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About this investment trust

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

The Company aims to provide capital growth, primarily through investment in a focused portfolio constructed from a combination of the securities of large, mid and small capitalisation European companies, together with some investment in the developing markets of Europe.

Why choose it?

Europe is a rich source of innovation and dynamic capitalism. Active management can uncover its most exciting companies. The Trust invests in global brand leaders, plus smaller companies focused on niche, high growth areas. The Trust looks for high quality, well-capitalised companies with strong management teams that can create real value for shareholders over time. 

Suited to…

This Trust is designed for investors looking to invest in a selection of Europe’s highest quality, fastest-growing companies, irrespective of their size and geography. They must be willing to take on some additional risk to grow their capital over the long term.

Image of Citywire award logoImage of Icya Winner Europe logoImage of Kepler Growth rating logo

Citywire: As at 16 November 2021.
Investment Week: As at 18 November 2021.
Kepler Rating: As at 1 January 2022.

What are the risks?

  • Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.
  • Overseas investment will be affected by movements in currency exchange rates.
  • Emerging market investments are usually associated with higher investment risk than developed market investments. Therefore the value of these investments may be unpredictable and subject to greater variation.
  • Investment strategies, such as borrowing, used by the Trust can result in even larger losses suffered when the value of the underlying investments fall.
  • The Trust’s investments may have low liquidity which often causes the value of these investments to be less predictable. In extreme cases, the Trust may not be able to realise the investment at the latest market price or at a price considered fair.

Useful information

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

Fees & Charges

Annual Expenses as at Date: 31/08/2023

Ongoing Charge: 0.98% 

Management Fee Summary: BlackRock receives an annual management fee of 0.85% per annum of the Company’s net asset value on assets up to £350 million and 0.75% per annum of net asset value on assets thereafter.

  • ISIN: GB00B01RDH75

    Sedol: B01RDH7

    Bloomberg: BRGE LN

    Reuters: BRGE.L

    LSE code: BRGE

  • Name of Company: BlackRock Fund Managers Limited

    Telephone: 020 7743 3000

    Email: cosec@blackrock.com

    Website: www.blackrock.com/uk

    Correspondence Address: Investor Services,

    BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Limited,

    12 Throgmorton Avenue,

    London

    EC2N 2DL

    Name of Registrar: Computershare PLC

    Registered Office: 12 Throgmorton Avenue,

    London

    EC2N 2DL

    Registrar Telephone: +44 (0)370 707 1163

    Place of Registration: England

    Registered Number: 5142459

  • Year End: 31 August

    Results Announced: April (half yearly), October (final)

    AGM: November/December

    Dividends Paid: May (interim), December (annual)

Latest company announcements

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

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To receive email alert notifications once an update to the Trust occurs, please sign up and select the updates you would like to receive via The Association of Investment Companies website here.

The Board’s approach to ESG

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

The Board believes that responsible investment and sustainability are integral to the longer-term delivery of the Company’s success. The Board works closely with the Investment Manager to regularly review the Company’s performance, investment strategy and underlying policies to ensure that the Company’s investment objective continues to be met in an effective, responsible and sustainable way in the interests of shareholders and future investors.

Sustainable investing: BlackRock’s approach

Sustainability is BlackRock’s standard for investing, based on the investment conviction that integrating sustainability can help investors build more resilient portfolios and achieve better long term, risk-adjusted returns. BlackRock believes that climate change is a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects and that it will have a significant and lasting impact on economic growth and prosperity. BlackRock believes that climate risk equates to investment risk and this will drive a profound reassessment of risk and asset values as investors seek to react to the impact of climate policy changes. This in turn is likely to drive a significant reallocation of capital away from traditional carbon intensive industries over the next decade.

ESG: integration into BlackRock’s investment management process

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing is often used interchangeably with the term “sustainable investing.” BlackRock has identified sustainable investing as being the overall framework and ESG as a data toolkit for identifying and informing our solutions. BlackRock has defined ESG Integration as the practice of incorporating material ESG information and consideration of sustainability risks into investment decisions in order to enhance risk-adjusted returns. BlackRock recognises the relevance of material ESG information across all asset classes and styles of portfolio management. ESG information and sustainability risks are included as a consideration in investment research, portfolio construction, portfolio review and investment stewardship processes. The Investment Manager considers ESG insights and data, including sustainability risks, within the total set of information in its research process and makes a determination as to the materiality of such information in its investment process. ESG insights are not the sole consideration when making investment decisions. The Investment Manager’s evaluation of ESG data may be subjective and could change over time in light of emerging sustainability risks or changing market conditions. This approach is consistent with the Investment Manager’s regulatory duty to manage the Company in accordance with its investment objective and policy and in the best interests of the Company’s investors. The Investment Manager’s Risk and Quantitative Analysis group will review portfolios to ensure that sustainability risks are considered regularly alongside traditional financial risks, that investment decisions are taken in light of relevant sustainability risks and that decisions exposing portfolios to sustainability risks are deliberate, and the risks diversified and scaled according to the investment objectives of the Company.

