The Church House UK Smaller Companies Fund has had a busy period, capitalising on the recent market volatility, and is essentially fully invested.

However, under the bonnet there has been a lot of action, adding to our tech, industrial and healthcare weightings and taking profits on a business in the veterinary industry.

In the financial sector, we added to both Liontrust and Beazley. Liontrust shares have been range-bound since the summer before taking a dip where we added. Despite what we viewed as encouraging results from Beazley, shares are still close to the levels that they fell to in March 2020. We brought the position back up to weight.

We also added to Keywords Studios. This high growth computer games and services business came off with the rest of the tech sell-off. This, paired with their CEO taking a leave of absence for health reasons, brought the stock back into range and we happily added. Since then, Keywords have announced their purchase of the 85% stake in Tantalus Media, the games developer and publisher behind seminal hits Age of Empires, Legend of Zelda and Sonic the Hedgehog. We believe this is a strong purchase as it continues to focus on M&A efforts in games development, in addition to opening up new markets in Australia, where Tantalus are based. This will add further value to the business and that the long-term growth opportunity for Keywords is underestimated. If Sonic the Hedgehog were to be in the office with us, I am sure he would give the acquisition a thumbs up.

To fund these purchases, we sold our position in Animalcare after a short but sweet period in the portfolio. Shares raced up 50% since our purchase in November 2020, on the back of their positive news from the European Union Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use recommending a marketing authorisation for Daxocox for dogs (a treatment for osteoarthritis in dogs). We happily booked profits to add to the names aforementioned. The domestic and companion animal industry is one we like, so we are looking for further opportunities in the sub-sector.   

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