Saturday 23 June 2018 | ShareProphets: The one stop source for breaking news, expert analysis, and podcasts on fast-moving AIM and LSE listed shares
Tom Winnifrith Bearcast: the fraudster's best friend in journalism, Ben Harrington, does his master's bidding again
Transense Technologies – General Meeting approval for new equity… but just how long will the new funds last?
As I’m always quick to criticise, I thought it only right to congratulate Mr Woodford when the rare pieces of good news turn up and Autolus’s news yesterday is undoubtedly good news although I’m still going to make a couple of observations re Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT).
I’ve always thought it odd when investment vehicles merely take stakes in other investment funds as one ends up with duplication of fees. There is usually an investment policy limit on such stakes, not that Mr Woodford appears to be taking the limit at Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) that seriously. Why would he - rules are for the great unwashed aren’t they?
I’ve been meaning to write about the outrageous risk profile assigned to Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) for a while as it is patent nonsense and dangerous. I wonder whether there could be a mis-selling claim waiting to happen here.
The first part of this mini-series highlighted oddities relating to the recent $2 billion valuation of Benevolent AI, Woodford’s largest unquoted holding. To complement that piece, I thought I would undertake a bottom-up analysis to understand whether it could be worth such a sum. All I found was more spoofery. It’s a bit of a long read but surely you’ve got nothing better to do on Bank Holiday Monday!
In my view, Woodford’s dealings with what is now his largest unquoted holding across his funds, Benevolent AI, is his kryptonite and will be his undoing and I’m doing a couple of articles outlining why I think the current $2 billion valuation is an absolute spoof and why I believe Neil Woodford is complicit in said spoofery.
Yesterday afternoon, Neil Woodford released his end-April portfolio updates so thought I’d provide a bit of commentary prior to a couple of headache inducing articles (for Neil) later on in the week. Not a huge amount of change; however, it’s good to see an open-ended fund getting stuck into the use of debt in such a cavalier way!
Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) recently came out with its disappointing 2017 results and thought I’d highlight a few amusing aspects to try to cheer up shareholders here and ask a few serious questions of the Chairman, Susan Searle.
There’s been a lot to comment on relating to Woodford Capital Patient Trust (WPCT) recently but with the March portfolio updates for all of Woodford’s funds finally being published on Monday, I thought I should get my updates out as Woodford appears to have been a bit preoccupied to do so with a minor biotech blip and the like.
Following on from my piece on Sunday in which I suspected that Woodford had covertly changed the Investment Policy for Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT), it was confirmed this morning in its full year results. This is an absolute disgrace and shareholders should get on to their lawyers.
Just as the tide seemed to be turning in favour of a couple of Woodford’s holdings, he suffered an absolute body blow this afternoon with his largest quoted holding, Prothena (NSDQ: PRTA), which comprised 9.12% of WPCT as at end-March, as it announced that it was discontinuing the development of its main drug and the share price collapsed as a result.
Following on from Tom’s excellent presentation at the UK Investor Show yesterday I thought it only right to continue in my questioning of the “star fund manager” especially as it looks to me as if the Investment Policy for Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) has been subtly changed (to the detriment of shareholders of course) but Woodford doesn’t seem to have told anyone!
I’ve been wondering for a while how Neil Woodford was going to deal with the impending crisis at his flagship Equity Income Fund in relation to the hard, unquoted stock limit of 10% and with all his Get Out of Jail cards used up. Filings at Companies House seem to indicate that he was left with one last option – giving his shares back to the company at nominal value!
Thanks for the few entries to the Woodford Easter Quiz. Although a couple of people got the odd one out and for the right reason, as I expected, only one person got it right and named all sixteen companies correctly so well done KayeSeraSera (again). A chocolate gift will be winging its way to you, probably in time for Christmas! Full results below.
It being a major religious festival, I thought it appropriate to serve up another Woodford-related quiz. Simple on the face of it, just tell me which of the sixteen graphs below is the odd one out and why - a full answer is required other than the obvious. A chocolate gift to anyone who can go one better than that and name all sixteen companies. To assist on one of them, the graph is pre-share consolidation earlier this year.
Further to my update piece last week, I’ve managed to take a closer look at the end-February portfolio of Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) and I just can’t make the numbers work. I can only assume that Woodford has breached his investment policy; let me explain.
Almost three years after launch, Woodford has achieved what would have seemed impossible at the launch of Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) back in April 2015 in that he has managed to compile a portfolio of 85 holdings without one obviously profitable company among them. Having sold the star of the portfolio in the month namely A J Bell, to keep the lights on and fund a few other future dogs, he’s now left with a whole array of cash-guzzling, largely illiquid dogs – what’s not to like.
Well it only took until 22 March for the end-February portfolios to be updated for the various Woodford funds but quite a lot to cover so it’s a two-parter this month. I’m going to start by looking at Woodford’s valiant efforts in keeping his flagship fund, the Equity Income Fund, afloat. It’s not an easy task dealing with continual redemptions and he has had to ditch an old favourite to do so.
