Home Private Equity abrdn Private Equity Opportunities chair granted tenure extension to oversee Patria merger

abrdn Private Equity Opportunities chair granted tenure extension to oversee Patria merger

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In the trust’s financial results for year to 30 September 2023, the board said that although the trust’s usual procedure is for a chair to step down after nine years, Devine has been asked to remain for an additional period to “oversee the transition of the Patria transaction and support the manager as it embeds into Patria”.

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In October 2023, abrdn sold its PE business for £100m to Patria Investments, following a “strategic review” of its alternatives wing.

The APEO trust team is set to remain “unchanged” following the buyout, which Devine reiterated in the trust’s results, having “received assurances” from both abrdn and Patria in the weeks before the deal was announced.

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The nine-year tenure policy was established to ensure the independence of directors in “normal circumstances”, however, the board “takes the view that independence of individual directors is not necessarily compromised by length of tenure on the board and that continuity and experience can add significantly to the board’s strength.

The board added that Devine remaining in the role was in the “best interests of the shareholders as a whole” while it goes through this transition, but added it was still “actively considering chair succession”.

Financial results 

While APEO’s net assets increased year-on-year, its NAV total return slowed to 5.4%, down from 14.1%. However, the trust’s share price return saw a marked recovery, reversing the previous year’s 15.1% loss to post a 11.7% growth in share price to 30 September 2023.

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APEO initiated seven new primary investments, one diversified secondary investment, three new direct investments and two follow-on investments over the 12 months.

Last week (25 January), the trust revealed it was embarking on a share buyback programme, which would be funded by using a portion of the €34.6m of proceeds realised from the most recent sale of APEO’s direct co-investment in Action.

In today’s result, Devine explained that while the board did not have a stated discount management policy, the discount was “closely monitored on a regular basis” and in recent years it prioritised paying out its dividend versus a share buyback.

Devine argued the share buyback would hopefully address the value “disconnect” in the trust, which currently trades on a 35.2% discount, according to data from the Association of Investment Companies.

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