TIDMEAT

RNS Number : 6710U

European Assets Trust PLC

03 August 2022

   Date:                3 August 2022 

Contact: Sam Cosh (Lead Investment Manager) / Scott McEllen (Investment Company Secretary)

Columbia Threadneedle Investment Business Limited

020 7628 8000

   LEI:                   213800N61H8P3Z4I8726 

European Assets Trust PLC

Unaudited Statement of Results

for the half-year ended 30 June 2022

Highlights for the half-year ended 30 June 2022:

   --      Net Asset Value total return of -31.4% in comparison to the benchmark return of -21.0%. 
   --      Share price total return of -31.8%. 

-- An annual dividend of 8.8p per share for 2022 representing a dividend yield of 9.2% based on the Company's closing share price of 95.7p on 1 August 2022.

"European smaller companies represent a large, diverse market, composed of a collection of dynamic, entrepreneurial businesses that through time are expected to navigate their way well through challenging operational circumstances. These characteristics were not rewarded in the first half. We are confident that they will be over the long term."

Jack Perry CBE

Chairman

SUMMARY OF RESULTS

 
 
                                                Half-year   Half-year ended 
                                                    ended      30 June 2021 
                                             30 June 2022 
-----------------------------------------  --------------  ---------------- 
 
 Net Asset Value per share total return 
  (1)                                              -31.4%             13.4% 
 Share price total return (1)                      -31.8%             17.6% 
 EMIX Smaller European Companies (ex UK) 
  Index total return                               -21.0%             10.5% 
-----------------------------------------  --------------  ---------------- 
 
 Distributions per ordinary share 
 Dividends per share - as at 30 June            (2) 4.40p             4.00p 
 Dividends announced for the year                   8.80p             8.00p 
-----------------------------------------  --------------  ---------------- 
 

(1) Total Return - the return to Shareholders calculated on a per share basis adding dividends paid in the period to the increase or decrease in the Share Price or Net Asset Value in the period. The dividends are assumed to have been re-invested in the form of shares or net assets, respectively, on the date on which the shares were quoted ex-dividend.

(2) The first interim dividend of 2.20p per share was paid on 31 January 2022, the second interim dividend of 2.20p per share on 29 April 2022 and the third interim dividend of 2.20p per share on 29 July 2022. The fourth interim dividend of 2.20p per share is payable to eligible Shareholders on 31 October 2022.

The Chairman, commenting on the results, said:

This report is for the six-month period ended 30 June 2022.

European Assets Trust PLC ("the Company") recorded a Sterling Net Asset Value ("NAV") total return during this period of -31.4%. The Sterling share price return for the period was -31.8%. These results compare to the total return of the Company's benchmark, the EMIX Smaller European Companies (ex UK) Index of -21.0% for the same period. At the period end the NAV was 96.0p (31 December 2021: 146.0p) and the share price was 92.0p (31 December 2021: 140.0p). At 30 June 2022, the discount was 5.0% (31 December 2021: 4.4%).

This has been a difficult six months with markets falling across the board. Rising inflation expectations have driven interest rates higher causing an aggressive market sell-off that has been exacerbated by a war in Eastern Europe and more recently by recession fears in most major economies. Consumer income and corporate profits are under pressure from both higher input and borrowing costs as central banks look to fight inflation. This has been particularly painful for our portfolio which has significantly underperformed the benchmark. These higher rates have caused an intra market rotation away from quality, growth stocks towards value areas. Given our portfolio displays higher quality and better growth characteristics than the benchmark, these factors have largely been the drivers of our underperformance. We can, however, take some reassurance that the operational performance of our holdings, in aggregate, has been good and is meeting our expectations. Unfortunately, market sentiment and the consequent valuation compression has disproportionately affected the portfolio.

Dividends

The 2022 dividend of 8.8p per share, which represents an increase of 10.0% from the 2021 dividend of 8.0p per share, is payable in four equal instalments of 2.2p. Dividends of 2.2p have been paid on 31 January, 29 April and 29 July. A further instalment of 2.2p will be paid on 31 October 2022.

