Half-year Report
RNS Number : 0076M
Ecofin Global Utilities Inf Tst PLC
19 May 2022
 

 

ECOFIN GLOBAL UTILITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE TRUST PLC

 

Interim Financial Results for the six months ended 31 March, 2022

 

Announcement of Unaudited Results

 

LEI: 2138005JQTYKU92QOF30

 

This announcement contains regulated information.

 

Ecofin Global Utilities and Infrastructure Trust plc (the "Company") is an authorised UK investment trust whose objectives are to achieve a high, secure dividend yield on a portfolio invested primarily in the equities of utility and infrastructure companies in developed countries and long-term growth in the capital value of the portfolio while preserving shareholders' capital in adverse market conditions.

 

·      During the six months ended 31 March, 2022, the Company's net asset value ("NAV") per share increased by 13.7% on a total return basis. The Company's share price increased by 14.1% on a total return basis over the six months. In the same period, the MSCI World Index increased by 4.9% (total return in sterling)

 

·      Two quarterly dividends were paid during the six months totalling 3.50p per share; the dividend paid in February 2022 was paid at the increased rate of 1.85p per share (7.4p per share per annum)

 

·      The Company is continuing to issue new shares at a premium to NAV in response to investor demand. During the half-year, £1.3 million of shares were issued and another £3.6 million of shares have been issued since the end of March

 

·      Portfolio companies continue to earn attractive returns on their growing capital investments, which gives us confidence that the growth trajectory for earnings and dividends will continue over the coming years.

 

Financial Highlights

as at 31 March, 2022

 

Summary

As at or six months to

31 March 2022

As at or year to

30 September 2021

Net assets attributable to shareholders (£000)

220,937

196,547

Net asset value ("NAV") per share1

217.97p

195.11p

Share price (mid-market)

222.00p

198.00p

Discount to NAV1

1.9%

1.5%

Revenue return per share

2.24p

5.98p

Dividends paid per share

3.50p

6.60p

Dividend yield1,2

3.1%

3.3%

Gearing on net assets1,3

13.4%

12.5%

Ongoing charges ratio1,4

1.38%

1.43%

 

1. Please refer to Alternative Performance Measures in the Interim Report.

2. Dividends paid (annualised) as a percentage of share price.

3. Gearing is the Company's borrowings (including the net amounts due from/to brokers) less cash divided by net assets attributable to shareholders.

4. The ongoing charges figure is calculated in accordance with guidance issued by the Association of Investment Companies ("AIC") as the

operating costs (annualised) divided by the average NAV (with income) throughout the period.

 

Performance for periods to 31 March 2022

(all total return in £)

6 months

%

1 year

%

3 years

%

5 years

%

Since admission5

%

Since admission

% per annum

%

NAV per share6

13.7

23.1

59.7

90.4

94.7

12.8

Share price6

14.1

26.7

93.5

138.1

151.3

18.2

Indices6, 7:

 






S&P Global Infrastructure Index

14.7

21.4

21.8

31.7

40.0

6.3

MSCI World Utilities Index

15.5

16.4

28.4

48.4

54.9

8.3


 






MSCI World Index

4.9

16.1

52.5

75.8

97.2

13.1

FTSE All-Share Index

4.7

13.0

16.8

25.7

35.7

5.7

FTSE ASX Utilities Index

25.4

37.2

59.7

40.4

36.5

5.8


 







 







 






 

Source: Bloomberg, Ecofin

 

5. The Company was incorporated on 27 June, 2016 and its investment activities began on 13 September, 2016 when the liquid assets of Ecofin Water & Power Opportunities plc ("EWPO") were transferred to it. The formal inception date for the measurement of the Company's performance is 26 September, 2016, the date its shares were listed on the London Stock Exchange.

6. Total return includes dividends paid and reinvested immediately. Please also refer to the Alternative Performance Measures in the Interim Report.

7. The S&P Global Infrastructure Index and MSCI World Utilities Index are the global sector indices deemed the most appropriate for performance comparison purposes. The Company does not have a formal benchmark index. The other indices are provided for general interest.

 

 

 

 

Chairman's Statement

Performance

Your Company's net asset value (NAV) performed very well in a difficult six months for economies, markets and international relations. Inflation surged as strong economic recoveries collided with supply-line bottlenecks, bringing accommodative monetary policies to a belated end and forcing bond yields higher. Russia's invasion of Ukraine introduced a humanitarian and geo-political crisis, as well as further sharp increases in commodity and energy prices.

 

During the half-year, the total return for NAV per share was 13.7%, including reinvestment of dividends received, and the share price total return was 14.1%. This substantially exceeded the total return in sterling terms of the MSCI World Index which was only 4.9% although the equivalent figures for the MSCI World Utilities Index and the S&P Global Infrastructure Index were 15.5% and 14.7%, respectively. Compared to EGL, the latter two indices have larger weightings in energy infrastructure and in the US where returns for utilities were especially strong.

