• by  • January 10, 2014 • Crystal Amber


    (“Crystal Amber Fund” or the “Fund”) Monthly Net Asset Value

    Crystal Amber Fund announces that its unaudited net asset value (“NAV”) per share on 31 December 2013 was 156.14p (30 November: 156.02 pper share).

    The proportion of the Fund’s NAV at 31 December 2013 represented by the ten largest holdings, other investments and cash (including accruals), was as follows:


    Top ten holdings                Pence per share   Percentage of investee equity  held
    Sutton Harbour Holdings plc                                            10 28.80%
    Thorntons plc                                                         9.6 8.20%
    TT Electronics plc                                                      9.5 2.30%
    Tribal Group plc                                                       9.2 4.50%
    Norcros plc                                                             9 5.10%
    API Group plc                                                         8.5 11.60%
    4imprint Group plc                                                    8 3.40%
    Leaf Clean Energy Company                                             7.9 10.00%
    Devro plc                                                                6.5 1.10%
    Smiths News plc                                                         6.1 1.10%
    Total of ten largest holdings                                               84.3
    Other investments                                                         48.3
    Cash and accruals                                                           23.5
    Total NAV                           156.1


    Investment Adviser’s quarterly commentary on the portfolio

    Over the quarter to 31 December 2013, NAV per share increased by 5.4 per cent.

    Over the 2013 calendar year, NAV per share rose by 30.0 per cent or 30.4 per cent including the dividend paid in August. The Fund’s average cash position over the calendar year has been 16.3 per cent, implying a return on the investment portfolio of 36.4 per cent.

    The top three positive contributors to NAV growth over the quarter to the end of December were Plus500 Limited (1.9 per cent contribution), Thorntons plc (1.7 per cent) and 4imprint Group plc (1 per cent). The three main detractors have been Tribal Group plc (-1 per cent), Devro plc (-0.6 per cent) and Hansard Global plc (-0.3 per cent). Over the 2013 calendar year, the key drivers of positive performance have been Norcros plc (5.6 per cent), Tribal Group plc (4.9 per cent) and Thorntons plc (4.4 per cent) and on the negative side Sutton Harbour Holdings plc (-1 per cent), Renishaw (-0.8 per cent), and API Group plc (-0.6 per cent).

    Over the quarter to 31 December 2013, the Fund disclosed notifiable holdings in Leaf Clean Energy Company, NBNK Investments plc and STV Group plc. During the quarter, the Fund increased its holding in Thorntons plc and is currently its largest shareholder. Following strong share price rises, the Fund has banked some profits on its holdings in Norcros plc, Plus 500 Limited and Smiths News plc, with all those stocks delivering returns in excess of 100 per cent.

    API Group plc (“API”)

    In December 2013, API resumed dividend payments. Following significant investment in the business, management actions are starting to deliver improvements and underpin growth. We remain supportive of this strategy which we believe will help to build a stronger company in the medium term. In its recent engagement with API, the Fund has expressed its views about the board’s composition and how it might support management most effectively, and we look forward to discussing this further with the board.

    Leaf Clean Energy Company (“Leaf”)

    During the quarter to 31 December 2013, the Fund acquired a 10 per cent shareholding in Leaf, the renewable energy investment group, from two institutional investors in exchange for shares in Crystal Amber Fund.

    Leaf listed in London in June 2007 at 100p a share, raising $399 million. Six

    years later, net assets are $185 million. The shares currently trade on a

    discount of 56 per cent to latest audited net asset value. We believe this

    reflects not only the very poor investment track record but also the scale of annual running costs, of $5.2 million per annum.

    We have written to the Chairman of Leaf urging that the cost base be realigned rather than maintained in anticipation of new investments appearing. We also believe that the company needs to provide greater visibility of realisable values within the portfolio. The Fund is ready to adopt a more intense activist strategy if necessary.

    STV Group plc (“STV”)

    The Fund disclosed a stake in STV, the Scottish television and digital media

    group, as it increased its position following the placing of ITV’s shares.

    The Fund has been a holder since March 2013 at an average cost of 180p a share.

    STV is a national channel ideally placed to benefit from an improving

    environment for advertising, content distribution and production.

    Cash resources

    Over the quarter, cash resources decreased from 34.2p per share to 23.5p as the

    Fund has built positions with strong activist potential. Last summer’s fund

    raise has allowed the Fund to make these investments without disposing of

    positions where the Fund sees further upside.