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F&C Asset Management plc : Foreign and Colonial Investment Trust plans 43rd consecutive annual increase to dividend

03/08/2013 | 10:54am US/Eastern
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4 March 2013 Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust plans 43rd consecutive annual increase to dividend

? The Company's dividend has more than doubled in each of the last four decades

In its annual results today, Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust ('the Company') announced plans to increase its dividend for the forty-third consecutive year, and reported an increase in its net asset value per share and its share price.
Net asset value per share rose 10.8% over the period, to 357.60 pence, and the share price rose
11.1% to 320.50 pence. The net asset value total return was 13.3%, compared with a return of 12.1% for the benchmark (40% FTSE All Share and 60% FTSE WI World ex UK Indices), continuing the Company's record of long term growth, while delivering lower volatility than the index benchmark.
The Company's dividend has more than doubled in each of the last four decades. The total dividend for 2012 will be 8.50 pence, an increase of 19.7%. The net revenue return per share rose 4.2% in
2012 and exceeded the previous peak in 2008. A move to quarterly dividend payments was introduced in February 2013. Shareholders received an interim dividend of 4.00 pence in September
2012 and the first quarterly dividend of 2.00 pence on 1 February 2013. Subject to shareholder
approval, a final dividend of 2.50 pence will be paid on 1 May 2013.
For 2013, the Company plans to pay a total dividend of 9.00 pence, which would be a rise of 5.9% and the forty-third consecutive annual dividend increase. The quarterly dividends of 2.10 pence would be paid in August 2013, November 2013 and February 2014, and subject to shareholder approval, a final dividend of 2.70 pence would be paid in May 2014.
The Chairman, Simon Fraser, commented:
"There are two distinct strands to our strategy over the next five years. The first is to continue to increase our dividend faster than the rate of inflation and to achieve capital growth. The second is to make our portfolio even more global in order to exploit the investment opportunities that will arise in different markets at different times. So far this year we have made some portfolio changes to increase our exposure to international markets and diversify our income, and we have adopted a new global benchmark of the FTSE All World Index to measure our performance. Cash realisations from our private equity portfolio will strengthen our dividend paying ability and we will have a significant reduction in interest costs at the end of next year when our expensive debenture matures."
The biggest positive influences on the Company's performance in the year were strong stock selection overseas and the relatively high level of gearing in rising markets. The private equity portfolio generated far more cash over the period than in 2011, but did not rise as much as public markets.
Jeremy Tigue, Fund Manager of Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust, said:
"Despite slower than expected economic growth, political uncertainty in many countries and sluggish earnings growth from many companies, all major stock markets rose over the year. Central banks continued to find new ways of injecting money into the financial system and none of the potential disasters investors were worried about occurred by the end of the year. However, most of these problems are still no closer to a solution, yet share prices have risen and investor sentiment is more optimistic."
Gearing fell from 15.8%, at the end of 2011, to 12% at 31 January 2013, reflecting a more cautious outlook.

Highlights of the Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust annual results, to 31 December 2012 include:

- Net asset value per share up 10.8% to 357.60 pence
- Share price up 11.1% to 320.50 pence
- Net asset value per share total return 13.3%, ahead of the benchmark
- Annual dividend per share up 19.7% to 8.50 pence
- The Company's dividend to increase for 43 years in a row
- Gearing fell from 15.8%, at the end of 2011, to 12% at 31 January 2013

About Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust:

- Founded in 1868 - the first ever investment trust
- Its aim is to generate long-term growth and income by investing primarily in an international portfolio of listed equities
- A highly diversified and cautiously managed trust, with exposure to around 600 individual companies from around the world
The full results statement is attached. For more information, please call the F&C press office on 020
7269 9383, or email fandc.sc@fticonsulting.com.
- ends -

Notes to Editors About the F&C group

F&C Asset Management plc ("F&C" or "the Group") is a diversified investment manager which traces its origins to the launch of the Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust in 1868. While many asset managers are owned by financial services conglomerates, such as banks or insurance companies, F&C is an independent business, listed on the London Stock Exchange and a constituent of the FTSE
250 Index. F&C is focused exclusively on managing money for its clients. Today the Group operates from offices in nine countries and manages £96.8billion of assets (at 30/09/12) for a combination of insurance clients, institutional investors, intermediaries and private individuals which collectively represent in excess of 3 million underlying savers. F&C invests across all major asset classes - equities, fixed income and property - and has specialist expertise in asset allocation, alternative investments, liability driven investments, multi-manager, private equity funds and ESG Investing. The Group includes F&C REIT, a global real estate asset manager.
This information is issued by F&C Management Ltd authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. The information does not constitute an offer to enter into any contract or agreement nor is it a solicitation to buy or sell any investment. The value of shares can go down as well as up and investors may not get back the original amount invested. The information is based on sources believed to be reliable but no guarantee, warranty or representation is given as to its accuracy or completeness and F&C Management Ltd accepts no liability in respect of the information or any views expressed herein which may be subject to change without notice at any time. All data is sourced from F&C Management Ltd unless otherwise stated.
Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

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