 

EGL's diversified portfolio includes regulated business models with inflation pass-throughs, renewables specialists, commodity price sensitive power generators, and transportation infrastructure responsive to the lifting of pandemic travel restrictions. These weathered the volatile backdrop for markets well. The Investment Manager's report outlines the decisions that contributed to performance.

 

Dividends

The Company's net revenue rose substantially in 2021 and the Board increased the quarterly dividend rate to 1.85p per share (7.40p per annum) in time for the dividend paid on 28 February, 2022. Our Investment Manager remains confident that investment income will continue to increase this year which bodes well for future dividend increases.

 

Share issuance

The Company is taking every opportunity to issue new shares at a premium to NAV in response to investor demand. During the half-year, 625,000 new shares worth £1.27 million were issued and another 1.63 shares have been issued since the end of the period under review. We want to continue to increase the size of the Company because we expect this will boost liquidity in the shares, thereby fostering participation by new investors without diluting existing ones. It will also reduce cost ratios.

 

Financing

Citigroup Global Markets Limited, the Company's lender, prime broker and custodian, has introduced a minimum annual fee for its services. Citigroup's remuneration is based on short term benchmark interest rates which were very low for the last few years. The minimum fee is $200,000 per annum (approximately £153,000 per annum) and became effective on 1 April, 2022.

 

Outlook

Since 31 March (to 16 May), the Company's NAV has increased by 1.2% and the share price has decreased by 0.7% (both on a total return basis).

 

Your Company's focus on utilities in transition and infrastructure modernisation is working nicely as governments and businesses move at unprecedented speed to move from fossil fuels to renewables. The rise in fuel prices will accelerate that trend and the war in Ukraine makes it imperative to reduce European dependence on Russian oil and gas, providing a further boost. Much of the Company's portfolio is invested in companies which use the energy transition to increase their growth rates, enhance returns, reduce their volatility of earnings, and improve their sustainability.

 

Despite major disruptions to commodity markets and global supply chains, portfolio companies continue to earn attractive returns on their growing capital investments, which gives us confidence that the growth trajectory for earnings and dividends will continue over the coming years.

 

David Simpson

Chairman

18 May, 2022

 

 

Investment Manager's Report

Markets and performance

The half-year encompassed COP26, with its attendant carbon-reducing commitments, economic recovery as the harshest restrictions of the pandemic were lifted, and rising inflation due to bottlenecks and shortages. Late in the period, Russia's invasion of Ukraine caused still higher energy prices and fresh uncertainty. Some Central Banks started to increase interest rates and longer term bond yields rose to pre-pandemic levels. Global equities were volatile and approximately flat over the period but dividends and sterling's 2.5% decline against the US dollar meant that the total return in sterling for the MSCI World index was 4.9%.

 

EGL's sectors performed well in this adverse setting with US and UK utilities the stand-out performers. Rising interest rates weighed heavily on valuations in the high growth areas of the market (including clean energy) and in rate-sensitive sectors. Flattening yield curves reflected concerns that interest rate increases to restrain high inflation could halt or reduce economic growth. China's zero-COVID policy, resulting in lockdowns in major cities, cast a dark shadow over its economic outlook.

 

The war in Ukraine had a damaging impact on the valuation of European utilities given doubts about gas flows from Russia following the unprecedented economic sanctions imposed by EU countries. The affordability of energy in Europe became a major political issue, triggering government intervention and uncertainty in the sector. EDF was a stark example as the French government capped power price rises for consumers and required EDF to sell more power to third-party suppliers at well below market rates.

 

By March, strong reported earnings for portfolio holdings with inflation indexation and pricing power resulted in a broad-based recovery in our performance. Investors began to appreciate that the policy push towards European energy independence would materially accelerate the already substantial growth opportunity for utilities to increase renewables capacity.

 

Power markets, particularly in Europe, were already tight before Russia's war in Ukraine started. It appears Europe had been sleep-walking into a risky position; Germany had decided to phase out nuclear and coal power at an accelerated pace while other countries reduced fossil fuel generation without a commensurate increase in renewables. This made Europe highly dependent on Russian gas. French nuclear plants also faced unscheduled outages and some hydroelectric plants operated at reduced levels due to poor hydro resources.

 

Energy commodity prices have remained high and power prices have risen 40% in the US and some 10-100% in Europe in the year-to-date. European carbon prices were rising for most of the half-year and approached highs of €100/ton in early 2022 before settling back to around €80/ton.

 

Performance summary

The NAV total return was 13.7% over the six months. We are pleased to keep building the returns since EGL's inception in 2016 which total 94.7% or 12.8% per annum (at 31 March, 2022).

