Woodford praises Purplebricks as company comes under fire

Neil Woodford has Purplebricks in the interim report for his Patient Capital trust as the praised real estate agency comes under fire for its sales practices following a BBC investigation.

The interim report shows the share price rising 7 per cent over the period while the NAV rose 8 per cent taking the discount at 30 June to 3.3 per cent compared to an average 5 per cent discount over the period.

Woodford says the largest contribution to returns came from Purplebricks, which trebled in price over the period, and argues he is confident of significant growth for the company in the years ahead.

However, the report comes just days after a BBC Panorama investigation showed the real estate company continued to use claims that the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled as misleading.

The Aim-listed company share price dropped 7 per cent on the news.

A spokesperson for Woodford says the statement in the investment trust’s report reflects his current thinking and has not changed in light of the allegations.

“The management team have successfully executed their ambitious plans to dominate the UK’s nascent online estate agency industry, while at the same time, significantly disrupt the traditional estate agency model,” Woodford says in the report.

Elsewhere among the quoted positions, US biotechnology businesses Theravance Biopharma and Prothena, and UK gene-editing services business Horizon Discovery were among the largest contributors to performance.

Allied Minds was a key detractor from performance alongside 4D Pharma, but Woodford says he continues to back both companies.