Financials and consumer cyclicals drive outperformance of European Assets Trust

F&C Investments’ European Assets Trust has announced a period of strong performance, mainly driven by financial and consumer cyclical stocks.

Financial companies drove performance in 2013. These included Azimut, the independent Italian asset manager, which rose 94.2%, and benefited from a record year of inflows, and Aareal Bank, a European property lender, which increased 88.0% through the year.

Other strong performers came from the consumer cyclical sector, with new holding, Plastic Omnium, a French supplier of niche equipment to the auto industry, increasing 105.9%, and SAF Holland, the German supplier of truck trailer parts, rising 111.7%.

Net asset value (NAV) total return per share rose 37.8% in Sterling terms over the period (34.4% in Euros).

The company also announced an increase in dividend for 2014 of 27.0%, at €0.699 per share, representing an annual dividend equivalent to 6.0% of its NAV.

The 2014 dividend will be paid in three equal instalments of €0.233 per share on 31 January, 30 May and 29 August. the company also said.

Commenting on the investment outlook, fund manager Sam Cosh said: “We are still positive about the long-term prospects for European small companies. This is because the two principal determinants that decide future returns for shareholders, valuations and cash flows, look attractive.

“The other potential positive we see is the return of corporate activity, or mergers and acquisitions.”



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