 

Performance over the six months was driven fairly equally by the European and North American parts of the portfolio, though the US segment outperformed since the war started. The small allocation to emerging markets reduced the NAV slightly. By sub-sector, there was a similarly positive and even contribution from each of renewables, regulated utilities, integrated utilities and transportation infrastructure. These segments showed their value in different market phases, reinforcing the benefit of the breadth in EGL's investment universe.

 

Every North American holding contributed positively to the NAV, led by Exelon, American Electric Power, NextEra Energy, Williams Companies and Dominion Energy. The emerging markets allocation, which we reduced significantly last year, was weak due to the portfolio's two Chinese renewables stocks. The European part of the portfolio performed significantly better than the sector index due to a material exposure to renewables developers and companies benefitting from higher power prices (Drax, RWE, Acciona Energias, Greencoat UK Wind).

 

We also saw traffic and share price rebounds during the half-year for transportation infrastructure stocks and, more recently, a recovery for regulated networks (such as Terna and National Grid) which had underperformed at the start of the year.

 

Purchases and sales

The take-overs of Spark Infrastructure and Covanta Holdings, which were both completed in the fourth quarter of 2021, delivered substantial cash into the portfolio. By then we had also significantly reduced the holdings in China Longyuan and China Suntien Green which became easy targets for profit taking in the first quarter's rush to 'value'.

 

During the period, we also sold Eversource and Brookfield Renewable. This exposure was replaced with new holdings in AES Corporation, a global leader in renewables development with 83% of revenues protected by indexation clauses or hedging and a strong development pipeline, REN (Redes Energeticas Nacionais), the operator of Portugal's electricity and natural gas infrastructure, and Ameren. Ameren is a fully regulated electric and gas utility operating in the Midwest which is accelerating its coal-fired energy retirements and adding to renewables resources; it has an infrastructure investment pipeline of over $45 billion for the next decade. We also increased positions in Greencoat UK Wind, SSE, AEP and Alliant Energy.

 

Uniper, the only stock in the portfolio with a substantial direct exposure to Russia, was divested immediately following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Companies with minor exposure to Russia, such as Enel, RWE and Engie, were retained conditional on the companies clarifying their limited exposure as well as committing to any remedial actions.

 

Other adjustments to the portfolio included adding to Atlas Arteria, the Australia-based developer and operator of toll roads in Europe and the US, ENAV, the manager of Italy's air traffic control services, and to other high conviction European names at opportunistic prices.

 

We have retained Exelon and the pure-play nuclear business, Constellation, which it spun out in January. The fully regulated transmission and distribution utility business keeps the Exelon name, while Constellation owns the retail energy and power generation business, including the US's largest fleet of nuclear power plants. Both entities have performed well since disaggregating, highlighting the undervaluation of the previous structure.

 

Income and gearing

We saw a rebound in dividend receipts in fiscal 2021 of around 20% due to the resilience in demand for most of the portfolio's essential services, the economics for renewable energy and a strong recovery where certain companies had been prevented from paying dividends the previous year. Over the next few years, we anticipate that income from investments will return to the more typical 5-7% annual growth trend, matching the expected long-term growth in earnings.

 

Gearing remained within the range of 10-15% of net assets, having dipped to 10% of NAV by 2021 fiscal year-end. Portfolio changes led to an increase to 13.4% by the end of March.

 

Strategy

The war in Ukraine is a major short-term risk for economies but potentially marks a significant turning point in energy policies and the energy transition. A search for alternative sources to diversify natural gas supply will be a focus of attention for years to come. Although some coal and natural gas fuelled power plants are having to be run longer than planned in the short run, the longer term solution will involve alternative gas supplies, energy efficiencies and significantly more renewables and nuclear in the generation mix. This should be unambiguously favourable for most of our portfolio companies as the key enablers of this transition.

 

Interest rates are rising to combat sharply higher inflation which should benefit companies in the portfolio through direct adjustments in regulatory remuneration rates and/or higher commodity prices. Although utilities are often considered 'bond proxies' and therefore vulnerable to rising rates in the short term, rising prices offer considerable inflation protection in the medium to longer term.

 

We expect strong revenues for many power companies this year thanks to the combination of better renewables resources than in 2021 and higher power prices. This should particularly benefit companies with fixed cost generation assets and higher margins locked in through forward hedges. Longer term, an acceleration in renewables development activity as countries and companies work to improve their security of supply should lead to growth upgrades for renewables developers both in Europe and North America.

 

Intervention through price regulation and windfall taxes by governments trying to mitigate the impact of higher power prices on consumers is the biggest risk to higher profits at present. In our view, the share prices of many European integrated utilities already discount harsh pressure on margins.

 

Our portfolio is performing relatively well while investors' risk appetite is diminished, helped by the inflation linkage in the pricing formulas of the companies. Equity market volatility is providing us with opportunities to add value but the principal source of added value will be stock selection for the long term in this broad and undervalued investment universe.

