Listen to this article
Ashmore, the emerging markets fund manager, and Kim Jong-Un, the North Korean despot, were probably not reckoning on the election of Donald Trump as US president.
But the former appears to be dealing with the reality a little more calmly. After suffering around $700m (£560m) of net outflows in the last quarter of 2016, as sentiment toward emerging markets soured in the wake of the Donald, Ashmore’s situation has largely recovered.
This morning, it reported that assets under management grew by 7 per cent, or $3.7bn, in the first quarter of this year, thanks to positive investment performance of $2.3bn and net inflows of $1.4bn. Those net inflows were driven by an increase in the level of gross subscriptions, and a reduction in client withdrawals.
Ashmore also reported that emerging markets performed well relative to developed markets, enabling it to post outperformance against benchmarks.
Chief executive Mark Coombs said:
Ashmore delivered the anticipated return to net inflows this quarter, generated from a diverse range of existing and new clients, and the Group’s investment processes are continuing to deliver strong performance over one, three and five years.
Earlier this year, analysts at Numis forecast adjusted pre-tax profit of £197m for the 12 months to June 2017, giving EPS of 22.7p (from £168m and 18.1p in 2016).
Given the rise in geopolitical tensions, one might expect a defence company to be performing well. But at 10 o’clock this morning, long suffering investors in Cobham will meet to approve yet another another rescue rights issue.
They are being offered a steep 41 per cent discount on new shares issued in a £512m fundraising, after five profit warnings from the company in less than two years.
Cobham announced the two for five rights issue at 75p a share one day after it also revealed it was under investigation by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority for the manner in which it handled sensitive information ahead of a previous £500m rights issue in 2016.
David Lockwood, the chief executive appointed in December to turn around the struggling group, said the new funds would help to bring its debt down to sustainable levels, after having come close to breaching bank covenants.
“It is the first step in . . . both reassuring our customers and giving us the flexibility to drive operational improvements,” he said.
Begbies Traynor, the insolvency practitioner, has updated the nation on the British Brexit Boom, and the tremendous boost that UK companies have received from taking back control: levels of ‘significant’ financial distress within key sectors of the UK supply chain have risen by 26 per cent on average over the past year.
This can be attributed to “increased cost pressures from rising inflation in both fuel and food prices”.
It follows news that UK inflation rose to 2.3 per cent in March, its highest level since September 2013, with transport costs being the biggest contributor, increasing 6.6 per cent over the past 12 months.
According to the disloyal and traitorous firm:
With growing uncertainty surrounding the UK’s future trade links with Europe, combined with rising inflation, businesses within Britain’s vital supply chain are starting to feel the pinch.
And, finally, the railways division of PR firm Brunswick has said Russian competition authorities have now approved its acquisition by Amalgam Rail Investments – after an earlier rejection.
It is entirely possible, however, that Brunswick Rail is not in any way connected to the British PR group at all, and is instead a train leasing business providing 25,000 freight railcars to large corporate clients in Russia. But Opening Quote likes to dream…
FT Opening Quote, with commentary by Matthew Vincent, is your early Square Mile briefing. You can sign up for the full newsletter here.