As at 1 August 2022, the latest practicable date prior to publication of this announcement, an annual dividend of 8.8p per share represents a yield of 9.2% calculated with reference to the Company's closing share price of 95.7p that day.

The level of dividend paid each year is determined in accordance with the Company's distribution policy. The Company has stated that, barring unforeseen circumstances, it will pay an annual dividend equivalent to six per cent of its NAV at the end of the preceding year. Should the NAV at 31 December 2022 be lower than the NAV at the 2021 year end then the value of the dividend payable in 2023 would be expected to be proportionately lower.

Investment Manager

On 8 November 2021, BMO sold its asset management business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, ("BMO GAM EMEA") to Columbia Threadneedle Investments. Since November 2021, Columbia Threadneedle Investments has been working to integrate both organisations, focused on delivering the best possible outcomes for all clients. The combined business has more than 2,500 staff, including over 650 investment professionals based in North America, Europe and Asia. At 31 March 2022 it managed GBP531 billion of client assets.

On 4 July 2022, the entire BMO GAM EMEA business was rebranded as Columbia Threadneedle Investments. As part of this process, the Company's appointed manager, BMO Investment Business Limited, was renamed Columbia Threadneedle Investment Business Limited.

Throughout this process, the Board has sought and received confirmation from senior management at Columbia Threadneedle Investments of the importance of maintaining stability and continuity of the teams which presently support your Company. The Board welcomes these assurances and will ensure that Shareholders are kept informed of developments as this new relationship evolves.

Fiftieth Anniversary

This year the Company celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. The Company was created in 1972 following the acquisition of a Dutch investment company 'Mijbeb NV' by a consortium of United Kingdom institutional investors and the appointment of a predecessor of Columbia Threadneedle Investment Business Limited as its Manager.

Initially the Company was listed solely on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. In 1983 its shares were also listed on the London Stock Exchange. Until 1982 the Company was called European Community Trust NV. It was then renamed European Assets Trust NV and in 2019, following its migration from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom and de-listing from the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, became European Assets Trust PLC.

A timeline of significant events in the Company's history is provided beginning on page 30 of the Interim Report.

Outlook

The mood in the markets is obviously despondent. Europe is heading into a winter with potential gas shortages presenting a significant problem for all of Europe but particularly for its major economy, Germany. Central banks are still trying to get to grips with inflation and interest rate expectations are yet to settle. With this level of macro-economic volatility, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the potential of our focus markets. European smaller companies represent a large, diverse market, composed of a collection of dynamic, entrepreneurial businesses that through time are expected to navigate their way well through challenging circumstances. So while the environment remains tough, the operational performance of our portfolio of companies, in the aggregate, is encouraging. These characteristics were not rewarded in the first half. We are confident that they will be over the long term.

Jack Perry CBE

Chairman

The Investment Manager, commenting on the results, said:

Market background

This has been a challenging six months for European smaller companies, but they were not alone; developed market equities had the worst first half for over 50 years. The initial market weakness was precipitated by consistently rising inflation data, causing expectations of a faster tightening cycle led by the US Federal Reserve. This rapid reset of interest rate expectations caused aggressive market moves and for equities a huge rotation out of quality, growth areas into more value areas with energy being the main beneficiary. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February exacerbated these trends with oil and food prices spiking. Meanwhile, China's zero COVID-19 policy and regional lockdowns added to supply chain restrictions further fuelling rising input costs. In an effort to quell inflation, central banks have become increasingly hawkish and this has increased recessionary expectations, leading to further market declines.

Performance

The NAV has underperformed the benchmark significantly. The main reason for this is the rotation away from growth stocks. The best illustration of this is that Energy, a sector in which we are underweight, was the outstanding performing sector of the benchmark rising over 21% (in GBP) whilst Healthcare, a sector you would expect to perform well during a market sell-off, being one of the worst performers, falling over 30%. Other sectors to struggle were Information Technology and perhaps not surprisingly Consumer Discretionary.

