Merrill Lynch World Mining Tst PLC
08 August 2002
MERRILL LYNCH WORLD MINING TRUST plc
All information is at 31 July 2002 and unaudited.
Performance at month end with net income reinvested
One Three One Three Five
month months year years years
Net asset value -17.0% -19.7% 10.1% 44.3% 28.7%
Share price -18.1% -22.2% 14.9% 45.2% 36.7%
HSBC Global Mining Index (capital only) -16.8% -20.8% -9.0% 3.9% -11.1%
MSCI World Metals & Mining Index (capital only) -14.5% -17.8% -12.2% -12.8% -29.6%
Sources: Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, HSBC Global Mining Index, Datastream
At month end
Net asset value 124.96p Discount to NAV: 13.8%
Share price: 107.75p Net historic yield: 2.9%
Total assets: £214.7m
Gearing: 6.1% Effective gearing: 7.2%
Ordinary shares in issue: 162,945,461
Commenting on the markets, Graham Birch, representing the Investment Manager
July was one of the worst months for the Trust since its inception, with a fall
in absolute terms of 17%. To put this in perspective, the two worse months were
August 1998, in the midst of the Long Term Capital Management crisis, and
October 1997, when the Asian crisis was at its peak.
The current crisis is obviously different in nature. Stock markets are having to
deal with a collapse in the ratings of former 'growth' stocks, as well as
accounting issues and a general climate of poor geopolitical news. For most of
this year, the mining sector has shrugged off these events as, a) the sector is
composed of relatively transparent dividend paying 'value' stocks, and b) the
underlying improvement in economic activity appeared to be favourable.
In June, and to a greater extent July, investors began to have doubts about the
robustness of economic recovery. Downgrades of prior data coupled with concern
over the 'wealth effects' of falling markets sapped enthusiasm for cyclical
stocks. Mining shares therefore underperformed broader equity markets
significantly. Metal markets also broadly retreated - not unusual during the
slow summer months. Base metals on average slipped by 5.6% and gold fell 4.1%.
Corporate earnings news from the portfolio constituents was generally good in
July, with solid earnings reported from some of our key holdings including Gold
Fields, AngloGold and Rio Tinto. The quarterly earnings in North America were
generally in line with expectations. Minsur, a tin miner in Peru, announced that
it had sold an interest in a brewery for a sizeable sum - making this share one
of the best performers in the portfolio.
The good earnings news in South Africa was overshadowed by media interest
surrounding the new South African Minerals Bill. Uncertainty about the effect of
this Bill on companies such as Anglo Platinum had already made the market
somewhat jittery. However, towards the end of July, the unexpected release of
the Department of Minerals and Energy Affairs draft Minerals Industry Charter
further heightened uncertainty for those investing in the country. This more
controversial Charter has subsequently been classified by the Government as a
'first position' paper which was submitted for discussion with the industry in
the clear expectation that it would be 'adapted over time'.
As significant investors in South Africa we will monitor the situation extremely
closely. Should it become clear that the South African Government and its mining
industry are unable to reach an acceptable outcome for all parties, the Company
would have to consider reducing its exposure to the country. In the meantime,
the initial stock market moves have already hurt those companies most at risk.
The Company has and will continue to take steps to make sure its South African
investments are concentrated in those companies least at risk. Furthermore, we
have switched a portion of the Company's borrowings into Rands as a precaution
in case the uncertainty weighs on sentiment towards the Rand in international
Latest information is available by typing www.mlim.co.uk/its on the internet,
'MLIMINDEX' on Reuters, 'MLIM' on Bloomberg or '8800' on Topic 3 (ICV terminal).
8 August 2002
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange