Murray International Trust posts strong half year results

Murray International Trust posts strong half year results

Bruce Stout

Murray International Trust Plc, a fund managed by Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI), has posted strong half-year results for the period to June 30 2021.

The trust has announced two interim dividends of 12.0p (2020: 12.0p). The first interim dividend is payable on 16 August 2021 to shareholders on the register on 2 July 2021 and the second interim dividend will be paid on 19 November 2021 to shareholders on the register on 8 October 2021.

Net asset value (NAV) total return, with net income reinvested for the period stood at 8.7%. The Company does not have a benchmark but this compared with the 11.4% return of the Company’s Reference Index (the FTSE All World TR Index).

Over the six month period, the share price total return was 7.3%, reflecting a small widening of the discount at which the shares traded over the NAV.

Bruce Stout, investment director of Murray International, said: “Polarisation between investor sentiment and fundamental realities stretched new boundaries over the first six months of 2021 as financial markets constantly looked beyond the pandemic whilst global companies remain focused on the current challenging operating environment.

“This proved particularly pertinent for income investors. Improving global growth prospects and rising corporate profitability restored confidence that manifested itself in almost universally higher equity prices. But numerous companies remained very cautious when it came to returning improving cash flows to shareholders.

“Opting to reset dividends below pre-pandemic levels or to keep dividends unchanged until greater transparency emerges was commonplace against a backdrop of viral mutations and constantly changing directives from governments.”

He added: “Unlike previous periods of dividend recessions, the path to income recovery may take much longer for certain economic sectors and businesses this time around.

“A focus on strong corporate balance sheets, flexible investment parameters and diversified geographical exposures remains key for driving sustainable income growth in and beyond the current environment. All three continue to be rigorously implemented by the managers of Murray International in pursuit of the Company’s investment objectives.”

Commenting on the outlook, David Hardie, interim chairman, said: “Notwithstanding the continuing battle against Covid-19 and its variants, there can be no doubt that a global economic recovery is underway with practically every country in the world projected to register a meaningful rebound in annual average GDP growth this year.

“Yet it must also be noted that rates of economic expansion are likely to prove extremely erratic on a quarterly basis and vary enormously between continents, countries and regional economies.

“For individual sectors, industries and companies, the path towards normality is unlikely to be straightforward. Both in terms of new patterns of consumption brought about through necessity during the past twelve months and production constraints associated with satisfying pent-up demand going forward from here, the pricing environment for goods and services is likely to remain volatile for some considerable time.

“How global financial markets ultimately cope should persistent inflation re-emerge remains to be seen, but the Company remains well diversified in quality companies with real tangible assets, seeking to capitalise on the numerous growth and income investment opportunities that currently prevail.”

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