Electra's NAV falls by 8.75%

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The Independent Online
ELECTRA, the investment trust specialising in unlisted companies, suffered an 8.75 per cent fall in net asset value over its last financial year, a slightly disappointing performance, according to one analyst.

Electra saw a 'substantial reduction' in the value of its stock market-quoted portfolio, mainly small and medium-sized companies, which have had another bad year. Its UK unlisted investments also suffered, though the North American portfolio made progress.

Net assets fell from pounds 501.7m to pounds 480.8m, causing fully-diluted NAV per share to drop from 304.53p to 277.87p in the year to 30 September. The FT All-share index fell by 4.7 per cent in the same period. A rising stock market lifted unaudited NAV per share to 295.49p by the end of November.

At 184p, unchanged yesterday, Electra's shares have fallen to a substantial discount to NAV. Hugh Mumford, managing director of Electra Kingsway, the trust's manager, said: 'We have had three pretty tough years. If we are moving into calmer waters, and there's reason to believe we are, and we start to move net asset value the other way, I think the discount will narrow.'

Electra recently invested pounds 11m in the buyout of Express Foods from Grand Metropolitan, and Mr Mumford said the trust was considering other deals in the pounds 5m to pounds 15m range. Some analysts are anxious to know more about how much Electra is investing and where.

Electra Kingsway still has to invest nearly half of a pounds 486m fund ( pounds 200m from the trust) that it raised three years ago.

Electra's pre-tax profits rose from pounds 11.1m to nearly pounds 12m. Final dividend is 3.4p, increasing the total by 4.7 per cent to 6.7p a share.