Terry Smith: I'm not used to being ignored

Running a £20bn fund doesn’t guarantee good treatment from the companies you invest in.

Terry Smith, chief executive, Fundsmith

Running a £20bn fund doesn’t guarantee good treatment from the companies you invest in, as Terry Smith, the manager of the Fundsmith Equity Fund, has found. When Amadeus, the Spanish company that provides booking software for airlines and other travel providers, raised €1.5bn to help see it through the coronavirus crisis by issuing new shares and convertible bonds at the start of April, Fundsmith wasn’t asked to take part in the fundraising, Smith tells Sky News.

Small investors are used to their pre-emption rights – the principle that existing shareholders should have first refusal when companies issue new shares – being ignored. But most people would have expected a fund as large as Fundsmith to be included: it’s Amadeus’s fifth-largest shareholder and has been invested for seven years, says Smith. But “they never even bothered to call us and neither did anyone acting for them”. Fundsmith is now re-evaluating whether to keep the stock, he suggested. “When they make bad decisions of that sort, it undermines our confidence in them.”

However, the crisis has created other opportunities for Smith, who invested in sportswear giant Nike and coffee chain Starbucks after the two firms had seen their shares fall almost 40%. “They are both good businesses that we have long wanted to own and we thought we had an opportunity there.” He also sold Clorox, which makes cleaning products, having bought it just four months ago, after its share price rose by almost 30% in the first four months of the year.

Recommended

How to claim compensation for travel delays
Personal finance

How to claim compensation for travel delays

It promises to be a summer of chaos at airports, with thousands of flights cancelled and huge queues, while strikes on the railways haven't helped eit…
5 Jul 2022
Is it OK to buy Scottish Mortgage investment trust again?
Investment trusts

Is it OK to buy Scottish Mortgage investment trust again?

Scottish Mortgage investment was hit hard by the tech-stock crash, and it is still being buffeted by headwinds. Should new investors wait for those to…
5 Jul 2022
Britain’s ten most-hated shares – w/e 1 July
Stocks and shares

Britain’s ten most-hated shares – w/e 1 July

Rupert Hargreaves looks at Britain's ten most-hated shares, and what short-sellers are looking at now.
4 Jul 2022
Britain’s most-bought shares w/e 1 July
Stocks and shares

Britain’s most-bought shares w/e 1 July

A look at Britain’s most-bought shares in the week ending 1 July, providing an insight into how investors are thinking and where opportunities may lie…
4 Jul 2022

Most Popular

Ray Dalio’s shrewd $10bn bet on the collapse of European stocks
European stockmarkets

Ray Dalio’s shrewd $10bn bet on the collapse of European stocks

Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater hedge fund is putting its money on a collapse in European stocks. It’s likely to pay off, says Matthew Lynn.
3 Jul 2022
UK house prices are definitely cooling off – but are they heading for a fall?
House prices

UK house prices are definitely cooling off – but are they heading for a fall?

UK house prices hit a fresh high in June, but as interest rates start to rise, the market is cooling John Stepek assesses just how much of an effect h…
30 Jun 2022
Persimmon yields 12.3%, but can you trust the company to deliver?
Share tips

Persimmon yields 12.3%, but can you trust the company to deliver?

With a dividend yield of 12.3%, Persimmon looks like a highly attractive prospect for income investors. But that sort of yield can also indicate compa…
1 Jul 2022