BlackRock’s approach to ESG integration is to broaden the total amount of information the Investment Manager considers with the aim of improving investment analysis and understanding the likely impact of sustainability risks on the Company’s investments. The Investment Manager assesses a variety of economic and financial indicators, which may include ESG data and insights, to make investment decisions appropriate for the Company objectives. This can include relevant third-party insights or data, internal research or engagement commentary and input from BlackRock Investment Stewardship.

ESG integration does not change the Company’s investment objective or constrain the Investment Manager’s investable universe and does not mean that an ESG investment strategy or exclusionary screens has been or will be adopted by the Company. Similarly, ESG integration does not determine the extent to which the Company may be impacted by sustainability risks.

Investment stewardship

BlackRock undertakes investment stewardship engagements and proxy voting with the goal of protecting and enhancing the long-term value of clients’ investments for relevant asset classes. In our experience, sustainable financial performance and value creation are enhanced by sound governance practices, including risk management oversight, board accountability and compliance with regulations. We focus on board composition, effectiveness and accountability as a top priority. In our experience, high standards of corporate governance are the foundations of board leadership and oversight. We engage to better understand how boards assess their effectiveness and performance, as well as their position on director responsibilities and commitments, turnover and succession planning, crisis management and diversity. For further details regarding BlackRock’s work on investment stewardship please refer to the website here.

Fund manager commentary

30 November 2023

Comments from the portfolio managers

Please note that the commentary below includes historic information in respect of performance data in respect of portfolio investments, index performance data and the Company’s NAV performance.

The figures shown relate to past performance. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of current or future results.

During the month, the Company’s NAV rose by 11.1% and the share price was up by 12.5%. For reference, the FTSE World Europe ex UK Index returned 6.3% during the period.

November was an incredibly strong month for European ex UK markets. Economic data released in November showed a continued fall in inflation: Eurozone inflation dropped sharply to 2.4% from 2.9% in the previous month, which was the lowest annual inflation number since July 2021. Lower energy, food and services prices were the main drivers behind the improving inflation numbers. This led investors to gain confidence that central banks have likely reached the peak of their tightening cycles without causing significant damage to the economy. Hence, markets rallied from oversold levels after having lost ground from August to October.

The market was led by bond proxies such as real estate and risk assets including IT, industrials, financials and consumer discretionary. Energy, health care and consumer staples were the weakest performers in the market.

The Company outperformed its reference index during the month, driven by both positive sector allocation and stock selection. In sector terms, the portfolio’s overweight allocation to IT and industrials aided returns. A lower weight to commodities including energy and materials was also positive for relative returns. Our zero exposure to real estate detracted during the month.

Semiconductor names BESI, STMicroelectronics and ASML rallied through the month. Despite limited stock specific news, shares performed well given improving smartphone demand data and a better environment for risk assets in general. An update from American Nvidia also showed continued strong demand, particularly in data centre end markets.

Speciality chemical distributor IMCD was amongst the top contributors. The company guided to an improvement in end markets and IMCD specifically noted that they expected to see an increase in volumes in Q4 versus Q3.

Shares in Partners Group performed strongly over the month, benefiting from an improved rate environment and outlook for fundraising activity. We have spoken to the company’s CEO over the month, with management noting funding more readily available and an optimistic outlook for deal making.

Royal Unibrew was the worst performer during the period. The company reported weak Q3 results, with sales declining -1% versus expectations of 8% growth. This was driven by much weaker volumes than anticipated, which the company attributed to weather and price increases in Northern Europe in particular. The company also marginally lowered guidance for the rest of the year in part due to a lower contribution from the recently acquired Vrumona (soft drinks manufacturing) business, bringing the reliability of the management team’s execution into question. We are monitoring the developments closely as part of a reassessment of our investment thesis.

DSV also continued to underperform following the news of a CEO transition and the announcement of a logistics joint venture with Saudi's NEOM city project, as we discussed in last month’s report. We would however note that management have done a decent job explaining the potential of the project and the protection mechanisms DSV have.

Outlook

The noise around market moves seems to increase with every passing year. We make no attempt to predict to the basis point next quarters’ GDP, inflation, or unemployment number. Nor do we pay much heed to top-down indicators or what they may reveal about the health of the global economy. From our point of view, the world finds itself currently in the midst of several transitions: Covid to post Covid, inflation to disinflation, low interest rates to high interest rates.

These dynamics must be considered when assessing the health of the global economy and the prospects for equity markets. Various end markets may continue to imply weak demand as inventories are run down, while others – perhaps those associated with Chinese real estate – may have more prolonged problems.

However, assessing the economy from the bottom-up, company by company, we see no reason for investors with a reasonable time horizon to be alarmed. Corporate balance sheets are strong after 15 years of deleveraging, margins remain at healthy levels and we may be at the foothills of an increase in capex spending resulting in a ‘modern era industrial revolution’. Similarly, household debt relative to assets is low in large economies, interest rate sensitivity is lower than in previous cycles and real wages are growing.

