Alliance Trust in asset boost

Investment company Alliance Trust posted a double-digit rise in its net asset value on Tuesday, in full-year figures likely to soothe a shareholder rebellion over costs and the way the company accounts for them.

Alliance Trust, which activist shareholder Laxey Partners says is hiding the true costs of its subsidiaries, said net asset value per share at 31 January stood at 439 pence a share, up the 377.7 pence posted last year.

It will pay a full-year dividend of 8.395 pence, compared with 8.15 pence last year.

"The near term outlook for stock markets remains clouded by a number of uncertainties," said CEO Katherine Garrett-Cox, who is nicknamed "Katherine the Great" by some industry peers for her success in the industry while juggling a large family.

Alliance Trust also recommended in a separate statement that its shareholders vote against two resolutions put forward by Laxey and to be voted at its general meeting on May 20.

Laxey, which owns 1.6 per cent of the stock, is lobbying for the introduction of a Discount Control Mechanism, designed to reduce Alliance Trust's share price discount to NAV; and also for reforms to the company's voting policies for its subsidiaries.

Laxey said in a statement that shareholders shouldered the costs of Alliance Trust's subsidiaries Alliance Trust Savings, Alliance Trust Asset Management and non-operating subsidiary Alliance Trust Finance, without being given a full account of their costs or benefiting from performance.

Last month Alliance Trust said it would shut down its private equity unit to focus on its stock and bond investments, but Laxey said that the decision is "unlikely to have a substantial impact on either performance or overall expenses."