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Portfolio beats stock market

Souter gifts £109m to charity – biggest since Carnegie

Brian Souter

Sir Brian Souter: ‘portfolio is in good shape’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Stagecoach boss Sir Brian Souter has gifted £109 million to charity – one of the biggest donations by a Scot since Andrew Carnegie, the 19th century industrialist.

The gift is through the family-controlled Souter Investments which has revealed that over 12 years its portfolio has beaten the stock market by 55%.

It has made 10 new investments since its last review in 2016 in a range of businesses from oil and gas services to financial services, and sold its holdings in Alexander Dennis, Mobius Life and Baywater Healthcare.

The total portfolio, excluding Stagecoach, increased in value by 9% per annum over the 12 years ended March 2019. This compares against a 5% annual return on UK quoted equities over the same period.  Sir Brian estimates that the compounding effect means that the value of the portfolio is 55% higher than it would be if the investments had been solely in the UK stock market.

Sir Brian said: “Despite the uncertain political and economic times facing us all, our portfolio is in good shape and Souter Investments has the liquidity to continue investing through the cycle. 

“I remain positive in the ability for canny investors to find value in the coming years and hopefully Souter Investments can continue to be one of those investors.

“Given the excellent performance of Souter Investments, I have today gifted 28% of its shares to The Souter Charitable Trust; I estimate that the value of this shareholding is £109m. 

“The Souter Charitable Trust has donated more than £98m to 13,000 worthwhile causes over the last 13 years and this gift will allow it to continue this important work.”’

Andy Macfie, Managing Director of Souter Investments said the fund is particularly pleased with the 18% annualised return achieved on the direct unquoted portfolio.

“A pivot to this asset class was one of the central planks of our investment strategy when we setup Souter Investments in 2007,” he said.

“We continue to stay true to our investment objectives of maintaining an opportunistic approach and targeting a diversified portfolio. Unquoted investments remain our core focus, where we can lead deals or coinvest with others.

“Following the disposals mentioned by Sir Brian, we have more cash and liquid assets than ever before.”

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