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Fund Profile


Disclosure – Non-Independent Marketing Communication

This is a non-independent marketing communication commissioned by Asia Dragon. The report has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on the dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

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Asia Dragon Trust (DGN), formerly Edinburgh Dragon Trust, aims to identify well-managed, world-class businesses in Asia and buy them when they are on attractive valuations. The management team at Aberdeen Standard Investments, headed by Adrian Lim and Pruksa Iamthongthong, take a long-term approach to investing. They aim to be an active, engaged shareholder, encouraging good corporate governance and alignment with other ESG goals.

The trust performed strongly following implementation of a number of changes to the process in 2017 and 2018, which saw it increase exposure to IT and China, as discussed in the Performance section. However, in 2020 it has lagged the index slightly in the recovery from the pandemic, thanks largely to its exposure to countries which have struggled to control it.

In the aftermath of the coronavirus crash, Adrian and Pruksa have taken the opportunity to buy high-quality companies they had previously coveted but found too expensive. This has increased their weighting to information technology and e-commerce, and the portfolio has some large single stock positions in Tencent, TSMC and Samsung (together 28.3% of the portfolio). However, the portfolio retains balancing exposures with the bottom-up process leading the managers to a diverse set of companies from across the region (as discussed under Portfolio).

The managers tell us they are wary about the immediate future for the Asian economies, because of the impact of the lockdowns and a possible resurgence of the virus. However, they think their focus on quality and resilient earnings could prove a relative advantage. DGN’s shares are trading on a discount of 13.4% to NAV, wider than the five-year average and the sector average.

Analyst's View

DGN is an attractive core Asia holding, in our view. In 2020 the dispersion of returns within markets, including Asian markets, has been extreme, with technology, e-commerce and China outperforming considerably following the emergence of the pandemic. DGN has benefitted from these themes, but it also maintains exposure to other areas which have not kept up and which could do better when the wind changes. The unusual nature of the recent sell-off has been such that this includes more cyclical sectors and also more defensive sectors. In our view this diversification is attractive at this point in time, when valuations in the fashionable sectors are looking expensive and the economic impact of the earlier lockdowns is starting to be felt.

The portfolio has seen an unusual flurry of activity in the aftermath of the pandemic as Adrian and Pruksa took advantage of the crash in valuations to pick up exposure to high-quality companies at attractive prices. This is a tangible outcome of the refinements made to the process in 2017 and 2018 which have made DGN a more flexible proposition.

This discount of 13.4% is wider than the five-year average and the sector average. In our view this reflects the strong momentum trade and concentration of flows into limited areas of the market. The current share price could well prove to be a good entry point into a portfolio with more defensive qualities which may come back into favour.

bull bear
The revamped strategy has led to a period of significant outperformance
The discount has been stubbornly wide
Deep resources and highly experienced management, with the joint lowest OCF in the peer group
Structural gearing, although modest, can increase downside risks (while helping on the upside)
The quality approach should ordinarily lead to outperformance in rocky markets
Large positions in three stocks could increase volatility
Continue to Portfolio

Fund History

20 Nov 2023 Fund Analysis
DGN’s combination offers numerous advantages, as well as being on a substantial discount…
25 Oct 2023 We’re going to need a bigger boat...
We argue corporate activity is picking up, making the investment trust sector an exciting place to invest…
26 Jul 2023 Our board and saviour
Boards are proving their value as discounts languish…
30 Jun 2023 High end China
Several managers are investing in higher-end consumer growth in the world’s second-largest economy…
15 Feb 2023 Fund Analysis
DGN hopes to capitalise on a recovery in sentiment towards Asia...
25 Jan 2023 The toad to recovery
Two of our analysts debate the outlook for China in 2023…
06 Apr 2022 Fund Analysis
DGN offers core exposure to a fast-growing region…
25 Mar 2022 Slides and Audio: Asia Dragon
Download the presentation and listen to the audio from our 'Ideas for your ISA' virtual Spring event on 16 March...
23 Mar 2022 Fifteen ideas for your ISA
Slides and audio from our event last week, featuring fund managers running money in every major market in the world...
08 Dec 2021 We are the (ESG) champions
Investment trusts tend to be amongst the best-performing ESG strategies in the combined open- and closed-ended universe…
09 Sep 2021 Fund Analysis
DGN offers core exposure to high quality Asian companies and trades on a wide discount…
25 Aug 2021 Is the UK’s debt a ticking time bomb?
Our analyst argues Rishi is right to worry about government debt and borrowing…
31 Mar 2021 East End boys and West End girls
Our analysts debate whether the US or Asian stock markets will deliver the best returns over the next decade…
24 Feb 2021 Fund Analysis
DGN has returned to form with strong five-year performance despite extremely volatile markets…
08 Sep 2020 Fund Analysis
DGN’s focus on quality could prove attractive if the economic situation in Asia deteriorates…
26 Aug 2020 Trump v. Biden
Two of our analysts debate who will win the US election and what that means for markets…
05 Mar 2020 Don't panic: the case for investing in Asia this ISA season
We examine the relationship between stock market and GDP growth, before debating the case for an allocation to Asia...
13 Feb 2020 Fund Analysis
DGN has been performing strongly thanks to good stock-picking…
28 Aug 2019 Quality street: can the dominant style continue to outperform?
For several years, quality as an investing style has dominated, outperforming both value and growth. We examine why the case for quality remains strong and the importance of taking an active approach…
12 Aug 2019 Fund Analysis
This Asia focused trust remains on a far wider discount than its peers despite a marked improvement in performance...
10 Oct 2018 Information overload
Our analysis shows the long term case for emerging markets remains largely unaffected by much of the negative newsflow surrounding the sector...
01 Oct 2018 Fund Analysis
This Asia Pacific ex Japan trust has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, with exposure to technology and China reflecting a new tilt towards quality...
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