 

 

Ecofin Advisors Limited

Investment Manager

18 May, 2022

 

 

Condensed Statement of Comprehensive Income

 

 


Notes

Six months ended                                Six months ended

31 March 2022 (unaudited)             31 March 2021 (unaudited)

Year ended

30 September 2021 (audited)

Revenue

£'000

Capital

£'000

Total           Revenue

£'000                £'000

Capital

£'000

Total

£'000

Revenue

£'000

Capital

£'000

Total

£'000

Gains on investments held at











fair value through profit or loss


           -      25,233

25,233

-

18,352

18,352

-

28,742

28,742

Currency (losses)/gains


-

(281)

(281)

-

1,202

1,202

-

1,115

1,115

Income

2

3,408

-

3,408

2,838

-

2,838

8,476

1,281

9,757

Investment management fee


(534)

(534)

(1,068)

(456)

(456)

(912)

(935)

(935)

(1,870)

Administration expenses


(374)

-

(374)

(368)

-

(368)

(780)

-

(780)

Net return before finance
costs and taxation


2,500

24,418

26,918

2,014

19,098

21,112

6,761

30,203

36,964

Finance costs


(26)

(26)

(52)

(20)

(20)

(40)

(42)

(42)

(84)

Net return before taxation


2,474

24,392

26,866

1,994

19,078

21,072

6,719

30,161

36,880

Taxation

3

(205)

-

(205)

(215)

-

(215)

(794)

-

(794)

Net return before taxation


2,269

24,392

26,661

1,779

19,078

20,857

5,925

30,161

36,086












Return per ordinary share (pence)

4

2.24

24.13

26.37

1.82

19.56

21.38

5.98

30.42

36.40

 

 

The total column of the Condensed Statement of Comprehensive Income is the profit and loss account of the Company.

 

The revenue and capital columns are supplementary to this and are published under guidance from the AIC.

 

All revenue and capital returns in the above statement derive from continuing operations. No operations were acquired or discontinued during the six months ended 31 March, 2022.

 

The Company has no other comprehensive income and therefore the net return on ordinary activities after taxation is also the total comprehensive income for the period.

 

 

Condensed Statement of Financial Position

 


                                                       As at                   As at

                                         31 March 2022     31 March 2021

                                             (unaudited)          (unaudited)

                                Notes               £'000                  £'000

As at

    30 September           2021 (audited)

£'000

Non-current assets
Equity securities


250,226

213,431

220,916

Investments at fair value through profit or loss


250,226

213,431

220,916

Current assets





Debtors and prepayments


1,132

1,421

1,103

Cash at bank


-

2,719

11,251



1,132

4,140

12,354

Creditors: amounts falling due within one year





Prime brokerage borrowings


(29,484)

(32,023)

(35,873)

Other creditors


(937)

(1,229)

(850)



(30,421)

(33,252)

(36,723)

Net current liabilities


(29,289)

(29,112)

(24,369)

Net assets


220,937

184,319

196,547

Share capital and reserves





Called-up share capital

5

1,013

1,005

1,007

Share premium


16,763

15,179

15,500

Special reserve


116,459

116,908

117,730

Capital reserve

6

86,702

51,227

62,310

Revenue reserve


-

-

-

Total shareholders' funds


220,937

184,319

196,547

NAV per ordinary share (pence)

7

217.97

183.31

195.11

 

 

Condensed Statement of Changes in Equity

 


 

Six months ended 31 March 2022 (unaudited)

 

Share capital

£'000

Share premium account

            £'000

Special
reserve1

£'000

Capital
reserve

£'000

Revenue
reserve

£'000

Total

£'000

 

 

Balance at 1 October 2021

1,007

15,500

117,730

62,310

-

196,547

 

 

Return after taxation

-

-

-

24,392

2,269

26,661

 

 

Issue of ordinary shares

6

1,263

-

-

-

1,269

 

 

Dividends paid (see note 8)

-

-

(1,271)

-

(2,269)

(3,540)

 

 

Balance at 31 March 2022

1,013

16,763

116,459

86,702

-

220,937

 

 

 

 


 

Six months ended 31 March 2021 (unaudited)

 


Share capital

£'000

Share premium

          account

       £'000

Special
reserve
1

£'000

Capital
reserve

£'000

Revenue
reserve

£'000

Total

£'000

 

 

Balance at 1 October 2020

950

4,956

118,338

32,149

-

156,393

 

 

Return after taxation

-

-

-

19,078

1,779

20,857

 

 

Issue of ordinary shares

55

10,223

-

-

-

10,278

 

 

Dividends paid (see note 8)

-

-

(1,430)

-

(1,779)

(3,209)

 

 

Balance at 31 March 2021

1,005

15,179

116,908

51,227

-

184,319

 



 

Year ended 30 September 2021 (audited)

 


Share capital

£'000

Share premium account

£'000

Special
reserve
1

£'000

Capital
reserve

£'000

Revenue
reserve

£'000

Total

£'000

 

 

Balance at 1 October 2020

950

4,956

118,338

32,149

-

156,393

 

 

Return after taxation

-

-

-

30,161

5,925

36,086

 

 

Issue of ordinary shares

57

10,544

-

-

-

10,601

 

 

Dividends paid (see note 8)

-

-

(608)

-

(5,925)

(6,533)

 

 

Balance at 30 September 2021

1,007

15,500

117,730

62,310

-

196,547

 

 

1. The special reserve may be used, where the Board considers it appropriate, by the Company for the purposes of paying dividends to

shareholders and, in particular, smoothing payments of dividends to shareholders.

