Standard Life Private Equity Trust plc

Providing access to a diversified portfolio of private equity investments

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Latest news

An update from our investment manager, Alan Gauld – 30 September 2020

 

June valuations bounced back strongly from the coronavirus-related declines seen at March. The portfolio value increased 11.1% on a constant currency basis during the quarter (13.7% including FX movements). This was largely driven by resilient performance in underlying portfolio company earnings and the rebound in public market comparables. Net assets are now £728.6m, which is back above the level at the end of 2019, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe (£714.2m).

 

It has also been pleasing to see the recent exit activity in the trust’s portfolio, despite relatively slow M&A activity in the market more generally. We have seen a number of sale agreements publically announced over the past weeks and months, including portfolio companies such as Roompot (in PAI VI), Rovensa (Bridgepoint Europe V), Surfaces (Astorg VI) and Colisee  (IK VIII). Distributions have so far proven to be more resilient than we expected at the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak.

During the period we have taken the opportunity to increase the size of SLPET’s revolving credit facility from £100m to £200m. We welcome State Street Bank International as a new lender to the trust, alongside SLPET’s long-term lenders Citi and Société Générale. This additional capacity will provide SLPET with further firepower for new investments, as well as greater flexibility to manage the trust’s capital during this period of uncertainty and market volatility.

We have been in regular communication with the private equity managers of SLPET’s investments throughout the year and more intensively since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Despite the stock market rebound during the summer, we continue to approach the next 6-12 months with caution. Our base case assumption is that there will be another spike in COVID-19 cases as we move into autumn and winter in Europe. In this context, we continue to take comfort in the:

  1.    Quality of the private equity managers that we have selected, all of whom successfully weathered the global financial crisis;
  2.    Diversification of the investment portfolio, with over 400 companies spread across different countries, sectors and vintages;
  3.    Available capital in the underlying funds, which will allow our private equity managers to support underlying companies through the crisis;
  4.    Greater flexibility of debt structures in underlying companies compared to levels prior to the global financial crisis in 2008, with higher equity as a percentage of enterprise value and “covenant-lite” debt packages more commonplace;
  5.    Level of liquid resources and the recently increased revolving credit facility available to address SLPET’s funding requirements in a range of different stressed scenarios.

Discrete performance (%)

Year ending

31/07/20

31/07/19

31/07/18

31/07/17

31/07/16

Share price

(11.8)

11.9

8.9

42.0

12.1

NAV

0.9

15.7

8.4

17.7

27.1

FTSE All-Share Index

17.8

1.3

9.2

14.9

3.8

Past performance is not a guide to future results.

Profile

The Standard Life Private Equity Trust (“SLPET” or” the Company”) provides investors with access to a diversified portfolio of leading private companies. The Company currently offers a progressive dividend just under 4% (it increases each year), rewarding shareholders for their patience as the portfolio value grows.

Investment objective
The investment objective is to achieve long-term total returns through holding a diversified portfolio of private equity funds and direct investments into private companies alongside private equity managers (“co-investments”), a majority of which will have a European focus.

SLPET invests in private equity funds run by leading private equity managers who have the expertise to source, grow and sell private companies, delivering attractive investment returns. The funds invest in mature businesses primarily through management buy-out transactions. The portfolio will comprise around 50 active private equity funds, managed by a select group of fund managers. In addition, the Company complements its fund portfolio by investing up to 20% of NAV in co-investments. SLPET has a target of building an underlying portfolio of around 400 private companies.

How SLPET invests in private equity
The Company can invest in three ways:

    i. The manager of a successful private equity fund will seek to raise fresh capital to invest typically every five years and the Company may commit to investing in such a fund. The fund will typically aim to acquire majority equity stakes in private companies commensurate with the fund’s strategy – this is known as primary investment;
    ii. Once a private equity fund has raised the fresh capital it seeks, no additional investors/commitments are permitted to increase the fund size. If an existing investor in that fund wishes to sell its position, the Company can negotiate to acquire that interest - this is known as a secondary transaction; and
    iii. In situations where the manager of a private equity fund seeks additional equity capital in order to make or supplement the acquisition of a portfolio company, certain investors in that fund may be offered the opportunity to invest directly into that private company alongside the fund and manager – this is known as a co-investment

Over time, the combination of these strategies is intended to deliver value to the Company’s shareholders. Irrespective of the type of investment, after a number of years the underlying private companies will generally be sold to industrial buyers, other private equity funds or exit through an IPO on listed markets. The cash proceeds from the sale of the private companies are returned to the Company and the investment cycle starts again.

