Monday 1 July 2019 3:45 pm

Woodford offloads stake in Raven property investment firm

Embattled stockpicker Neil Woodford has jettisoned his 12 per cent stake in Raven Property Group, bringing the total he has raised since the suspension of his flagship fund to £459m. 

Raven announced today that it has bought back 72.1m shares from Woodford at 36p per share.

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This represents a small discount on Friday’s close of 36.4p, the shares’ lowest level since September.

Raven’s share price rose 4.1 per cent today to 37.9p in response to news of the buyback. 

Woodford’s flagship Equity Income fund suspended trading on 3 June after becoming overwhelmed by investor withdrawals despite condemnation from MPs and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Woodford has refused to suspend management fees for the fund’s investors, and is thought to be receiving £100,000 per day in fees.

The FCA is investigating the suspension of the Equity Income fund, but the body has faced scrutiny over its handling of the scandal and whether it should have acted sooner.

Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Select Committee, has questioned the FCA’s “alertness to the problems”. 

Raven, which specialises in property investment in Russia, also said it has bought back a smaller stake from Invesco Asset Management, Woodford’s former employer.

Read more: Woodford trust cuts debt to calm investors

Anton Bilton, Raven’s co-founder, also co-founded Sabina Estates – one of Equity Income fund’s investments listed in Guernsey.

A decision is due later today about whether Woodford’s Equity Income fund will reopen or remain suspended for an additional 28 days. 

Woodford Patient Capital Trust, a listed fund of Woodford’s, fell 1.6 per cent to 55.1p today.