 

Condensed Statement of Cash Flows

                                                                                                                                                             Six months          Six months          Year ended

                                                                                                                                                                     ended                 ended      30 September

                                                                                                                                                         31 March 2022     31 March 2021                   2021

                                                                                                                                                             (unaudited)          (unaudited)             (audited)

                                                                                                                                                                       £'000                  £'000                  £'000

Net return before finance costs and taxation

26,918

        21,112              36,964

Increase/(decrease) in accrued expenses

87

               (64)                     85

Overseas withholding tax

(315)

                 (94)              (753)

Deposit interest income

(13)

                  (8)                 (21)

Dividend income

(3,395)

            (2,830)           (8,455)

Realised losses/(gains) on foreign exchange transactions

281

            (1,202)           (1,115)

Dividends received

3,309

             2,682               8,227

Deposit interest received

13

                    8                    21

Interest paid

(52)

                 (40)                (84)

Gains on investments

(25,233)

          (18,352)         (28,742)

(Increase)/decrease in other debtors

(5)

                (15)                      2

Net cash flow from operating activities

1,595

            1,197                6,129

Investing activities



Purchases of investments

(39,921)

          (37,719)         (97,893)

Sales of investments

36,181

          21,704              84,716

Net cash used in investing activities

(3,740)

         (16,015)          (13,177)

Financing activities



Movement in prime brokerage borrowings

(6,389)

        10,468                13,985

Dividends paid

(3,540)

          (3,209)             (6,533)

Share issue proceeds

1,104

        10,278                10,601

Net cash used in financing activities

(8,825)

        17,537                18,053

(Decrease)/increase in cash

(10,970)

          2,719                11,005

Analysis of changes in cash during the year



Opening balance

11,251

                -                            -

Foreign exchange movement

(281)

                -                      246

(Decrease)/increase in cash as above

(10,970)

          2,719                11,005

Closing balances

-

          2,719                11,251

 

Notes to the Condensed Financial Statements

for the six months ended 31 March, 2022

 

1. Accounting policies

(a) Basis of preparation

The Condensed Financial Statements have been prepared in accordance with Financial Reporting Standard ("FRS") 104 Interim Financial Reporting and with the Statement of Recommended Practice 'Financial Statements of Investment Trust Companies and Venture Capital Trusts' issued in April 2021. The Condensed Financial Statements are prepared in Sterling which is the functional currency of the Company and rounded to the nearest £'000. They have also been prepared on a going concern basis and approval as an investment trust has been granted.

 

The Condensed Financial Statements have been prepared using the same accounting policies as the preceding Financial Statements which were prepared in accordance with Financial Reporting Standard 102.

 

The financial information contained in this Interim Report does not constitute statutory accounts as defined in Sections 434-436 of the Companies Act 2006. The financial information for the periods ended 31 March, 2022 and 31 March, 2021 has not been audited.

 

The information for the year ended 30 September, 2021 has been extracted from the latest published audited Financial Statements which have been filed with the Registrar of Companies. The report of the Auditor on those accounts contained no qualification or statement under Section 498 of the Companies Act 2006.

 

(b) Income

Income from investments, including taxes deducted at source, is included in revenue by reference to the date on which the investment is quoted ex-dividend. Special dividends are credited to capital or revenue, according to the circumstances. The fixed returns on debt securities are recognised on a time apportionment basis so as to reflect the effective yield on the debt securities. Interest receivable from cash and short-term deposits is treated on an accruals basis.

 

(c) Expenses

All expenses are accounted for on an accruals basis. Expenses are charged to the revenue account except where they directly relate to the acquisition or disposal of an investment, in which case they are charged to the capital account; in addition, expenses are charged to the capital account where a connection with the maintenance or enhancement of the value of the investments can be demonstrated. In this respect the management fee and overdraft interest have been allocated 50% to the capital account and 50% to the revenue account.

 

(d) Taxation

The charge for taxation is based on the profit for the year to date and takes into account, if applicable, taxation deferred because of timing differences between the treatment of certain items for taxation and accounting purposes. Deferred taxation is provided using the liability method on all timing differences, calculated at the rate at which it is anticipated the timing differences will reverse. Deferred tax assets are recognised only when, on the basis of available evidence, it is more likely than not that there will be taxable profits in future against which the deferred tax asset can be offset.

