Superstar investor Neil Woodford accepts trust results will "disappoint" investors

William Turvill
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Neil Woodford raised a record £800m for the trust, launched in April 2015

Neil Woodford has said he understands why some investors in Woodford Patient Capital Trust will be “disappointed” with its performance.

The trust today reported that its net assets had fallen to £717.9m in the first half of 2016, down from £814.9m a year ago.

Launched in April last year, Woodford raised a record £800m for the investment trust.

The trust invests in biotechnology companies as well as companies like hybrid estate agent PurpleBricks.

Read more: What Brexit means for investors: Woodford looks beyond uncertainty

The company said it had experienced a “challenging” six months, “reflecting in part, a turbulent market for small-to-medium sized quoted companies”.

“The turbulence was also, in part, due to the uncertainty that greeted Britain’s decision in June to leave the European Union.

“However, the board and the portfolio manager (Woodford) remain confident that this decision will have no impact on the company’s long-term prospects.”

Woodford Patient Capital Trust’s share price fell from 94p on 23 June to as low as 81p, and currently sits at 90p.

Woodford Patient Capital Trust Woodford Patient Capital Trust | mobile image

Read more: Woodford fund lines up former Standard Life exec as governance chair

Reporting the interim results, Woodford said:

I understand that some investors will be disappointed with the performance so far, but it is early days for a strategy that is looking to exploit very long-term opportunities. Furthermore, although part of this performance is the result of fundamental developments, the majority of it is not.

This is, of course, an investment vehicle that invests predominantly in higher-risk enterprises which typically do not have profits, cash flows or dividends. As we have said before, not everything we invest in, small or large, will succeed. Some of the businesses we have invested in will encounter problems and sometimes things will go wrong. That will inevitably mean that some businesses are unable to fulfil the potential that we saw when we first invested in them.

Ultimately, however, it is critically important that we deliver what we have said we can achieve in terms of portfolio returns. We remain absolutely confident that we will deliver very attractive long-term returns from this portfolio and would like to thank our forward-thinking, long-term shareholders for their ongoing support.