In aggregate, our weakest performance came from our Industrial holdings. Whilst we are underweight the sector, our stocks performed poorly. Wizz Air for example, a stock that is positively exposed to the post COVID-19 travel recovery, suffered through its exposure to Ukraine, rising fuel costs and airport staffing issues. We did, however, react quickly as these headwinds appeared, reducing the position aggressively at the outset of the invasion. Other industrials that hurt us were Sdiptech, an infrastructure technology consolidator, Interpump, the Italian component manufacturer and Fluidra, the global leading swimming pool equipment supplier, despite them all delivering good operating results in the first half. In fact, this was the case for the whole portfolio where operational delivery by our holdings, in aggregate, was good, yet the shares were hit hard by valuation compression.

As we have already discussed, growth stocks were significantly out of favour and those also exposed to consumer spending had an especially difficult time. For example, MIPS, the Swedish listed designer of safety inlays for helmets, lost more than half its value. Admittedly its full year results, released in February were disappointing, with sales held back by supply issues in China. Q1 results were, however, well ahead of expectations, though this wasn't enough to offset market rotation. This also impacted Nordic Semiconductor, the global leading designer of Bluetooth semiconductors, Thule, the Swedish outdoor equipment brand, and flatexDEGIRO, the online broker which saw lower consumer trading activity.

Our top performers were those that held up better than the market and are perceived to have defensive qualities. For example, Lotus Bakeries, a family run business that owns, among others, the Biscoff, Nakd and Bear brands. This company performed well on the view that though under pressure, its portfolio of quality branded snacks remain well placed.

Coor Service Management, the integrated services management company, also had a strong first half. They are emerging from COVID-19 in a strong position and their long-term contract base ensures that they have good visibility on their earnings. Corticeira Amorim is also having a good year. The Portuguese global leader in cork products, benefitted from stable end markets with the support of a strong dollar which makes up a material part of their revenues.

Our traditional financials also had a good first half. Ringkjoebing Landbobank, one of our largest positions, continues to deliver strong operational performance, whilst Storebrand, the Norwegian life insurance company, and Sparebank, the regional Norwegian bank, both outperformed the benchmark. Rising interest rates now provide a tailwind for these companies, whilst our Norwegian holdings are also getting the benefit of higher oil prices which provides substantial support for the local economy.

Other stocks that performed well were the Swedish listed information supplier to the legal sector, Karnov, the French industrial technology company, Lectra, the Irish home builder, Cairn Homes, and the Dutch Food distributer, Sligro. We also benefitted from having minimal weighting in Real Estate, a relatively large and poorly performing component of our benchmark.

Portfolio activity

As you would expect, we are maintaining our investment philosophy and process. We therefore continue to run a portfolio with better quality and growth characteristics than the benchmark. We cannot, however, ignore the fact that 2022 has seen some seismic events and we need to account for this in our positioning. For example, the Ukrainian war has highlighted the challenge in trying to transition to renewable energy whilst relying on the supply of Russian gas. There has been a dearth of capital investment in traditional energy supplies, which we know now is essential for economic activity until renewable energies are of sufficient scale. We believe this capital cycle is turning and will benefit energy companies. We have therefore added to our holding in TGS, the global leading seismic data company, and Schoeller Bleckmenn Oilfield Equipment, the market leader in drill components sold to the oil industry. We have also reduced our exposure to companies that are hurt by rising energy costs, reducing significantly our holding in Wizz Air as mentioned previously. We also sold Vidrala, the Spanish glass bottling company, that utilises an energy intense production process and has no protection from hedging.

We have also pared back our consumer discretionary exposure which has involved trimming several positions and selling our holding in Dometic, which sells components into the recreational vehicle market. In addition to concern about potential weakness of the end markets, we had concerns over the company's financial leverage. Refinancing debt is becoming increasingly expensive, and we think heavily indebted companies are to be avoided. Please note that our portfolio holdings in aggregate have far less exposure to debt than our benchmark.