 

Due to the Company's status as an investment trust company and the intention to continue meeting the conditions required to obtain approval in the foreseeable future, the Company has not provided deferred tax on any capital gains and losses arising on the revaluation or disposal of investments.

 

The tax effect of different items of income/gain and expenditure/loss is allocated between capital and revenue within the Condensed Statement of Comprehensive Income on the same basis as the particular item to which it relates using the Company's effective rate of tax for the year, based on the marginal basis.

 

(e) Valuation of investments

For the purposes of preparing the Condensed Financial Statements, the Company has applied Sections 11 and 12 of FRS 102 in respect of financial instruments. All investments are measured initially and subsequently at fair value and transaction costs are expensed immediately. Investment transactions are accounted for on a trade date basis. The fair value of the financial instruments in the Condensed Statement of Financial Position is based on their quoted bid price at the reporting date, without deduction of the estimated future selling costs. Changes in the fair value of investments held at fair value through profit or loss and gains and losses on disposal are recognised in the Condensed Statement of Comprehensive Income as "Gains on investments held at fair value through profit or loss". Also included within this caption are transaction costs in relation to the purchase or sale of investments, including the difference between the purchase price of an investment and its bid price at the date of purchase.

 

(f) Cash and cash equivalents

Cash comprises cash in hand and demand deposits. Cash equivalents are short-term, highly liquid investments that are readily

convertible to known amounts of cash and that are subject to insignificant risk of change in value.

 

(g) Borrowings

Short-term borrowings, which comprise of prime brokerage borrowings, are recognised initially at the fair value of the consideration received, net of any issue expenses, and subsequently at amortised cost using the effective interest method. The finance costs, being the difference between the net proceeds of borrowings and the total amount of payments required to be made in respect of those borrowings, accrue evenly over the life of the borrowings and are allocated 50% to revenue and 50% to capital.

 

(h) Segmental reporting

The Directors are of the opinion that the Company is engaged in a single segment of business activity, being investment business.

Consequently, no business segmental analysis is provided.

 

(i) Nature and purpose of reserves

Share premium account

The balance classified as share premium includes the premium above nominal value received by the Company on issuing shares net

of issue costs.

 

Special reserve

The special reserve arose following court approval in November 2016 to transfer £123,609,000 from the share premium account. This reserve is distributable and may be used, where the Board considers it appropriate, by the Company for the purposes of paying dividends to shareholders and, in particular, augmenting or smoothing payments of dividends to shareholders. There is no guarantee that the Board will in fact make use of this reserve for the purpose of the payment of dividends to shareholders. The special reserve can also be used to fund the cost of share buy-backs.

 

Capital reserve

Gains and losses on disposal of investments and changes in fair values of investments are transferred to the capital account. Foreign exchange differences of a capital nature are also transferred to the capital account. The capital element of the management fee and relevant finance costs are charged to this account. Any associated tax relief is also credited to this account.

 

Revenue reserve

This reserve reflects all income and costs which are recognised in the revenue column of the Statement of Comprehensive Income.

 

The Company's special reserve, capital reserve and revenue reserve may be distributed by way of dividend.

 

(j) Foreign currency

Monetary assets and liabilities and non-monetary assets held at fair value in foreign currencies are translated into sterling at the rates of exchange ruling at the Condensed Statement of Financial Position date. Transactions involving foreign currencies are converted at the rate ruling on the date of the transaction. Gains and losses on the translation of foreign currencies are recognised in the revenue or capital account of the Condensed Statement of Comprehensive Income depending on the nature of the underlying item.

 

(k) Dividends payable

Dividends are recognised in the period in which they are paid.

 

2. Income

                                                                                                                                      Six months ended          Six months ended                  Year ended

                                                                                                                                            31 March 2022              31 March 2021       30 September 2021

                                                                                                                                                          £'000                          £'000                          £'000

Income from investments (revenue account)



UK dividends

332

                       339                            1,233

Overseas dividends

2,726

                    2,309                            6,995

Stock dividends

337

                       182                               227


3,395

                     2,830                           8,455

Other income (revenue account)



Deposit interest

13

8                               21

Total income

3,408

                    2,838                            8,476

 

During the six months ended 31 March, 2022, the Company received no special dividends (31 March, 2021: £nil and 30 September, 2021: £1,281,000).

 

3. Taxation

The taxation expense reflected in the Condensed Statement of Comprehensive Income is based on the estimated annual tax

rate expected for the full financial year. The estimated annual corporation tax rate used for the year to 30 September, 2022 is 19% (2021: 19%).

