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Honeycomb chairman: current environment to create “compelling” lending opportunities

The publicly listed investment fund released both its annual report and April breakdown yesterday.

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PollyDot from Pixabay

Publicly listed investment fund Honeycomb Investment Trust has seen an increase in institutional investor interest according to its monthly factsheet published yesterday.

The news comes as the fund also released its annual report for the year ending 31 December 2019 yesterday.

Honeycomb reported a net asset value (NAV) return of 7.8 per cent in 2019, a slight drop from 8.4 per cent in 2018.

In a letter to shareholders in the firm’s annual report published yesterday, Chairman Robert Sharpe said its investment manager has “adopted a prudent approach given the uncertain economic environment” but that he expects the “economic environment to create some compelling new opportunities” for Honeycomb.

The annual report also mentioned that two of Honeycomb’s largest borrowers “are in the process of lending under the CBIL government guarantee scheme,” one of which is alternative lender iwoca.

According to the annual report, newly-accredited CBILS lender iwoca was Honeycomb’s sixth-largest asset in 2019, with the holding totalling £16.4m or 2.8 per cent of Honeycomb’s total assets.

Analysis from Liberum shows that “the overall portfolio size has decreased by £22m since the end of February.”

Despite this Liberum added that “the manager retains a confident outlook in the portfolio's ability to withstand the impact of the crisis given the defensive nature of the portfolio and diversification across different lending segments.”

While investment bank Numis says it expects attitudes towards direct lending will remain “muted” until “there is greater clarity on how loan performance will be impacted from the current crisis.”

Over the past few months, Honeycomb has found itself in the middle of a war of words with its managing partner Pollen Street Capital and fellow asset manager, also under management by Pollen Street Capital,Pollen Street Secured Lending (PSSL).

In early March the chairman of Honeycomb, Robert Sharpe,  waded in by publishing a defence of Pollen Street and the fund’s “extremely positive relationship” with the asset manager. 

Despite the tension surrounding the firm, there was no mention of the feud in its annual reports, nor has the disagreement impaired its lending capabilities.

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