Merchants Trust sees annual return on investment portfolio

Merchants Trust raised its annual dividend for the 30th year in a row as net revenue return per share rose 4.1 per cent to 22.9p from its portfolio of investments.

Merchants Trust raised its annual dividend for the 30th year in a row as net revenue return per share rose 4.1 per cent to 22.9p from its portfolio of investments.

The British investment trust said it was rewarding shareholders with a total dividend of 23.2p for the year, up 0.9% on the previous year, as it delivered its results for the year to January 31st, 2013.

"We now have a thirty year history of increasing the dividend and a further modest increase is proposed for this year," said Chairman, Simon Fraser.

The company's investment portfolio produced a capital return of 14.8% ahead of the 10.5% return on the FTSE 100 index.

The firm's top 10 investments include Royal Dutch Shell 'B', GlaxoSmithKline, BP, HSBC, Vodafone, British American Tobacco, BAE Systems, SSE, National Grid and Resolution.

The net asset value total per share rose by 16.0% to 466.5p. The stock market had a strong year, particularly in the second half in response to the European Central Bank's commitment to defend the euro and US actions to defer the so-called 'fiscal cliff' of spending cuts and tax hikes.

While the economic outlook remains uncertain, Merchants expects to benefit from strong UK-listed businesses in the year ahead.

"Our fund managers are still able to identify attractive, dividend paying companies trading on sensible valuations," Fraser said.

"Merchants remains focused on delivering long term dividend and capital growth."

RD

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