MFM UK Primary Opportunities | Fund Update | March 2021
March: an IPO rush. 5 companies purchased at IPO
We again saw many primary opportunities with the volume of equity raises in what was one of the busiest quarters on record for equity funding globally. This we believe to be very positive for investors in the fund as we are able to choose from those primary opportunities that meet our quality criteria, which we firmly believe will add value over the months and years to come.
In a very busy month, TinyBuild, Virgin Wines, Trustpilot, Activeops and Parsley Box were purchased at IPO. Over £4bn has been raised already this year by companies floating in London. We anticipate more to come and are seeing the greatest value in smaller company IPO’s that we believe have the potential to grow into much larger companies. We added to the existing holdings in Marlowe and Hollywood Bowl, both raising further capital.
The UK market performed strongly as risk on assets were favoured as the UK’s successful vaccination roll out continued and restrictions gradually eased. The Chancellor’s budget was delivered with no major surprises – corporation tax, albeit not unexpected, was raised – a negative for UK companies. The giant US fiscal stimulus of $1.9 trillion was approved, spurring global equities further. Further lockdown measures in mainland Europe failed to unsettle markets.
In March the MFM UK Primary Opportunities fund rose for the fifth month in a row returning 2.54% compared with 3.98% for the FTSE All Share and 3.83% for the IA UK All Companies sector. Performance has been strong in this first quarter of 2021, as those companies we purchased in 2020 at the time they raised equity, are now executing their plans which the market is starting to appreciate. The IPO market is also particularly attractive at present giving us the opportunity to provide further performance to shareholders.
Tinybuild is a video games developer, best known for indie titles such as Hello Neighbour. The company has grown sales at over 50% in recent years and we anticipate further strong growth. The shares were acquired at IPO where the funds raised will be used to expand the business organically but also potentially by acquisition.
Virgin Wines is one of the UK’s largest direct-to-consumer wine retailers with over 160,000 customers. The company has performed strongly during lockdown as online sales soared. Their monthly subscription service provides a selection of wines or beers, allowing customers to increase their knowledge and try different selections every month. The shares were purchased at IPO.
Trustpilot is an independent review platform, founded in Denmark in 2007. Their mission is to be a symbol of trust allowing consumers to make informed purchases online by reviewing customer service scores and comments. A fast growing technology company and market leader in the UK. The shares were purchased at IPO with the proceeds to be used to invest further in technology and fund expansion in the US. We anticipate the company will be included in the FTSE 250 at the next reshuffle with a market capitalisation of £1bn.
ActiveOps is a capacity planning software provider aiding large companies with complex and global back offices to manage workflows more efficiently. A blue chip client list of over 75 companies including Hargreaves Lansdown, Nationwide, Allianz and Coca-Cola. With over 80% of revenues recurring and the pandemic acting as a catalyst for companies to re-evaluate their back offices with staff working remotely, we anticipate further growth for this £140m market cap AIM listed company.
Parsley Box is a direct to consumer food retailer specialising in ready meals to customers typically over seventy years of age, many of whom live alone. Demand for their meals has soared during lockdown and the company anticipates many of these customers will remain when the world returns to normality. We acquired the shares at IPO, with the shares commencing trading quietly on the same day as the much hyped Deliveroo IPO, another food delivery company.
A fire safety, water testing and compliance company we first acquired in 2016 and has been a regular raiser of cash as it has grown both organically and by acquisition. The company has continued to broaden its offering and we added to our holding as part of a £100m equity raise which will be used for acquisition purposes. The company is in active discussions with a number of targets.
The UK’s largest ten pin bowling operator with 64 sites. We added to our holding as part of a £30m equity placing at an 8% discount to the previous night’s closing price. The funds are to strengthen the balance sheet as a result of lockdown going on longer than expected, and to resume the refurbishment of existing sites and provide capital to develop new sites and potentially acquire sites from weaker rivals. We see Hollywood as a major beneficiary of the reversal of lockdown as consumers want affordable, family activities whilst not having to travel too far afield.
In what was another busy month for purchases, we used investment inflows into the fund whilst also making sales to provide the monies to purchase new primary opportunities. Capital Drilling was sold for profits on positive news flow, and exited holdings in healthcare companies Open Orphan and Hikma Pharmaceuticals. Open Orphan proved an excellent investment, trebling in value. We also trimmed our holdings in Midwich and IP Group. As ever, we are selling or reducing holdings in those companies where we believe we have seen much of the share price upside already and investing in new primary opportunities that we believe will give us a greater return – whilst keeping a well-diversified portfolio across sectors and market capitalisations. This simple, yet effective process, is what produces the consistent outperformance that the fund delivers.
Cumulative Performance (Total Return %) – March 2021
|Fund/Benchmark Name||3M to
|Year to 31/03/2021||
3 Years to 31/03/2021
|5 years to 31/03/2021||Since Inception (28/05/1997)|
|MFM UK Primary Opportunities P Acc||8.3||29.1||42.1||23.4||62.8||469.3|
IA UK All Companies
|IA UK All Companies||5.8||22.0||38.0||14.7||38.9||288.1|
|FTSE All Share||5.2||18.5||26.7||9.9||35.7||279.1|
Source: FE: 31/03/2021
Discrete Annual Performance (Total Return %) – March 2021
|Fund/Benchmark Name||Year to 31/03/2021||Year to 31/03/2020||Year to 31/03/2019||Year to 31/03/2018||Year to 31/03/2017|
|MFM UK Primary Opportunities P Acc||42.1||-17.8||5.6||5.6||25.0|
IA UK All Companies
|IA UK All Companies||38.0||-19.2||2.9||2.7||18.0|
|FTSE All Share||26.7||-18.5||6.4||1.3||22.0|
Source: FE: 31/03/2021
Please be advised that the past is not necessarily a guide to future performance. Investments and the income derived from them can fall as well as rise and the investor may not get back the amount originally invested.