The fund is overweight in the consumer staples, industrials, health care and information technology sectors; and underweight in energy, financials and real estate. Regionally, the fund is overweight in Japan, neutral in Europe and underweight in the US as we believe valuations look expensive and there aren’t many companies that meet our strict criteria on sustainability.
In the current environment of stubbornly high inflation, we look for quality companies that have strong pricing power and solid balance sheets, making them able to weather the storm of rising raw material, feedstock, logistics and other input costs. We are also firmly of the belief that ongoing geopolitical tensions and high energy costs, coupled with increasingly visible effects of climate change, will drive accelerated investments into the energy transition, benefiting innovative pioneers in the energy efficiency and renewables spaces.
In the remainder of 2022, economic growth will likely slow, while inflation will likely remain stubbornly elevated. For many companies, this means that it will become harder to maintain profit margins, and so company earnings could fall, which could lead to lower share prices. Therefore, we believe it is vital to remain selective with the investments we hold in the portfolio.
At the same time the money supply is expected to deteriorate worldwide due to central bank tightening in most of the major advanced economies. On top of that, investor sentiment is likely to stay muted due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, growing recession fears and a possible return of COVID-related restrictions later in the year.
Over the first four months of the year the fund has fallen by 6.92% compared to the benchmark which has fallen by 1.45%. While on the face of it this is disappointing, the sectors which have performed strongly are those which we wouldn’t traditionally invest in - such as fossil fuels - which have benefited from rising prices.
Calendar year return
|Triodos Global Equities Impact Fund KR-dis||6.95%||12.51%||17.69%||-0.82%||13.70%|
Triodos Global Equities Impact Fund compares its return and the sustainability scores of the companies that it invests in with the MSCI World Index in GBP as a benchmark for (non-sustainable) global equity funds. The investment policy that is pursued by the fund is not aimed at replicating or outperforming the benchmark in the short term. The fund may deviate from the benchmark because the fund only invests in companies that meet our strict sustainability criteria. All returns stated have been calculated based on net asset values, including reinvestment of dividends where applicable. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
Stocks in focus
|Stock||Gain/Loss (%)||Contribution to fund (%)|
|Check Point Software||17%||0.55%|
Past performance isn’t a guide to future returns, returns shown are from 01/01/22 to 30/04/22
Pearson reported decent numbers over the first quarter. Underlying growth was 7%, beating expectations. Pearson re-iterated its full year guidance and announced the acquisition of Mondly, a leading online language learning platform. But this was not the driver of the strong share price performance. Shares rallied when private group Apollo made an offer for the company. However, the board of Pearson considered the offer and rejected the proposal. Apollo sweetened the offer twice, but the board was still not convinced. After Apollo pulled out, the shares price was weak initially but year to date still among the winners. We have sold some of our holding to take some profit but still maintain a position in the fund.
KDDI is the number two player in the Japanese telecommunications market. The telecom sector is among the best performing sectors this year amid its defensive profile. Furthermore, KDDI has less supply chain issues compared to companies in some other sectors and, in most markets, pricing power on its fixed services offering. It recently upped its annual revenue and profit guidance, thanks to the growth in its cloud services. KDDI also increased its dividend and announced a share buy-back program. Shares hit an all-time high and became the largest holding in the fund. Because of the strong performance we rebalanced the weight of the position in the fund. KDDI is still one of the largest holdings in the fund.
Check Point Software
For a stock in the technology industry, Check Point Software is remarkable resilient year to date. Most growth stocks suffered due to rising interest rates, but this stock has a somewhat different profile. Sales growth is decent but below peers, and so is valuation. With a price/earnings multiple of around 15x, valuation is not demanding and as such not a victim of de-rating that has plagued a lot of companies in the technology sector. As a result of the international geopolitical tensions, cyber security is gaining attention and Check Point is one of the leaders in this segment.
PayPal was the worst performing position in the fund. Most of the decline is caused by company specific developments. The company lowered its 2022 revenue and earnings guidance. In addition, the company pulled medium-term targets. PayPal is experiencing a significant slowdown in user growth due to softer e-commerce volumes and the ongoing eBay transition. Sell side analysts have downgraded their earnings forecasts for this year by more than 30%. While we are positive about the business model of the company, we first would like to see some stabilization in earnings estimates before considering adding to our position.
Recalls of respiratory devices have seriously undermined investor confidence since last year. The first quarter results were also perceived badly as Philips made another provision for a recall of another product. For years now Philips has generated lower profit margins compared to its peers. Furthermore, management does not seem in control as there have been several quality issues in recent years. We have therefore sold the entire position.
Japanese electric-motor manufacturer Nidec had a tough start of the year. Full year operating income missed expectations and the company noted a business environment more uncertain than ever before with soaring raw materials and supply chain issues. The CEO, in place only since last year, was demoted to the role of COO and the Chairman, Shigenobu Nagamore, took back his position as CEO. Nagamore has led the company for half a century after founding it in 1973. Leadership issues and a difficult external environment resulted in a 39% drop in the share price.
Find out more about the Triodos Global Equities Impact Fund
Like all investments, your capital is at risk – investments can go down as well as up, currency fluctuations can affect the value of your investment and you may not get back what you put in.
You should ask an independent financial advisor if you're unsure which investment is right for you. Triodos Bank doesn’t offer financial advice.
Find out more about the Triodos Global Equities Impact Fund.