About Aberdeen Standard Investments
The Trust's manager, SL Capital Partners, is Aberdeen Standard Investments dedicated private equity arm. We have fulfilled this role since the launch of the Trust in 2001 and have deployed a consistent strategy that gives shareholders access to a diversified portfolio of private company investments that generate attractive investment returns. Our team has decades of experience of investing in leading global private equity managers and can be relied upon to select the some of the best opportunities, supported by the broad resources of Aberdeen Standard Investments..

Key people

Alan Gauld

Alan Gauld

Investment director

Alan is an Investment Director in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Private Markets team. He is responsible for sourcing, evaluating and executing private equity investments, including primary fund investments and co-investments. Alan has a strong network and extensive experience with leading private equity funds, particularly pan-European and Iberian GPs. As such, Alan sits on a number of LP advisory committees across Europe. He joined Aberdeen Standard Investments in 2014 as part of the Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) transaction. Prior to joining SWIP in 2013, Alan worked for Lloyds Banking Group in its private equity team. Alan holds a BSc (Hons) in Genetics from the University of Edinburgh and is a qualified chartered accountant.

Patricl Knechtli

Patrick Knechtli

Head of Secondaries

Based in Edinburgh, Patrick heads up the secondaries team of Aberdeen Standard Investments and is involved across the private markets activities of the firm. He joined predecessor firm SL Capital in 2009, which then merged with AAM’s private markets business in 2017. Prior to joining SL Capital, Patrick spent eight years at Coller Capital in London, where he worked on numerous secondary portfolio transactions. His early career consisted of seven years in investment banking, first at Baring Brothers and then at ABN Amro Corporate Finance. Patrick has a MA (Hons) in Modern Languages from the University of Exeter and is fluent in French and Spanish.

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Mark Nicolson

Head of Primary Investments

Mark is based in Edinburgh and joined Aberdeen Standard Investments in 2007. He is responsible for making investments across the private equity spectrum (Primaries, Secondaries and Co-investments) as well as having overall responsibility for ASI’s Primary Investment business. Mark is a member of ASI’s Private Equity Operating Committee and Investment Committee. He also sits on the Advisory Boards of a number of leading private equity funds. Prior to the merger that created ASI in 2017, Mark was a Partner and Head of Primary Investments at SL Capital Partners where he joined in 2007. Before this, Mark spent seven years working as a lead adviser in the corporate finance teams of EY and KPMG, focusing principally on buyouts. Mark is a Chartered Accountant and has BA (Joint Honours) degrees in Accounting and Economics from the University of Strathclyde. Mark is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.

Simon Tyszko

Simon Tyszko

Investment Manager

Simon is an Investment Manager in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Private Markets team. He is responsible for sourcing, evaluating and executing private equity investments, including primary fund investments and co-investments. Simon has a strong network and extensive experience with leading private equity funds, particularly Benelux and UK GPs. Simon joined Aberdeen Standard Investments in 2014 as part SL Capital, and prior to this he worked at RBS in its Restructuring team. Simon holds a M.Eng in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Glasgow and is a CFA charterholder.

  • Alan Gauld

    Investment director

    Alan is an Investment Director in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Private Markets team. He is responsible for sourcing, evaluating and executing private equity investments, including primary fund investments and co-investments. Alan has a strong network and extensive experience with leading private equity funds, particularly pan-European and Iberian GPs. As such, Alan sits on a number of LP advisory committees across Europe. He joined Aberdeen Standard Investments in 2014 as part of the Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) transaction. Prior to joining SWIP in 2013, Alan worked for Lloyds Banking Group in its private equity team. Alan holds a BSc (Hons) in Genetics from the University of Edinburgh and is a qualified chartered accountant.