Outlook

The outlook for the European economy is challenging. The region is facing a winter with potentially severe gas shortages and consumers and corporates are facing significantly increased costs. In fact, a recession in the UK, Europe and US is now expected though this economic weakness is expected to be relatively mild. Corporate inventories are low, consumer and corporate balance sheets are in good shape, and the banking sector looks robust. Markets have also moved quickly and now look to be good value, particularly in Europe which has suffered the main effects of the Ukraine conflict. This aggressive compression in valuations now provides opportunities. Good quality growth stocks do not look expensive, and we would expect to add some new holdings from our watchlist through the second half of the year. We believe that good franchises will have pricing power and therefore the potential for revenue and margin growth. In an environment of rising and volatile costs we would expect them to deliver better operational results than the market and would expect such performance to be rewarded once interest rate expectations settle down.

Sam Cosh

Lead Investment Manager

Columbia Threadneedle Investment Business Limited

Forward -looking statements

This interim report may contain forward-looking statements with respect to the financial condition, results of operations and business of the Company. Such statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to future events and circumstances that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements are based on the Board's' current view and on information known to them at the date of this report. Nothing should be construed as a profit forecast.

Directors' Statement of Principal Risks and Uncertainties

Most of the Company's principal risks and uncertainties are market related and no different from those of other investment trusts investing in listed equities. They are described in more detail under the heading "Principal Risks and Changes in the Year" within the Strategic Report in the Company's Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 December 2021.

The principal risks identified in the Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 December 2021 were:

   --      Poor absolute and/or relative performance; 
   --      Relevance/attractiveness of the investment strategy and policy; 
   --      Failure of the manager or the loss of key investment management staff; 
   --      Regulatory and compliance failure (including ESG reporting); and 
   --      Service provider failure. 

At present the global economy continues to suffer considerable disruption due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflationary concerns and the war in Ukraine. The Directors continue to review the key risk register for the Company which identifies the risks that the Company is exposed to, the controls in place and the actions being taken to mitigate them.

It is also noted that:

-- An analysis of the performance of the Company since 1 January 2022 is included within the Chairman's Statement and the Investment Manager's Review above.

-- The Company has a EUR45 million multi-currency loan facility with The Bank of Nova Scotia (London branch). As at 30 June 2022 EUR20.0 million was drawn down.

-- Note 4 below details the Board's consideration for the continued applicability of the principle of Going Concern when preparing this report.

On behalf of the Board

Jack Perry CBE

Chairman

2 August 2022

Directors' Statement of Responsibilities in Respect of the Half-Yearly Financial Report

In accordance with Chapter 4 of the Disclosure and Transparency Rules the Directors confirm, that to the best of their knowledge:

-- the condensed set of financial statements has been prepared in accordance with applicable UK-adopted International Accounting Standards on a going concern basis, and gives a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and net return of the Company;

-- the Chairman's Statement, Investment Manager's Review and the Directors' Statement of Principal Risks and Uncertainties include a fair review of the information required by the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rule ('DTR') 4.2.7R, being an indication of important events that have occurred during the first six months of the financial year and their impact on the financial statements;

-- the Directors' Statement of Principal Risks and Uncertainties shown above is a fair review of the principal risks and uncertainties for the remainder of the financial year; and

-- the half-yearly report includes a fair review of the information required by DTR 4.2.8R, being related party transactions that have taken place in the first six months of the current financial year and that have materially affected the financial position or performance of the Company during the period, and any changes in the related party transactions described in the last Annual Report that could do so.

On behalf of the Board

Jack Perry CBE

Chairman

2 August 2022

Condensed Statement of Comprehensive Income

 
 
   Half-year ended    Half-year ended 
      30 June 2022       30 June 2021 
       (Unaudited)        (Unaudited) 
 
 
                                                      Revenue     Capital       Total    Revenue    Capital      Total 
                                                     GBP'000s    GBP'000s    GBP'000s   GBP'000s   GBP'000s   GBP'000s 
    ----------------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  ----------  ---------  ---------  --------- 
 
