THE Scottish American Investment Company (Saints) outperformed its benchmark in 2021, and has raised its full-year dividend by 5.6 per cent.
Saints chairman Peter Moon noted the total assets of the investment trust, which is managed by Edinburgh-based Baillie Gifford, exceeded £1 billion by the December 31 year-end as a result of the returns generated and new share issuance. And Saints declared it “remains the best performing fund in its global equity income peer group, in terms of NAV (net asset value) total return, over the past five years”.
The trust achieved a total return on NAV of 21.5% during 2021. Mr Moon noted this was ahead of a total return on global equities of 20% last year. He added that the unweighted average NAV return of Saints’ peer group had been 18.6%.
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Saints is recommending a final dividend of 3.375p a share. This takes the total dividend for 2021 to 12.675p per share, 5.6% higher than the 2020 payout of 12p.
Mr Moon said: “The strong growth in Saints’ revenues over the past year means that the board has been able to grow the dividend faster than inflation compared to the annual rate of inflation of 5.4% (as measured by CPI), and that the dividend is fully covered by current year earnings.”
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Contemplating the outlook, Mr Moon said: “In the world of investment, it is always important to distinguish between the short-term prospects for economies and share prices, and the long-term prospects for companies.
“This is especially the case now, at a time when economic revival has been helping to float almost all boats, but when we are also in an age of change: an age where the world faces considerable challenges, such as inflation and climate change, where supportive monetary policy is likely to be withdrawn, where exchange rates may well fluctuate and where the tectonic plates of geopolitics are shifting, but an age where opportunities abound.”
He added: “We have great confidence in the managers’ approach, and this confidence has been further strengthened by the experiences of the past year.”