  • Patrick Knechtli

    Head of Secondaries

    Based in Edinburgh, Patrick heads up the secondaries team of Aberdeen Standard Investments and is involved across the private markets activities of the firm. He joined predecessor firm SL Capital in 2009, which then merged with AAM’s private markets business in 2017. Prior to joining SL Capital, Patrick spent eight years at Coller Capital in London, where he worked on numerous secondary portfolio transactions. His early career consisted of seven years in investment banking, first at Baring Brothers and then at ABN Amro Corporate Finance. Patrick has a MA (Hons) in Modern Languages from the University of Exeter and is fluent in French and Spanish.

  • Mark Nicolson

    Head of Primary Investments

    Mark is based in Edinburgh and joined Aberdeen Standard Investments in 2007. He is responsible for making investments across the private equity spectrum (Primaries, Secondaries and Co-investments) as well as having overall responsibility for ASI’s Primary Investment business. Mark is a member of ASI’s Private Equity Operating Committee and Investment Committee. He also sits on the Advisory Boards of a number of leading private equity funds. Prior to the merger that created ASI in 2017, Mark was a Partner and Head of Primary Investments at SL Capital Partners where he joined in 2007. Before this, Mark spent seven years working as a lead adviser in the corporate finance teams of EY and KPMG, focusing principally on buyouts. Mark is a Chartered Accountant and has BA (Joint Honours) degrees in Accounting and Economics from the University of Strathclyde. Mark is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.

  • Simon Tyszko

    Investment Manager

    Simon is an Investment Manager in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Private Markets team. He is responsible for sourcing, evaluating and executing private equity investments, including primary fund investments and co-investments. Simon has a strong network and extensive experience with leading private equity funds, particularly Benelux and UK GPs. Simon joined Aberdeen Standard Investments in 2014 as part SL Capital, and prior to this he worked at RBS in its Restructuring team. Simon holds a M.Eng in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Glasgow and is a CFA charterholder.

Christina McComb

Christina McComb

Chair of the Board

Christina McComb was appointed on 29 January 2013, and assumed the role of Chair on 1 January 2019. Christina has over 25 years’ experience of investing in growth companies, having spent much of her career at leading private equity firm 3i Group plc. She is currently Chair of financial mutual OneFamily and is Senior Independent Director of the British Business Bank, the government owned development bank supporting access to finance for UK SMEs. She is also Senior Independent Director of Big Society Capital, the UK’s leading social investment fund, and a Non-executive Director of Nexeon Ltd.

Jonathon Bond

Jonathon Bond

Non-Executive Director

Jonathon Bond was appointed on 15 June 2018. Jonathon has over 30 years' experience in the private equity industry with a particular focus on raising standards of governance and performance. He has extensive international and general management experience, having served on the board of several significant businesses. Jonathon is Senior Independent Director and member of the Audit and Risk, Remuneration and Nomination Committees of Jupiter Fund Management PLC, Chairman of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland Limited and is a Non-executive Director of Scottish Widows Limited and Camellia Plc.

Alan Devine

Alan Devine

Senior Independent Director

Alan Devine was appointed on 28 May 2014, and assumed the role of Senior Independent Director on 1 January 2019. He holds an MBA and is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers in Scotland. Alan was formerly CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland Shipping Group and has a wide background of knowledge and over 40 years’ experience in both commercial and investment banking. Alan is a Non-Executive Director of Irish company Capitalflow Holdings DAC where he is Chairman of the Remuneration and Audit Committees. Alan is also Chairman of the private equity owned Irish based cash logistics company known as GSLS.
Diane Seymour Williams

Diane Seymour-Williams

Non-Executive Director

Diane Seymour-Williams was appointed on 7 June 2017. Diane is a Non-executive Director of Mercia Asset Management PLC and PraxisIFM Group Limited, and is a Director of Acorn Capital Advisers Limited. Diane worked at Deutsche Asset Management Group (previously Morgan Grenfell) for 23 years where she held various senior positions, including CIO and CEO of Asia. More recently, she spent nine years at LGM Investments, a specialist global emerging and frontier markets equities manager, where she was Global Head of Relationship Management. She is a pro-bono member of the Investment Committees of Newnham College, Cambridge and the Canal & River Trust.