 

4. Return per ordinary share


Six months ended

31 March 2022

p

Six months ended

31 March 2021

p

Year ended

30 September 2021

p

Revenue return

2.24

1.82

5.98

Capital return

24.13

19.56

30.42

Total return

26.37

21.38

36.40

 

The returns per share are based on the following:

 




Six months ended

31 March 2022

£'000

Six months ended

31 March 2021

£'000

Year ended

30 September 2021

£'000

Revenue return

2,269

1,779

5,925

Capital return

24,392

19,078

30,161

Total return

26,661

20,857

36,086

 

Weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue

 

101,121,775

97,538,780

99,135,779

 

5. Ordinary share capital

 






31 March 2022

31 March 2021


30 September 2021



Number

£'000

Number

£'000

Issued and fully paid







Ordinary shares of 1p each

100,738,423

1,007

95,013,423

950

95,013,423

950

Issue of new ordinary shares

625,000

6

5,535,000

55

5,725,000

57

Ordinary shares of 1p each

101,363,423

1,013

100,548,423

1,005

100,738,423

1,007

 

The Company was admitted to the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange on 26 September, 2016. The total number of ordinary shares in the Company in issue immediately following admission was 91,872,247, each with equal voting rights. During the period, the Company issued 625,000 (31 March, 2021: 5,535,000 and 30 September, 2021: 5,725,000 ) ordinary shares with net proceeds of £1,269,000 (31 March, 2021 £10,278,000 and 30 September, 2021: £10,601,000).

 

Since 31 March, 2022 the Company has issued 1,625,000 ordinary shares for net proceeds of £3,601,000.

 

6. Capital reserve

                                                                                                                                       31 March 2022              31 March 2021       30 September 2021

                                                                                                                                                     £'000                          £'000                          £'000

Opening balance

62,310

                    32,149                        32,149

Movement in investment holding gains

17,051

                    16,992                        16,382

Gains on realisation of investments at fair value

8,182

                      1,360                        12,360

Special dividend

-

                            -                           1,281

Currency (losses)/gains

(281)

                      1,202                          1,115

Investment management fees

(534)

                        (456)                         (935)

Finance costs

(26)

                         (20)                            (42)


86,702

                   51,227                         62,310

 

The capital reserve reflected in the Condensed Statement of Financial Position at 31 March, 2022 includes gains of £53,328,000 (31 March, 2021: gains of £36,886,000 and 30 September, 2021: gain of £36,276,000) which relate to the revaluation of investments held at the reporting date.

 

7. NAV per ordinary share


As at

31 March 2022

As at

31 March 2021

As at

30 September 2021

NAV attributable (£'000)

220,937

184,319

196,547

Number of ordinary shares in issue

101,363,423

100,548,423

100,738,423

NAV per share

217.97p

183.31p

195.11p

 

8. Dividends on ordinary shares


Six months ended

31 March 2022

£'000

Six months ended

31 March 2021

£'000

Year ended

30 September 2021

£'000

Fourth interim for 2020 of 1.65p (paid on 30 November, 2020)

-

1,576

1576

First interim for 2021 of 1.65p (paid on 26 February, 2021)

-

1,633

1,633

Second interim for 2021 of 1.65p (paid on 28 May, 2021)

-

-

1,662

Third interim for 2021 of 1.65p (paid on 31 August, 2021)

-

-

1,662

Fourth interim for 2021 of 1.65p (paid on 30 November, 2021)

1,666

-

-

First interim dividend for 2022 of 1.85p (paid on 28 February, 2022)

1,874

-

-


3,540

3,209

6,533

 

A second interim dividend for 2022 of 1.85p will be paid on 31 May, 2022 to shareholders on the register on 29 April, 2022. The ex-dividend date was 28 April, 2022.

 

9. Transaction costs

During the period expenses were incurred in acquiring or disposing of investments classified as fair value through profit or loss. These have been expensed through capital and are included within gains/(losses) on investments in the Condensed Statement of Comprehensive Income. The total costs were as follows:

 


Six months ended

31 March 2022

£'000

Six months ended

31 March 2021

£'000

Year ended

30 September 2021

£'000

Purchases

69

58

152

Sales

13

8

59


82

66

211

 

10. Fair value hierarchy

 

FRS 102 requires an entity to classify fair value measurements using a fair value hierarchy that reflects the significance of the inputs used in making the measurements. The fair value hierarchy shall have the following levels:

 

Level 1: unadjusted quoted prices in an active market for identical assets or liabilities that the entity can access at the measurement date;

 

Level 2: inputs other than quoted prices included within Level 1 that are observable (i.e. developed using market data) for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly; and

 

Level 3: inputs are unobservable (i.e. for which market data is unavailable) for the asset or liability.

