Woodford Patient Capital assets fall 10.8%


Woodford Patient Capital Trust has seen its assets fall to £717.9m in H1 compared to £814.9m a year ago, as the company speaks of a “challenging” first half when small and mid-caps were hit by turbulent markets.

The investment company’s net asset value fell 10.8 per cent over the period.

In the report, Neil Woodford says the majority of the fund’s performance is not the result of fundamental developments, but that he understands “some investors will be disappointed with the performance so far”.

Disappointing drug trial results had hit performance, with a cat allergy vaccine from Circassia producing the same results as a placebo during late stage trials. US biotech company also saw two stage-three drug trials treating depressive disorder failing to meet their endpoint in January, although the company says this did not represent an “outright failure” of the drug.

The investment company’s share price is now trading at a 3.1 per cent discount compared to an 11.4 per cent premium at the same time last year.

Its largest holdings are Prothena at 10.1 per cent, Immunocore at 6 per cent and Oxford Nanopore at 4.7 per cent, which are all biotech companies. Its largest holdings outside this sector were property agent Purplebricks at 3.9 per cent and intellectual property development company Allied Minds at 3.2 per cent.

The half yearly report confirms the company, which holds just 21 per cent in mid and large caps, has been reducing exposure to large liquid positions in order to take advantage of “unjustified share price weaknesses in some of the quoted companies in the portfolio”.

Early stage companies account for 56.2 per cent of the portfolio, while early growth accounts for 31 per cent.

New investments include Norwegian printed electronics business Thin Film Electronics, titanium materials business Metalysis, and venture capital firm Draper Esprit.

The company saw positive performance from Mereo BioPharma, which was listed in early June with shares up 36.4 per cent to the end of the period. Purplebricks also delivered 40.6 per cent over the period following its listing in December.

Although the company is focused on long-term capital growth, its obligations as an investment trust meant it paid out a final dividend of 0.16p per share.