     (Losses)/gains on investments held at fair 
     value through profit or loss                           -   (178,269)   (178,269)          -     78,711     78,711 
     Foreign exchange (losses)/gains                     (20)       (365)       (385)          7        824        831 
     Income                                             6,391           -       6,391      5,778          -      5,778 
     Management fees                                    (348)     (1,391)     (1,739)      (357)    (1,427)    (1,784) 
     Other expenses                                     (482)        (14)       (496)      (496)        (4)      (500) 
    ----------------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  ----------  ---------  ---------  --------- 
     Profit / (loss) before finance costs and 
     taxation                                           5,541   (180,039)   (174,498)      4,932     78,104     83,036 
     Finance costs                                       (24)        (99)       (123)       (21)       (87)      (108) 
    ----------------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  ----------  ---------  ---------  --------- 
     Profit / (loss) before taxation                    5,517   (180,138)   (174,621)      4,911     78,017     82,928 
     Taxation                                           (684)           -       (684)      (731)          -      (731) 
    ----------------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  ----------  ---------  ---------  --------- 
     Profit / (loss) for the period                     4,833   (180,138)   (175,305)      4,180     78,017     82,197 
    ----------------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  ----------  ---------  ---------  --------- 
 2   Earnings per share - pence                          1.34     (50.03)     (48.69)       1.16      21.67      22.83 
    ----------------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  ----------  ---------  ---------  --------- 
 

The total column of this statement represents the Company's Income Statement and Statement of Comprehensive Income, prepared in accordance with UK-adopted International Accounting Standards. The supplementary revenue and capital return columns are both prepared under guidance published by the Association of Investment Companies.

All revenue and capital items in the above statement derive from continuing operations.

Condensed Statement of Changes in Equity

 
                                                                                            Cumulative           Total 
                                            Share   Distributable     Capital    Revenue   Translation   Shareholders' 
 Half-year ended 30 June 2022             Capital         Reserve     Reserve    Reserve       Reserve           Funds 
 (Unaudited)                             GBP'000s        GBP'000s    GBP'000s   GBP'000s      GBP'000s        GBP'000s 
--------------------------------------  ---------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ------------  -------------- 
 Balance at 31 December 2021               37,506         322,694     188,661          -      (23,426)         525,435 
 Movements during the half-year ended 
 30 June 2022 
 Interim dividends distributed and 
  reinvested                                    -        (11,011)           -    (4,833)             -        (15,844) 
 Total comprehensive income                     -               -   (180,138)      4,833             -       (175,305) 
 Cumulative translation adjustment              -               -           -          -        13,071          13,071 
--------------------------------------  ---------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ------------  -------------- 
 Balance at 30 June 2022                   37,506         311,683       8,523          -      (10,355)         347,357 
--------------------------------------  ---------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ------------  -------------- 
 
 
  Half-year ended 30 June 2021 
   (Unaudited) 
--------------------------------------  ---------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ------------  -------------- 
 Balance at 31 December 2020               37,506         346,054      88,462          -         5,982         478,004 
 Movements during the half-year ended 
 30 June 2021 
 Interim dividends distributed and 
  reinvested                                    -        (10,222)           -    (4,180)             -        (14,402) 
 Total comprehensive income                     -               -      78,017      4,180             -          82,197 
 Cumulative translation adjustment              -               -           -          -      (19,408)        (19,408) 
--------------------------------------  ---------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ------------  -------------- 
 Balance at 30 June 2021                   37,506         335,832     166,479          -      (13,426)         526,391 
--------------------------------------  ---------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ------------  -------------- 
 
 

Condensed Statement of Financial Position

 
 
