April was a positive month for UK markets, with relatively low volatility in share prices and a generally more optimistic tone.
Worries about higher inflation and rates in early May have since put a dent in sentiment, but more on that next month.
Turnover was low during April. During the upbeat market conditions enjoyed in April, we were largely happy to sit on our hands and let our investments do the work. Our main portfolio activity was adding to our position Bioventix, the manufacturer of antibodies used in medical tests, such as vitamin-D and testosterone. We met with Peter Harrison, CEO and founder of Bioventix, after their results in March and remain optimistic that Bioventix will continue to grow strongly over the long-term.
The last few weeks has seen a raft of Q1 and AGM statements from companies that we are invested in and the tone has been overwhelmingly positive. The Industrial sector is our largest weighting in the Fund and these businesses are currently enjoying strong tailwinds from resurgent Chinese and American manufacturing. To pick just a few examples of encouraging updates from Industrial businesses that we are invested in:
- Somero, the manufacturer of screeds used in levelling concrete floors, upgraded guidance and are now expecting to grow by +19% in 2021 thank to ‘stronger than anticipated trading momentum in the US in the first four months of the year’.
- Diploma, the distributor of specialist products and one of our largest holdings, returned to pre-COVID levels of revenue in Q1 and are expecting to grow +27% in 2021 (admittedly with some help from acquisitions).
- TT Electronic, the provider of electrical kit used in ‘performance critical applications’, grew +7% in the first four months of 2021 and raised guidance due to ‘strong growth across healthcare, automation and electrification markets’.
We are pleased to see that these businesses are bouncing-back strongly after a difficult 2020 and believe that this recovery will persist for a good time to come.