The trust returned -0.2% to investors in the year to 30 April 2022, beating its benchmark return of -3.2%, according to the company’s audited results for the year.
North America helped buoy the company’s performance, up 7.8% on the region’s portion of the portfolio.
Its recommended dividend has risen by 5.1% up to 1.84p, its 52nd consecutive annual increase, according to the company.
Smaller businesses responsible for 50% of all greenhouse gas emissions from companies
Investment income was also up, with revenue returns per share up 44.4% over the year.
“Returns from the company’s portfolio were in positive territory for most of the year. However, a late sell-off following the commencement of the conflict in Ukraine and a shift up in expectations for the key US interest rate outlook, meant that the company’s NAV total return over the twelve months was -0.2%,” said chair Anja Balfour.
“The manager’s conservative approach to stock selection, focusing on established, profitable business franchises, paid off in a period where more speculative and loss-making growth stocks have seen a savage de-rating, at least in part due to the increase in longer term interest rate expectations,” she added.
Its share price total return was down 6.4% with the discount widening over the year, from 3.6% to 9.6%. The share price ended the period at 156.2p.
Fund manager Peter Ewins added: “When we look forward, it is fair to say that the outlook for the coming year is clouded by more uncertainties than usual. Understanding individual companies’ ability to deal with cost pressures remains important.
“However, we are heartened by the increased number of smaller companies which look to us to be more attractively valued in the markets.”
Some 17 portfolio holdings were approached for bids or mergers, with nearly three quarters of the holdings being UK.