Aberforth Smaller Companies Trust plc
Audited Final Results for the year to 31 December 2012
The following is an extract from the Company's Annual Report and Accounts for the year to 31 December 2012. The Annual Report is expected to be posted to shareholders on 2 February 2013. Members of the public may obtain copies from Aberforth Partners LLP, 14 Melville Street, Edinburgh EH3 7NS or from its website at www.aberforth.co.uk. A copy will also shortly be available for inspection at the National Storage Mechanism at: www.morningstar.co.uk/uk/NSM facility.
Net Asset Value Total Return +31.9%
Benchmark Index Total Return +29.9%
Ordinary Share Price Total Return +43.9%
Second Interim Dividend increased by 6.6% to 15.25p per Ordinary Share
The objective of Aberforth Smaller Companies Trust plc (ASCoT) is to achieve a net asset value total return (with dividends reinvested) greater than on the Numis Smaller Companies Index (excluding Investment Companies) over the long term. ASCoT is managed by Aberforth Partners LLP.
CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT TO SHAREHOLDERS
Review of 2012 Performance
The history books will record 2012 as an excellent year for UK smaller companies. Larger companies, as represented by the FTSE 100, gave a total return (including reinvested dividends) of 10.0%, while the FTSE All-Share,
which is also heavily weighted towards large companies, gave a return of 12.3%. Meanwhile, the Numis Smaller Companies Index (excluding Investment Companies) (NSCI (XIC)), your Company's benchmark, gave a return of 29.9%.
Over the same period, your Company's net asset value total return was 31.9%,
while the share price return (including reinvested dividends) was 43.9%.
Returns of this magnitude require a health warning. They are unlikely to be matched in 2013.
Importantly for your Company, the year witnessed a stirring in the fortunes of value investing within the NSCI (XIC), your Company's investment universe.
Over the five calendar years from 2007-11 inclusive, value stocks within the NSCI (XIC) underperformed growth stocks by 9.4% p.a.. In 2012, there was a reversal of this trend. The year also saw exceptionally strong relative performance from the FTSE SmallCap Index, which beat the FTSE 250 Index for only the second year out of the last nine. This, too, is important since your Company's portfolio is positioned towards the lower end of the capitalisation range. The Managers' report expands in more detail on these themes and the interconnected influences of style and size.
While 2012 witnessed a "rebranding" of your Company's investment benchmark which is now known as the Numis Smaller Companies Index (excluding Investment Companies), Shareholders should be aware the underlying data series and index methodology remains unaltered. Since your Company's formation in 1990, the NSCI (XIC) has risen by 10.8% p.a. By comparison, your Company's net asset value total return has increased by 13.3% p.a..
In 2012, the dividend experience from investee companies in general, continued to be positive. Your Company's investment objective is total return orientated rather than income orientated. However, as value investors, your Board and the Managers are acutely aware of the importance of the role that income plays in generating long term returns for both UK equities in general and your Company specifically. In this context, your Board is pleased to declare a second interim dividend, in lieu of a final dividend, of 15.25p. This results in total dividends for the year of 22.25p, representing an increase of 7.2% on 2011. Based on the year end share price of 695.5p, your Company's shares deliver a 3.2% yield.