I do hope that the FCA and the "Independent" directors at Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) look into this matter with some urgency as we appear to have evidence today, thanks to Oxford Nanopore, that Neil Woodford funds have been stating their NAV in an unnacceptably aggressive manner. And that is the most generous spin on what has gone on.
Thanks for all the entries – I’m pleased to be able to say “entries” this time - to my Woodford Cheltenham Festival (HERE). I’m calling it a day early as the result is clear. Read on for the winner and the choice of Cheltenham runners on which I am placing the winner’s free bet.
I do try to be balanced from time to time and despite all his troubles, there’s been a few green shoots for Neil Woodford in relation to Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) in recent weeks, most notably with a substantial round at Atom Bank…….although much more funding is still required.
As Neil Woodford is such a believer in transparency, he has pulled his monthly updates altogether so these monthly updates now take on a greater importance to provide much needed information to the long-suffering investors in the three funds. Can’t imagine why Woodford stopped them?
Loyal readers will know that I, like Mr Woodford, love a quiz and with my favourite week of the year fast approaching, I thought I’d run a (simpler) quiz with a Cheltenham-related prize. There’s only two questions, so I’m hoping for more than one entrant this time!
I would urge anyone interested in these Woodford stock stories to read the sister Norwegian piece relating to Thin Film Electronics first as the similarities are astounding but it is worth covering Idex in its full glory. Yet another horror show.
UPDATED: Over the weekend I revealed a potential nuclear landmine that could well blow up the Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT).The bad news for the asleep at the wheel nmot so independent NEDS at the Trust is that I have found two more landmines which have been averted but are there more?
At 31 December 2017, Ombu Group represented c2.02% of the Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) portfolio being two separate investments of 2.01 % + 0.01%. The principal activity of Ombu Group, according to its accounts, is providing capital and management support to fast growing companies in the fields of industrial technology, energy technology and water technology.
After much digging and talking to those in the know I have managed to piece together how Neil Woodford and his team assess potential investments and have actually managed to access a transcript of a recent investment meeting that makes very “interesting” reading!
CityAM announced earlier this week that Woodford’s Equity Income Fund had lost a billion quid in funds since the start of the year down to £7.2 billion. This has huge consequences for all his funds and I’m not sure he has enough arms to suppress all the troublesome blind burrowing mammals raising their heads above ground. For the avoidance of doubt, I am referring to metaphorical moles at this point rather than Woodford’s investment diligence team. Let me explain.
You will have read our detailed coverage of Neil Woodford's woes and especially those of his uber dog listed investment company Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT). Our sell advice has saved our readers thousands of pounds. But we believe in balance and so below is the advice of The Times Tempus column which is to buy. It is poorly researched - compare its coverage of Atom Bank with ours HERE) for instance and reads as if it was dictated by a PR person as is so often the case with the stinking carcass that is the deadwood press. Here goes...
One wonders what Neil Woodford has been doing in the face of Cynical Bear’s onslaught against his funds. Reading Cynical’s pieces, it is clear that the Woodford house was edging ever closer to disaster. Now it seems that the effluent is indeed in collision with the air conditioning: we’ve had disasters at Purplebricks (PURP) and Capita (CPI), and there’s a stockmarket correction (at least we hope that’s all it is) underway. Oh, and we have numbers from the AA on Thursday – hardly the ideal time to take a hatchet to its dividend! So what has Mr Woodford been up to? Well, why change a winning formula!
I’m not normally one for emotive comment but my “Big Short” thesis at Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) is playing out almost exactly as I anticipated, albeit more quickly than I imagined, and it is an absolute scandal, make no mistake. All shareholders should be seeking redress and recompense immediately. Let me explain.
As we await today's NAV from, deep in the merde, Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) as well as possible confirmation its unquoted holdings have surged through the 80% limit as well as potentially news on how close hitis to breaching the bank limit of 20% gearing, it is worth reminding ourselves of one reason why it is in this mess - its high risk approach to leverage.
As predicted here at the weekend Nasdaq listed Irish biotech Prothena (US:PRTA) is suffering a bloodbath today following the shock after hours resignation of its CMO on Friday. Shares in Purplebricks (PURP) are also crashing and that leaves the Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) in serious trouble - has it breached its banking limits yet?
Pointed in its direction by Robert Dwek in the comments on my last Woodford piece, I thought I would write an article on the hugely capital intensive Woodford portfolio holding, Atom Bank, a start-up bank. A bit of a long read but I found it quite intellectually interesting looking at the challenges facing a start-up bank and it also throws up one of the first major funding issues for Woodford caused by the predicament he has recently got himself into.
Thought I may as well stick to a theme today and look at another Woodford investment which, surprise, surprise, undertook a placing on Friday, Dublin-listed, Malin Corp. This is yet another fund that invests in the same sort of early-stage biotech plays as Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT). I will touch on why it looks overvalued to me and leave you with a piece of analysis to highlight the odd incestuous world of these biotech investors not that I’m making any accusations of course.