As investors we must be forward looking, we must anticipate areas of enduring demand and identify those special companies whose characteristics enable them to capitalise on this demand and, in doing so, benefit their stakeholders and shareholders. We remain optimistic about the prospects of companies held in our portfolio.

29 December 2023

Latest information is available by typing www.blackrock.com/uk/brge on the internet, "BLRKINDEX" on Reuters, "BLRK" on Bloomberg or "8800" on Topic 3 (ICV terminal). Neither the contents of the Manager’s website nor the contents of any website accessible from hyperlinks on the Manager’s website (or any other website) is incorporated into, or forms part of, this announcement.

Unless otherwise stated all data is sourced from BlackRock as of 30 November 2023.

Any opinions or forecasts represent an assessment of the market environment at a specific time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results.

This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research, investment advice or a recommendation.

Risk: Reference to the names of each company in this communication is merely for explaining the investment strategy, and should not be construed as investment advice or investment recommendation of those companies.

Portfolio manager biography

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

Stefan Gries is co-manager of BlackRock Greater Europe Investment Trust plc. He is head of the European Equity team within the Fundamental Equity division of BlackRock’s Portfolio Management Group. He is co-manager on the European Absolute return (long/short) portfolios, as well as on Pan European and Europe ex UK long-only portfolios. Prior to joining BlackRock in 2008, Stefan spent two years at Scottish Widows Investment Partnership where he completed a two-year graduate programme. Since joining BlackRock, he has worked both as a portfolio manager and as an analyst covering, at various times, energy, pharmaceuticals and insurance on behalf of the European Equity team. He earned an MA in economics and Spanish from the University of St. Andrews in 2005.

Alexandra Dangoor is co-manager of BlackRock Greater Europe Investment Trust plc. Alexandra also has research responsibilities within the team’s financials research pod focused on the European banks and insurers. Alexandra joined the BlackRock Fundamental European Equity Team in 2019 after two years on BlackRock’s graduate rotation programme, where she was an analyst in the Natural Resources and European Equity teams. Alexandra earned a BSc degree in Mathematics and Economics at Bristol University, graduating in 2015, and an MSc in Investment and Wealth Management at Imperial College Business School, graduating in 2016. 

Stefan Gries
Portfolio Manager
Alexandra Dangoor
Portfolio Manager

Board of directors

All the Directors are non-executive and independent of the Investment Manager. The Board as a whole constitutes the Audit and Management Engagement Committee.

Eric Sanderson (appointed April 2013) (Chairman) is a chartered accountant and a banker and was chief executive of British Linen Bank from 1989 to 1997 and a member of the management board of Bank of Scotland in his role as head of group treasury operations from 1997 to 1999. He was formerly chairman of MyTravel Group PLC, MWB Group Holdings, Dunedin Fund Managers Limited and Schroder UK Mid Cap Fund plc. He is presently chairman of JPMorgan Emerging Europe, Middle East & Africa Securities Limited.

Peter Baxter (appointed April 2015) has over 30 years’ experience in the investment management industry. He is an executive director of Snowball Impact Management Ltd, a social impact investment organisation, a non-executive director of Civitas Social Housing plc, and a trustee of Trust for London, and was a member of the Financial Reporting Council’s Conduct Committee. Previously he was chief executive of Old Mutual Asset Managers (UK) Ltd and worked for Schroders and Hill Samuel in a variety of investment roles.

Paola Subacchi (appointed July 2017) (Senior Independent Director) is an economist, writer and commentator on the functioning and governance of the international financial and monetary system. She is Professor of International Economics and Chair of the Advisory Board, Global Policy Institute, Queen Mary University of London, visiting professor at the University of Bologna, non-executive director of Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust PLC as well as Founder of Essential Economics Ltd. She writes regularly on Project Syndicate.

Ian Sayers (appointed February 2022) (Chairman of the Audit and Management Engagement Committee) is the former Chief Executive of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), which he became in 2010 on his promotion from Deputy Director General. Prior to that, he was the AIC’s Technical Director, advising members on areas such as taxation, accounting, company law and regulation, as well as having a key role in its public affairs activity. He qualified as a chartered accountant and chartered tax advisor.

Sapna Shah (appointed 12 December 2023) has 20 years of investment banking experience advising UK companies, including listed REITs and investment companies, on IPOs, equity capital market transactions and mergers and acquisitions. She is a non-executive director of The Association of Investment Companies and a consultant at Panmure Gordon Limited. Prior to this she held senior investment banking roles at UBS AG, Oriel Securities (now Stifel Nicolaus Europe) and Cenkos Securities. She is currently a non-executive director of Supermarket Income REIT plc and BioPharma Credit PLC.

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Investment strategies targeting growth and income
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Over 29 years of proven experience running investment trusts (Dec 2021)
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Unparalleled research capabilities and experienced stock pickers
Contact
To get in touch contact us on:
Telephone: 020 7743 3000
Email: cosec@blackrock.com