During May, the Columbus European Mid Cap Equity Fund rose by 4.01%, ahead of the STOXX 600 index which returned 2.14%. Over the past six months the Fund has risen by 13.6%, and by 33.7% over the past 12 months. Since inception in June 2008, Columbus’ return has been 149.8%, comfortably exceeding the European equity index.
Europe was the best performing of the major equity indices over the month, buoyed by the rising rate of vaccinations taking place across the region. Within the major European countries the run rate of close to 1% of the population receiving a jab each day has boosted sentiment regarding the potential speed of the economic recovery. This improving confidence was reflected in the Purchasing Managers Index for the services sector which far exceeded forecasts by rising to 55.1.
Although some form of travel restrictions remain in place across much of the continent there is a rising hope that tourism activity will rebound as the summer progresses. Concerns about the spread of newer variants of the covid virus did lead to some profit taking in the travel and leisure sectors, but this was more than offset within the fund by the very strong industrial recovery evident across much of Europe. This data drove up the prices of a number of our industrial holdings including Interpump,(+5.3% in May) the Italian high pressure pumps manufacturer and Senior,(+32% in May) the UK listed engineering group which soared after receiving a takeover proposal from Lone Star Funds. Senior’s board unanimously rejected the offer as it “fundamentally undervalued Senior and its future prospects”. We agree with the company.
The largest individual contribution, however, came from Bodycote (+12%, UK heat treatment) which also benefitted from an upbeat trading statement late in the month. The company is seeing improvement in revenue trends across most of their key markets and
benefiting from the restructuring achieved over the past year. The most significant detractor was Zooplus, the German online pet product retailer. There was no notably negative news for the company but it gave back some of its strong performance since the beginning
of the year.
We thank you for your trust and wish the best to you and your families during these uncertain times.
Since June 14, 2018 both domestic and foreign investors have been able to access the Columbus strategy via the master-feeder structure between the Columbus 75 Sicav in Spain (feeder) and the Luxembourg registered Pareturn GVC Gaesco Columbus European Midcap Equity Fund (master). The Luxembourg vehicle offers both institutional and retail share classes.