Hapless Neil Woodford has poured out his heart to the poodle press, Citywire, bleating about how wicked bears Kerrisdale have been beastly about one of the largest - and most obviously overvalued - of the pack of dog investments in his Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT). The bears have bitten back!
I don’t apologise for banging this drum a bit more in the context of Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) as the transactions relating to Benevolent AI just look so wrong and WPCT shareholders should be fuming and raising hell. I also have a few more facts to share and two additional interesting pieces of information – one new, one old.
As I anticipated in my RM2 International (RM2) piece yesterday, the December monthly updates finally came out yesterday afternoon and I thought it appropriate to provide monthly updates on The Big Short in conjunction with those each month so here goes. Quick summary: it’s not getting any easier for Woodford.
I love Warren Buffett’s quote that you only find out who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out and after Woodford’s annus horribilis in 2017, it certainly seems to be easier and easier to find examples of his commando-style investing (thanks also to the pointer from ‘alcira16247’). Next witness for the prosecution, M’Lud, is Industrial Heat, a business that is trying to invent a “cold fusion” machine, an area of physics that most sane scientists appear to think is something out of a science-fiction novel. Not Woodford though.
I wouldn’t normally cover stocks listed on the Oslo exchange but Thin Film Electronics was mentioned in the comments of a recent Woodford piece and I also noted it was the Share Punt of the Week in the Daily Mail on Friday, so if it is good enough for them to recommend a Woodford-backed cash guzzler to its brain dead readers, it is appropriate for me to provide another side to that story, especially as the cash burn here is off the scale.
I’ve been smiling this week at the comments on Woodford’s website as the moderators are desperately sticking to the party line regardless of what is happening in reality or what Woodford himself is briefing to investors privately. Let me explain in the context of his Income Focus Fund.
I gather that Neil Woodford's office has been busy dealing with questions relating to our most excellent series of articles and podcasts over Christmas. I have been made aware of its responses which are detailed but still leave me feeling incredibly unsettled on two major factors.
I alluded to the swapping of the Benevolent AI stock between the two Woodford funds in my early chapters of The Big Short looking at Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) but there are so many odd aspects to the saga going back a few years that it merits an Appendix to itself as it raises a number of serious additional questions for the Board in my view.
I made reference in my concluding part of “The Big Short” on Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) about a potential Appendix or two to deal with some of the detail, so here’s the first providing more information on the WPCT Board Directors which, as Tom has pointed out during his Christmas Eve Bearcast, are not particularly independent at all and there is a significant conflict of interest issue.
Well, it didn’t get quite the response I was hoping for but it did get one excellent response from Kayserasera who was pretty much spot on with his answers and wins the charity donation and bubbles – congrats! The answers are below.
I’m going to draw together my analysis on Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) in one piece now so that if you’ve actually been enjoying Christmas rather than reading Shareprophets, you can start here and work backwards. I will also add a few words of caution that I picked up from the book “The Big Short” itself.
Er….hi, just me again! This Chapter of “The Big Short” looking at Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) wasn’t in the original draft manuscript sent to my editor but as something truly astounding was pointed out to me in the comments of my piece yesterday, I thought I’d better add to the opus. Hat tip to Robert Dwek for spotting it.
Having looked at the unquoted risk and the level of debt and connected liquidity issues within the Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT), it is time to look at the tricky topic of valuation policy as it looks to me as if Woodford is taking a particularly aggressive approach, albeit a flexible one, to the valuation of the unquoted stocks (almost all the fund!) that casts further doubts on the underlying NAV.
Continuing my festive series on The Big Short, Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT), having highlighted yesterday the huge unquoted risk within the portfolio and having to clean up after its big brother, the Equity Income Fund, I wanted to turn next to concerns I have over its debt levels which leads on to liquidity issues.
I started my festive series on The Big Short, namely Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) earlier by providing some wider context about some of the challenges Woodford faces particularly with his flagship fund, the Equity Income Fund, but let’s get into the details of WPCT itself. I’ll start with the ever increasing size of its unquoted portfolio and what appears to me to be a massive conflict of interest.
My Christmas Quiz may have been too clever by half (one entry so far at the time of writing!) but I found it helpful in any event as the research I undertook made me realise that there is massive short potential across the biotech echo chamber participants with Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) being the best example for a couple of specific reasons. Accordingly, I’m doing a few pieces over the festive period outlining my analysis and raising some serious questions along the way for Woodford to answer. To start though one must provide some wider Woodford context particularly in relation to his flagship fund – the Equity Income Fund.
First things first, I recommend that you should all have a go at the proper Woodford Christmas Quiz because, regardless of his investment performance this year, he can pen a good quiz (and there’s prizes too). Once you’ve done that have a crack at my alternative version celebrating his investment year.
US bear raider Kerrisdale has launched a savage attack on the largest holding in the Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) the closed end fund managed by Nomates. The nature of the WPCT means that if Kerrisdale is even half right, Nomates is in big trouble.
If you want me to analyse a stock for you just drop me a line at [email protected] - Today I look at Real Good Food (RGD), Tungsten Corporation (TUNG), Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT).
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