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Pacific Assets Trust reports NAV total return of 56.8 per cent


F&C Assets Management’s Pacific Assets Trust had a net asset value total return of 56.8 per cent for the year ended 31 January 2010.

This compares with the MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan Index return of 54.2 per cent.
The share price increased by 52.7 per cent during the year to 104.25p. At 31 January 2010 this represented a discount of 8.8 per cent to the net asset value per share, compared to a discount of 8.0 per cent as at 31 January 2009.

The final dividend for the year is unchanged at 1.29p per share.
David Nichol, chairman, says: “After a nervous start to the year, stockmarkets in the Asia Pacific region rebounded strongly finishing the year with some of the best total returns in the world. Following the coordinated implementation of stimulus policies by the world’s major governments and central banks in response to the global financial crisis of 2008, liquidity conditions and macroeconomic data began to improve, and investor sentiment recovered.  
“With a robust financial sector and faster economic growth prospects, Asia performed well. Aggressive Chinese fiscal programmes were matched almost universally across the region leading to a marked revival in domestic economic activity. However, the path of economic recovery was not smooth, and at times extremely fragile, exacerbated by the on-going process of de-leveraging so desperately required in the western world. This made for a challenging investment environment.” 
As a result of the manager’s continuing cautious view of markets, the company did not employ any of its borrowing facilities during the year.

The company has a flexible US dollar denominated facility which has been renewed since the end of the financial year and will provide it with the ability to put gearing in place when it is considered appropriate to do so.
The company’s revenue earnings per share for the year were 1.15p, which compares to 1.78p for the previous year.

Investment income for the year was lower as companies in general reduced the levels of their distributions in light of reduced profitability and deteriorating economic conditions. However, Nichol says there are now signs that corporate earnings are improving and this should lead to a recommencement of dividend increases.

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