Questor: our VCTs continue to offer valuable diversification in a tough environment

Notable realisations included Pho, the chain of Vietnamese restaurants, whose sale generated an investment return of two and a half times its initial cost, and online teaching specialist Wey Education, which returned the trust’s highest ever multiple of 13.6 times its initial cost.

Meanwhile, Northern’s NAV increased by just under 5pc to reach 74.1p in its latest financial year. It made realisations amounting to £31.1m during the year, which represented a £22m gain relative to the original cost of the investments. Its fruit and vegetables delivery business, Oddbox, was sold for 10.9 times its initial investment.

Of course, neither VCT offers a uniform income. Their returns to investors largely depend on when their holdings are realised and how profitable they have been.

However, in an era when unearthing a diverse range of worthwhile income-producing investments has become more challenging, they continue to offer favourable risk/reward opportunities over the long run. As a result, they remain an important part of our Income Portfolio. 

Questor says: hold

Tickers: BVT, NVT

Share prices at close: 64.5p, 66p

Update: BioPharma Credit

The capital return of another portfolio holding, BioPharma Credit, has also been somewhat disappointing. The dollar-denominated shares of this quoted fund, which lends to companies in the life sciences industry, have moved only 4pc higher since they were added to our Income Portfolio in April 2020.

However, the company has offered a relatively stable dividend in spite of various economic and geopolitical uncertainties over recent years. For example, it has paid at least 1.75 cents per share every quarter since June 2018. This amounts to a yield of around 6.7pc at the current share price.

The company’s focus on “floating-rate” debt, which accounts for around 60pc of its portfolio, should provide a degree of inflation protection over the coming months. Although the portfolio is more concentrated than this column would ideally like, its differentiated offering relative to many of our other holdings continues to earn it a place in our Income Portfolio. 

Questor says: hold

Ticker: BPCR

Share price at close: $1.03

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