A flurry of investment trusts launched to tempt investors

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The Independent Online
SMALL INVESTORS are being invited to subscribe millions of pounds for a string of new investment trusts covering a wide range of sectors.

Eaglet Investment Trust hopes to raise between pounds 15m and pounds 30m to invest in UK companies with market capitalisations of less than pounds 50m. There will be no unquoted companies in the fund. The manager will be Peter Webb, who until recently ran the Thornton UK Smaller Companies unit trust. This trust ranks second in its sector over five years, according to figures from Micropal, with a profit of 73.14 per cent.

Mr Webb has set up a company to manage the new trust in conjunction with Capital Ventures, better known for its Business Expansion Scheme sponsorship.

With the BES coming to an end in six months' time Capital Ventures is looking for ways to diversify, as is another BES veteran, Johnson Fry, which is launching the Utilities Trust. This is a split capital fund that will invest in British Gas, BT and the water and electricity companies. Johnson Fry says the income shares are expected to yield at least 9 per cent gross.

John Govett is launching an emerging markets trust that will invest in countries such as China, Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico, Argentina and Turkey. Govett hopes to raise pounds 30m.

The average profit over the last six months in the five existing emerging market investment trusts was just under 21 per cent.

Dunedin Fund Managers believes the Japanese economy is on the road to recovery and is seeking pounds 50m for the Dunedin Japan Investment Trust. Dunedin will donate 35 per cent of its annual 1 per cent management fee over five years to the children's charity Barnardo's.

Prospectuses for the Eaglet trust are available from the stockbroker Greig, Middleton, 071-247 0007 or Capital Ventures, 0242 584380; Johnson Fry can be contacted on 071-321 0220; John Govett on 071-378 7979 and Dunedin on 031-315 2500.

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