· Net Asset Value Total Return of 14.0%
· Benchmark Total Return of 11.4%
· Total Ordinary dividend increased by 9.5% compared with 2011
· Shares traded at a premium to net asset value per Ordinary share for the whole year
· £99m of new shares issued at a premium during the year
Positive capital gains over the period represented a significant and welcome recovery for global equity markets following last year's negative returns. With Western Central Banks uniformly creating liquidity through expanding sovereign balance sheets, equity prices were well supported. The difficult economic reality and decelerating corporate profit growth induced by austerity and deleveraging had little restraining influence on this wave of positive market sentiment. The total return on net asset value of 14.0% was ahead of the return of the benchmark index of 11.4%, and the share price total return of 19.0% reflected a slight expansion of the premium. The Investment Manager's Review in the Report contains an attribution analysis which shows the factors affecting net asset performance. The key positive influences were a significant overweight position in Asia ex Japan and excellent stock selection in Latin America.
In 2012 Trade Weighted Sterling appreciated by 4.0% thereby reducing the sterling value on translation of revenues arising from our 86% holding of non-UK assets. Nevertheless we were able to continue the trend of increasing the level of dividends paid and three interim dividends of 9.0p were declared (2011: three interims of 8.0p). Your Board is now recommending a final dividend of 13.5p (2011: 13.0p) which, subject to the approval of shareholders at the Annual General Meeting, will be paid on 16 May 2013 to shareholders on the register on 5 April 2013. Subject to the approval of the final dividend, the total Ordinary dividend for the year will amount to 40.5p, an increase of 9.5% from last year (2011: 37.0p). B Ordinary shares will receive their capitalisation issue of B Ordinary shares at the same time as each dividend is paid. Accordingly, subject to approval at the Annual General Meeting, B Ordinary shareholders will be issued on 16 May 2013 with new B Ordinary shares equivalent in Net Asset Value to the recommended final dividend for the year just ended