                                         30 June 2022     30 June 2021     31 December 
                                                                                  2021 
                                          (Unaudited)      (Unaudited)       (Audited) 
                                             GBP'000s         GBP'000s        GBP'000s 
------------------------------------  ---------------  ---------------  -------------- 
 Non-current assets 
 Investments at fair value through 
  profit or loss                              341,166          540,751         539,756 
------------------------------------  ---------------  ---------------  -------------- 
 Current assets 
 Other receivables                              3,315            2,745           2,680 
 Derivative financial instruments                   -              547               - 
  held at fair value through profit 
  or loss 
 Cash and cash equivalents                     20,731            8,196           8,342 
------------------------------------  ---------------  ---------------  -------------- 
 Total current assets                          24,046           11,488          11,022 
------------------------------------  ---------------  ---------------  -------------- 
 Current liabilities 
 Other payables                                 (204)             (94)           (155) 
 Derivative financial instruments               (434)                -               - 
  held at fair value through profit 
  or loss 
 Bank Loan                                   (17,217)         (25,754)        (25,188) 
------------------------------------  ---------------  ---------------  -------------- 
 Total current liabilities                   (17,855)         (25,848)        (25,343) 
------------------------------------  ---------------  ---------------  -------------- 
 Total current assets/(liabilities)             6,191         (14,360)        (14,321) 
------------------------------------ 
 Net assets                                   347,357          526,391         525,435 
------------------------------------  ---------------  ---------------  -------------- 
 
 Capital and reserves 
 Share capital                                 37,506           37,506          37,506 
 Distributable reserve                        311,683          335,832         322,694 
 Capital reserve                                8,523          166,479         188,661 
 Revenue reserve                                    -                -               - 
 Cumulative translation reserve              (10,355)         (13,426)        (23,426) 
 Total Shareholders' funds                    347,357          526,391         525,435 
------------------------------------  ---------------  ---------------  -------------- 
 
   Net Asset Value per ordinary 
   share - pence                                96.47           146.19          145.93 
------------------------------------  ---------------  ---------------  -------------- 
 

Condensed Statement of Cash Flows

 
 
                                                  Half-year ended   Half-year ended 
                                                     30 June 2022      30 June 2021 
                                                      (Unaudited)       (Unaudited) 
                                                         GBP'000s          GBP'000s 
-----------------------------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
 Cash flows from operating activities before 
  dividends received and 
  interest paid                                           (2,167)           (2,288) 
-----------------------------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
 Dividends received                                         5,276             2,334 
 Interest paid                                              (126)             (101) 
-----------------------------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
 Cash flows from operating activities                       2,983              (55) 
-----------------------------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
 Investing activities 
 Purchase of investments                                 (60,211)          (50,123) 
 Sale of investments                                       93,280            67,634 
 Increase / (decrease) in securities purchased 
  for future settlement                                       434             (547) 
 Other capital expenses                                      (14)               (4) 
-----------------------------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
 Cash flows from investing activities                      33,489            16,960 
-----------------------------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
 Cash flows before financing activities                    36,472            16,905 
-----------------------------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
 Financing activities 
 Equity dividends distributed (net)                      (15,844)          (14,402) 
 Repayment of bank loan                                   (8,452)                 - 
-----------------------------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
 Cash flows from financing activities                    (24,296)          (14,402) 
-----------------------------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
 Net movement in cash and cash equivalents                 12,176             2,503 
 Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning 
  of the period                                             8,342             2,950 
 Effect of movement in foreign exchange                     (385)               831 
 Translation adjustment                                       598             1,912 
-----------------------------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
 Cash and cash equivalents at the end of 
  the period                                               20,731             8,196 
-----------------------------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
 
 Represented by: 
-----------------------------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
 Cash at bank                                                  19                 6 
 Short term deposits                                       20,712             8,190 
                                                           20,731             8,196 
-----------------------------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
 
 
 

Notes

   1    Basis of preparation 

These condensed financial statements, which are unaudited, have been prepared on a going concern basis in accordance with the Companies Act 2006, UK-adopted International Accounting Standards and the Statement of Recommended Practice "Financial Statements of Investment Trust Companies and Venture Capital Trusts" ("SORP") issued by the AIC.

All of the Company's operations are of a continuing nature. The functional currency of the Company is the Euro and presentational currency is the Pound Sterling as the Board believe this will provide clarity of the Company's financial statements for its Shareholders, the overwhelming majority of whom are located in the United Kingdom.

All transactions during the period are translated on the date of execution and the Statement of Financial Position as at the period end date.

The accounting policies applied in the condensed set of financial statements are set out in the Company's annual report for the year ended 31 December 2021.

   2    Earnings per share 

Earnings per ordinary share attributable to Shareholders reflects the overall performance of the Company in the period. Net revenue recognised in the first six months is not necessarily indicative of the total likely to be received in the full accounting year.