 

The financial assets and liabilities measured at fair value in the Condensed Statement of Financial Position are grouped into the fair value hierarchy at the reporting date as follows:

As at 31 March 2022

Notes

Level 1

£'000

Level 2

£'000

Level 3

£'000

Total

£'000

Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss


 

 

 

 

Quoted equities

a)

246,051

4,175

-

250,226

Total


246,051

4,175

-

250,226

As at 31 March 2021

Notes

Level 1

£'000

Level 2

£'000

Level 3

£'000

Total

£'000

Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss






Quoted equities

a)

213,431

-

-

213,431

Total


213,431

-

-

213,431

As at 30 September 2021

Notes

Level 1

£'000

Level 2

£'000

Level 3

£'000

Total

£'000

Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss






Quoted equities

a)

216,808

4,108

-

220,916

Total


216,808

4,108

-

220,916

 

a) Equities and preference shares

The fair value of the Company's investments in equities and preference shares has been determined by reference to their quoted bid prices at the reporting date. Equities and preference shares included in Fair Value Level 1 are actively traded on recognised stock exchanges.

 

11. Related party transactions and transactions with the Investment Manager

Fees payable to the Directors and their interests in shares of the Company are considered to be related party transactions and are disclosed within the Directors' Remuneration Report on pages 31 and 33 of the 2021 Report and Accounts. The balance of fees due to Directors at the period end was £nil (31 March, 2021: £nil and 30 September, 2021: £nil).

 

The Company has an agreement with Ecofin Advisors Limited for the provision of investment management services.

 

The management fee was calculated, on a quarterly basis, at 1.00% per annum of the Company's NAV until 31 March,2021. From 1 April, 2021, the management fee is calculated at 1.00% per annum of the Company's NAV on the first £200 million and 0.75% per annum of NAV thereafter, payable quarterly in arrears.  The management fee is chargeable 50% to revenue and 50% to capital.

 

During the period £1,068,000 (31 March, 2021: £912,000 and 30 September, 2021: £1,870,000) of investment management fees were earned by the Manager, with a balance of £539,000 (31 March 2021: £461,000 and 30  September, 2021: £491,000) being payable to Ecofin Advisors Limited at the period end.

 

 

 

12. Analysis of changes in net debt

 





As at

Currency

As at


30 September 2021

Differences

Cash flows            31 March 2022


£'000

£'000

                    £'000                           £'000

Cash and short term deposits

11,251

(281)

(10,970)

-

Debt due within one year

(35,873)

-

6,389

(29,484)


(24,622)

(281)

(4,581)

(29,484)

 


As at

30 September 2020

£'000

Currency

differences

£'000

Cash flows

£'000

As at

31 March 2021

£'000

Cash and short term deposits

-

-

2,719

2,719

Debt due within one year

(22,757)

1,202

(10,468)

(32,023)


(22,757)

1,202

(7,749)

(29,304)

 

A statement reconciling the movement in net funds to the net cash flow has not been presented as there are no differences from the above analysis.

 

Interim Management Report

The principal and emerging risks and uncertainties that could have a material impact on the Company's performance have not changed from those set out on pages 18 to 20 of the Company's Annual Report for the year ended 30 September, 2021.

 

The Directors consider that the Chairman's Statement and the Investment Manager's Report set out herein, the above disclosure on related party transactions and the Directors' Responsibility Statement below, together constitute the Interim Management Report of the Company for the six months ended 31 March, 2022 and satisfy the requirements of Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules 4.2.3 to 4.2.11 of the Financial Conduct Authority.

 

The Interim Report has not been reviewed or audited by the Company's Auditor.

 

Directors' Responsibility Statement

The Directors listed in the Interim Report confirm that to the best of their knowledge:

 

(i) the condensed set of Financial Statements has been prepared in accordance with FRS 104 (Interim Financial Reporting) and give

a true and fair review of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit and loss of the Company as required by Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rule 4.2.4 R;

(ii) the Interim Management Report includes a fair review, as required by Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rule 4.2.7 R, of important events that occurred during the six months ended 31 March, 2022 and their impact on the condensed set of Financial Statements, and a description of the principal risks and uncertainties for the remaining six months of the financial year; and

(iii) the Interim Management Report includes a fair review of the information concerning related party transactions as required by Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rule 4.2.8 R.

 

This Interim Report was approved by the Board on 18 May, 2022 and the Directors' Responsibility Statement was signed on its behalf by:

 

David Simpson

Chairman

18 May, 2022

 

Interim Report 2022

The Interim Report will be available on the Investment Manager's website www.ecofininvest.com/egl. A copy of the Interim Report for the six months ended 31 March, 2022 will be submitted to the National Storage Mechanism of the FCA and will shortly be available for inspection at: https://data.fca.org.uk/#/nsm/nationalstoragemechanism. The financial information for the period ending 31 March, 2022 comprises non-statutory accounts within the meaning of Sections 434 - 436 of the Companies Act 2006.

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Faith Pengelly

For and on behalf of

Maitland Administration Services Limited

Company Secretary

 

Tel: 01245 950 317

 

18 MAY, 2022

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