Neil Woodford’s position as portfolio manager of Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) looks in jeopardy after the fund reported a £232m loss and a significant write-down in the value of its portfolio.

The valuation of WPCT assets fell 21% from £748m to £591m during the three months to 26th September with chairman Susan Searle describing the first half of the year as ‘the most challenging period for the company since it floated in 2015’.

Neil Woodford said he was ‘very sorry’ for the ‘extremely disappointing six-month period’ shareholders in WPCT had experienced, saying: ‘While shareholders can be forgiven for thinking there are no positives, I continue to believe that the majority of the businesses we have invested in are making good progress.’

The fund’s board ‘continues to evaluate’ Woodford’s position as portfolio manager, and ‘remains in dialogue’ with rival portfolio managers about taking over, it said.

Shares in the trust have halved in value this year, with significant strain on the relationship between the board and Mr Woodford since the fund manager’s Equity Income Fund (EIF) was suspended in June following a run of redemptions.

In July the fund said it was considering dropping Woodford as its portfolio manager and had been approached by a number of other fund managers seeking the position occupied by the UK’s erstwhile most revered stockpicker; ‘we are focused on maximising value and restoring confidence in WPCT and its portfolio,’ Searle said.

WPCT has had to make a series of write-downs in the value of its holdings since the Equity Income Fund was gated, and fell out of the FTSE 250 earlier this month; shares were down just over 2% in early trading today at 43.10p.

 





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