 
 
                                          Half-year     Half-year ended 
                                              ended        30 June 2021 
                                       30 June 2022            GBP'000s 
                                           GBP'000s 
----------------------------------  ---------------  ------------------ 
 Revenue return                               4,833               4,180 
 Capital return                           (180,138)              78,017 
----------------------------------  ---------------  ------------------ 
 Total return                             (175,305)              82,197 
----------------------------------  ---------------  ------------------ 
 
                                             Number              Number 
 Weighted average ordinary shares 
  in issue                              360,069,279         360,069,279 
 Earnings per share - pence                 (48.69)               22.83 
----------------------------------  ---------------  ------------------ 
 
   3    Dividend 

The fourth interim dividend of 2.20p per share in respect of the year ending 31 December 2022 will be paid on 31 October 2022 to eligible Shareholders on the register. The total cost of this dividend based on 360,069,279 shares in issue is GBP7,922,000.

   4    Going concern 

In assessing the going concern basis of accounting the Directors have had regard to the guidance issued by the Financial Reporting Council. They have also considered the Company's objective, high distribution policy, the current cash position of the Company, the availability of the loan facility and compliance with its covenants and the operational resilience of the Company and its service providers.

At present the global economy continues to suffer disruption due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic inflationary concerns and the war in Ukraine, the Directors have given careful consideration to the consequences for this Company. The Company has a EUR45 million multi-currency loan facility with The Bank of Nova Scotia (London branch). As at 30 June 2022 EUR20.0 million (GBP17.2 million) was drawn down, resulting in undrawn debt facilities of EUR25 million (GBP21.5 million). In addition to the undrawn debt facility, as at 30 June 2022, the Company had a robust cash position of EUR24.1 million (GBP20.7 million) held at bank.

The Company has a number of banking covenants and at present the Company's financial position does not suggest that any of these are close to being breached. The primary risk is that there is a further significant decrease in the Net Asset Value of the Company in the short to medium term.

As at 1 August 2022, the latest practicable date before the publication of this report, borrowings amounted to EUR20.0 million (GBP16.7 million). This is compared to a Net Asset Value of GBP362.3 million. In accordance with its investment policy the Company is invested mainly in readily realisable listed securities. These can be realised if necessary, to repay the loan facility and fund the cash requirements for future dividend payments.

The Company operates within a robust regulatory environment. The Company retains title to all assets held by the Custodian. Cash is held with banks approved and regularly reviewed by the Manager and the Board.

The Company's annual dividend, which is declared in Sterling, is determined by reference to the prior year-end Net Asset Value. The Company manages any Sterling/Euro exchange rate exposure which may arise from the declaration of a Sterling denominated dividend by entering into specific matched forward currency hedging contracts. As at 30 June 2022 the Company had a Distributable Reserve of GBP311.7 million.

As at 30 June 2022 the Company had current liabilities of GBP17.9 million. The Company invests in listed securities which can be realised to fund any short-term cash shortfall that may arise.

Based on this information the Directors believe that the Company has the ability to meet its financial obligations as they fall due for a period of at least twelve months from the date of approval of these financial statements. Accordingly, these financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis.

   5    Results 

The results for the half-year ended 30 June 2022 and 30 June 2021, which are unaudited, constitute non-statutory accounts within the meaning of Section 434 of the Companies Act 2006. The latest published accounts which have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies are for the year ended 31 December 2021; the report of the independent auditors thereon was unqualified and did not contain a statement under Section 498 of the Companies Act 2006. The abridged financial statements shown above for the year ended 31 December 2021 are an extract from those accounts.

   6    Half-yearly report and accounts 

The Company's report and accounts will be available shortly on the internet at www.europeanassets.co.uk. Printed copies may be obtained by writing to the Company Secretary at Exchange House, Primrose Street, London EC2A 2NY.

By order of the Board

Columbia Threadneedle Investment Business Limited, Secretary

Exchange House,

Primrose Street,

London EC2A 2NY

2 August 2022

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