SAINTS fund raises payout for the 39th year in a row



The Edinburgh-based Scottish American Investment Trust (SAINTS), which counts  Coca-Cola and Microsoft among its most significant holdings, has announced market-beating returns for its shareholders for 2018 and raised its payout for the 39th year in a row.

The Baillie Gifford-managed trust, one of the oldest trusts still in existence, reported total net asset returns down by 2.4 per cent over the year, but this was outstripped by the total return from global equities of 3.4 per cent.

The full year dividend, including a recommended final dividend of 2.925p, is 11.50p per share, 3.6 per cent higher than the 2017 payout and extending the company’s record of dividend increases to thirty nine consecutive years.

The trust, which dates back to 1873, stressed it had endured a challenging year for markets but the strong operational performance of many of its holdings had boosted its returns, particularly its property investments which include pubs and supermarkets.

A statement accompanying the results said:“The board considers that a long-term approach based on investing for sustainable growth is the best route to continuing to grow its dividend ahead of inflation and its capital over time.”

I it was also announced that Dame Mariot Leslie joined the trust’s board on 1 January 2019, while Lord Kerr will be retiring from the board at the forthcoming AGM and, subject to shareholders’ approval, Karyn Lamont will be appointed as a director.

Key figures from the results:

  • Dividend - the full year dividend, including a recommended final dividend of 2.925p, is 11.50p per share. This is 3.6 per cent higher than the 2017 dividend, extending the Company’s record of dividend increases to thirty nine consecutive years. The increase is ahead of UK CPI inflation over the same period, which was 2.1 per cent. The dividend is fully covered by earnings.
  • Revenues - Investment income was £21.7m (2017 - £20.5m) and earnings per share were 11.75p (2017 - 11.33p).
  • Total return* - Net Asset Value total return (capital and income) for the year was -2.4 per cent (debenture at fair value), ahead of the total return from global equities of -3.4 per cent. The share price total return was -1.6 per cent. In a challenging year for markets returns were assisted by the strong operational performance of many of the companies in which SAINTS invests, and also by the performance of the Company’s property investments.
  • Outlook - In the current environment the Managers are continuing to focus on the resilience and dependability of the Company’s holdings, as well as their long-term growth potential. The Board considers that a long-term approach based on investing for sustainable growth is the best route to continuing to grow its dividend ahead of inflation and its capital over time.

Meanwhile, at its AGM held yesterday in the capital, fellow Edinburgh-based fund Scottish Investment Trust announced a final dividend of 6.2p per share and a special dividend of 4.0p per share for the year to 31 October 2018.

Subject to shareholder approval, both dividends will be paid on 15 February 2019 to shareholders on the register on 18 January 2019. The ex-dividend date is 17 January 2019.

Around one-quarter, 26.2 per cent, of the trust’s assets at January 31 were accounted for by UK stocks. That compared with 13.8 per cent for Europe excluding the UK and 31.8 per cent for North America.

Directors fees at The Scottish increased in the year to October 31, for the first time since 2013.

The directors’ remuneration report was approved by 97.66 per cent of votes cast.

The trust’s report and accounts were approved by 99.96 per cent of votes cast.