performance of the Company and Group the Investment Manager and the Directors use the following APMs which are considered to be known industry metrics:

 

Net Asset Value (NAV)

The NAV is the value attributed to the underlying assets of the Company less the liabilities, presented either on a per share or total basis.

 

The value of the Company's assets, principally investments made in other companies and cash being held, minus any liabilities. The NAV is also described as 'Shareholders' funds' per share. The NAV is often expressed in pence per share after being divided by the number of shares which have been issued. The NAV per share is unlikely to be the same as the share price which is the price at which the Company's shares can be bought or sold by an investor.

 

As at 30 September 2020, the Group's total equity was £325,133,000 and there were 121,270,000 ordinary shares in issue. The Group's NAV per share was therefore 268.11p (£325,133,000/121,270,000).

 

At of 30 September 2020, the value of the ZDP shares was £35,405,000 (note 16 of the notes to the financial statements within the full Annual Report) and the number of ZDP shares in issue was 32,128,437. The NAV per ZDP share was therefore 110.20p (£35,405,000/32,128,437).

 

Total Net Assets (Group and Company)

The value of the Group's and Company's assets, principally investments made in other companies and cash being held, minus any liabilities.

 

At 30 September 2020, the total assets were £363,920,000 and the total liabilities were £38,787,000, the total net assets therefore were £325,133,000 (£363,920,000 - £38,787,000).

 

NAV Total Return

The NAV total return shows how the net asset value has performed over a period of time taking into account both capital returns and dividends paid to shareholders.

 

NAV total return is calculated as the change in NAV from the start of the period, assuming that dividends paid to shareholders are reinvested on the payment date in ordinary shares at their net asset value. The NAV at the start of the period was 241.08p.

 

As at 30 September 2020, the Group's NAV per share was 268.11p, the impact of the dividend reinvestment in NAV was 7.05p and the adjusted NAV per share was therefore 275.16p (268.11p+7.05p). The NAV total return over the year was 14.14% ((275.16p-241.08p)/241.08p).

 

NAV total return since restructuring is calculated as the change in NAV from the date of reconstruction on 20 June 2017, assuming that dividends paid to Shareholders are reinvested on the payment date in Ordinary shares at their net asset value. The NAV at reconstruction was 215.85p.

 

As at 30 September 2020, the Group's adjusted NAV per share was 275.16p, the NAV total return since reconstruction was 27.48% ((275.16p-215.85p)/215.85p).

 

Share Price Total Return

Share price total return shows how the share price has performed over a period of time. It assumes   that dividends paid to shareholders are reinvested in the shares at the time the shares are quoted ex dividend.

 

As at 30 September 2020, the Company's share price was 233.00p and the opening share price as at 30 September 2019 was 218.00p; a reinvestment factor of 1.008701, relating to the impact of the reinvested dividends during the year, was applied to reach a closing adjusted share price for the purposes of the calculation of share price performance with income reinvested of 235.03p. The share price total return is 7.81% ((235.03p-218.00p)/218.00p).

 

Discount /Premium

A description of the difference between the share price and the net asset value per share usually expressed as a percentage (%) of the net asset value per share. If the share price is higher than the NAV per share the result is a premium. If the share price is lower than the NAV per share, the shares are trading at a discount.

 

The share price at 30 September 2020 was 233.00p and NAV was 268.11p, the discount was therefore 13.1%, ((233.00p-268.11p)/268.11p).

 

Total Expenses (Group and Company)

Comprising all the operating expenses, which includes research costs, of the Group and Company plus those expenses which are excluded from the ongoing charges calculation, including transaction costs, finance costs, tax and non-recurring expenses. Costs in relation to share issues and share buybacks are excluded from the calculation.

 

At 30 September 2020, the total operating expenses including management fees were £3,467,000, finance costs were £1,039,000 and taxes were £472,000; the total expenses therefore were £4,978,000 (£3,467,000 + £1,039,000 + £472,000).

 

Ongoing Charges

Ongoing charges are calculated in accordance with AIC guidance by taking the Company's annual ongoing charges, excluding performance fees and exceptional items, if any, and expressing them as a percentage of the average daily net asset value of the Company over the year.

 

Ongoing charges include all regular operating expenses of the Company. Transaction costs, interest payments, tax and non-recurring expenses are excluded from the calculation as are the costs incurred in relation to share issues and share buybacks.

 

Where a performance fee is paid or is payable, a second ongoing charge is provided, calculated on the same basis as the above but incorporating the amount of performance fee due or paid.

 

Ongoing charges for the year equal the management fee of £2,675,000 plus other operating expenses of £792,000 divided by the Group's average NAV in the period. (£3,467,000/£343,020,000=1.01%).

 

Since there was no performance fee paid or payable for the year the ongoing charges including performance fee is the same as the ongoing charges.

 

Net Gearing

Gearing is calculated in line with AIC guidelines and represents net gearing. This is defined as total assets less cash and cash equivalents divided by net assets. The total assets are calculated by adding back the structural gearing which is the ZDP value. Cash and cash equivalents are cash and purchases and sales for future settlement outstanding at the year end.

 

As at 30 September 2020 the net assets were £325,133,000, ZDP value was £35,405,000 and cash and cash equivalents (including amounts for future settlement) were £18,241,000, and the net gearing was therefore 5.28%, (((£325,133,000+£35,405,000-£18,241,000)/£325,133,000)-1).

 

AGM

The Annual Report and separate Notice for the Annual General Meeting will be posted to Shareholders in December 2020 and is available from the Company Secretary at the Company's Registered Office, (16 Palace Street London SW1E 5JD) or from the Company's website. The AGM will be held at the Company's Registered Office at 2pm on 26 January 2021. Due to the social distancing measures and restrictions currently in place prohibiting public gatherings as a result of COVID-19, the AGM will be held as a closed meeting with only the necessary quorum present to conduct the formal business.

 

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

Certain statements included in the Annual Report and Financial Statements contain forward-looking information concerning the Company's strategy, operations, financial performance or condition, outlook, growth opportunities or circumstances in the countries, sectors or markets in which the Company operates. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve uncertainty because they depend on future circumstances, and relate to events, not all of which are within the Company's control or can be predicted by the Company. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, no assurance can be given that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Actual results could differ materially from those set out in the forward-looking statements. For a detailed analysis of the factors that may affect our business, financial performance or results of operations, we urge you to look at the principal risks and uncertainties included in the Strategic Report Section the Annual Report and Financial Statements.

 

No part of these results constitutes, or shall be taken to constitute, an invitation or inducement to invest in Polar Capital Global Healthcare Trust plc or any other entity, and must not be relied upon in any way in connection with an investment decision. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

 

Neither the contents of the Company's website nor the contents of any website accessible from hyperlinks on the company's website (or any other website) is incorporated into, or forms part of, this announcement.

 

-END-

 

[1] Source: Polar Capital, 30 September 2020. 1. Benchmark: MSCI AC World Daily TR Net Health Care Index. It should not be assumed that recommendations made in future will be profitable or will equal performance of the securities in this document. A list of al recommendations made within the immediately preceding 12 months is available upon request.

 

 

 

 

 

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