Calum Thomson

Calum Thomson

Non-Executive Director

Calum Thomson was appointed on 30 November 2017. Calum is a qualified chartered accountant and was an audit partner with Deloitte LLP for over 21 years. Calum is a Non-executive Director and the Audit Committee chair of the Diverse Income Trust plc, the AVI Global Trust plc and Barings Emerging Europe plc. He is also a Non-executive Director and Audit Committee chair of BLME Holdings Plc and the Adam Smith Advisory Group Ltd.

  • Christina McComb

    Chair of the Board

    Christina McComb was appointed on 29 January 2013, and assumed the role of Chair on 1 January 2019. Christina has over 25 years’ experience of investing in growth companies, having spent much of her career at leading private equity firm 3i Group plc. She is currently Chair of financial mutual OneFamily and is Senior Independent Director of the British Business Bank, the government owned development bank supporting access to finance for UK SMEs. She is also Senior Independent Director of Big Society Capital, the UK’s leading social investment fund, and a Non-executive Director of Nexeon Ltd.

  • Jonathon Bond

    Non-Executive Director

    Jonathon Bond was appointed on 15 June 2018. Jonathon has over 30 years' experience in the private equity industry with a particular focus on raising standards of governance and performance. He has extensive international and general management experience, having served on the board of several significant businesses. Jonathon is Senior Independent Director and member of the Audit and Risk, Remuneration and Nomination Committees of Jupiter Fund Management PLC, Chairman of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland Limited and is a Non-executive Director of Scottish Widows Limited and Camellia Plc.

  • Alan Devine

    Senior Independent Director

    Alan Devine was appointed on 28 May 2014, and assumed the role of Senior Independent Director on 1 January 2019. He holds an MBA and is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers in Scotland. Alan was formerly CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland Shipping Group and has a wide background of knowledge and over 40 years’ experience in both commercial and investment banking. Alan is a Non-Executive Director of Irish company Capitalflow Holdings DAC where he is Chairman of the Remuneration and Audit Committees. Alan is also Chairman of the private equity owned Irish based cash logistics company known as GSLS.
  • Diane Seymour-Williams

    Non-Executive Director

    Diane Seymour-Williams was appointed on 7 June 2017. Diane is a Non-executive Director of Mercia Asset Management PLC and PraxisIFM Group Limited, and is a Director of Acorn Capital Advisers Limited. Diane worked at Deutsche Asset Management Group (previously Morgan Grenfell) for 23 years where she held various senior positions, including CIO and CEO of Asia. More recently, she spent nine years at LGM Investments, a specialist global emerging and frontier markets equities manager, where she was Global Head of Relationship Management. She is a pro-bono member of the Investment Committees of Newnham College, Cambridge and the Canal & River Trust.

  • Calum Thomson

    Non-Executive Director

    Calum Thomson was appointed on 30 November 2017. Calum is a qualified chartered accountant and was an audit partner with Deloitte LLP for over 21 years. Calum is a Non-executive Director and the Audit Committee chair of the Diverse Income Trust plc, the AVI Global Trust plc and Barings Emerging Europe plc. He is also a Non-executive Director and Audit Committee chair of BLME Holdings Plc and the Adam Smith Advisory Group Ltd.

Financial calendar

Year End 30 September
Accounts published December
Annual General Meeting January
Dividend Paid January, April, July, October

Trust details

Standard Life Private Equity Trust PLC

1 George Street
Edinburgh EH2 2LL
United Kingdom

Registered in Scotland as an Investment Company Number SC216638

Launch Date: 29 May 2001

Investment Manager

SL Capital Partners LLP
1 George Street
Edinburgh EH2 2LL
United Kingdom

Registrars
Equiniti Limited
Aspect House
Spencer Road
Lancing
West Sussex
BN99 6DA

Risk warning
Risk warning
The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may get back less than the amount invested. Please refer to the relevant Key Information Document (KID) prior to making an investment decision. Please be aware of scams that can affect investors.