SICAV

Asian Opportunities Equity Fund

A concentrated portfolio of high-quality Asian companies.

ISIN LU1044875489 WKN A114WJ

3YR Return Annualised
(View Total Returns)

Total Assets
(USD)

10.35%
$180.7m

1YR Return
(View Total Returns)

Manager Tenure

13.98%
6yrs

Information Ratio
(5 Years)

Tracking Error
(5 Years)

0.93
4.35%

Inception Date 21-May-2014

Performance figures calculated in GBP

Other Literature

31-May-2020 - Eric C. Moffett, Portfolio Manager,
We are sanguine about the long-term prospects for Asia ex-Japan equities and the outlook for a recovery in the second half of this year as stability returns to China. The heightened tensions between the U.S. and China is a major concern and we expect their relationship to remain fragile ahead of U.S. elections. In particular, we recognise the potential negative implications of the U.S. hardening its stance toward China on the global semiconductor industry.
Eric C. Moffett
Eric C. Moffett, Portfolio Manager

Eric Moffett is a vice president of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. and T. Rowe Price Hong Kong Limited. He is the portfolio manager for the firm's Asia Opportunities equity strategy and chairman of the strategy's Investment Advisory Committee. 

Click for Manager Outlook
 

Strategy

Manager's Outlook

We remain sanguine on the long-term outlook for Asia ex-Japan equities and believe that we may see a recovery in the second half of the year. A key risk to this view is the timing of the peak in coronavirus cases and the duration of the lockdowns in the U.S. and Europe.

We view April as a critical month as more information on the virus emerge and we are hopeful that once we have seen the worst of the new coronavirus cases globally, we would eventually witness a recovery in the second half of the year. We think that a prolonged period of lockdowns and low activity in the U.S. and Europe will have profound implications for Asia. Investors are also awaiting the annual meetings of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, known as the "two sessions" which were usually held in March but were deferred due to the outbreak. Holding these key political events would be viewed as an indicator that the Chinese leadership views a return-to-normal environment has been achieved.

In broader Asia, the significant monetary and fiscal measures that were put in place by policymakers to stem the impact of the virus provide encouragement. In this respect, we think Asia ex-Japan may weather the coronavirus crisis and present better risk/reward opportunities.

We believe that Asia ex-Japan equity markets continue to offer opportunities to investors looking for attractively valued, high-quality companies that can successfully navigate this period of market stress. In China, we expect the consolidation theme to power through across industries especially as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and we continue to search for companies that will benefit from this acceleration. We also observed that companies are benefiting from import substitution due to the trade conflict with the U.S. The trade issue has prompted Chinese companies to source products locally and given the vulnerability of the global supply chain this trend will likely prevail. These domestic-focused companies could potentially emerge as global players over time.

We continue to view China's A share market as a rich hunting ground for quality names that can be added to the portfolio although the weakness in other markets in the region has shifted attention from these A-share names in the near term. Still, it is an area which our research analysts continue to scour for attractive opportunities.

Outside of China, while we leaned into the attractive valuations of India and ASEAN-member countries in a measured manner, we continue to manage our country bets due to the currency risks in these markets.

We believe that there will be behavioral changes within countries and industries as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and some may persist until the availability of better treatments and a vaccine. The likelihood of behavioral changes will depend on the magnitude of the outbreak and the pace at which market/business conditions return to normal thereafter. If the containment of the virus becomes prolonged and the situations within countries become more dire, there is a heightened chance that behavioral patterns will be altered beyond just one or two quarters. We assess beneficiaries of these behavior shifts.

Investment Objective

To increase the value of its shares, over the long term, through growth in the value of its investments. The fund invests mainly in a diversified portfolio of stocks of companies in Asia.

Investment Approach

  • Seeking long term capital appreciation to come from owning high quality businesses that will reliably compound earnings/ cash flow generation over time.
  • In Asia, this type of company tends to exhibit three key characteristics:
    • Established companies with leading market positions.
    • Good management teams who care about shareholder returns.
    • Returns-focused capital allocation and prudent balance sheet management.
  • Fundamental research is critical in helping us to identify these characteristics and exploit market inefficiencies:
    • Focus on the long term. Be patient.
    • Gain a better understanding of the durability of a company’s prospects than the market.
    • More accurately assess a company’s intrinsic value than other market participants.

Portfolio Construction

  • Typically 40-70 stock portfolio
  • Individual positions typically range from 0.50% to 6.00%.
  • Country and sector weightings a residual of stock selection.
  • Cash position typically less than 5%.

Performance (Class Q | GBP)

Annualised Performance

  1 YR 3 YR
Annualised
5 YR
Annualised
Since Inception
Annualised
Since Manager Inception
Annualised
Fund % 13.98% 10.35% 13.63% 14.66% 14.66%
Indicative Benchmark % 4.74% 5.35% 9.57% 10.23% 10.23%
Excess Return % 9.24% 5.00% 4.06% 4.43% 4.43%

Inception Date 21-May-2014

Manager Inception Date 21-May-2014

Indicative Benchmark: MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan Index Net

Data as of  30-Jun-2020

Performance figures calculated in USD

  1 YR 3 YR
Annualised
5 YR
Annualised
Since Inception
Annualised
Fund % 13.98% 10.35% 13.63% 14.66%
Indicative Benchmark % 4.74% 5.35% 9.57% 10.23%
Excess Return % 9.24% 5.00% 4.06% 4.43%

Inception Date 21-May-2014

Indicative Benchmark: MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan Index Net

Data as of  30-Jun-2020

Performance figures calculated in USD

Recent Performance

  Month to DateData as of 13-Jul-2020 Quarter to DateData as of 13-Jul-2020 Year to DateData as of 13-Jul-2020 1 MonthData as of 30-Jun-2020 3 MonthsData as of 30-Jun-2020
Fund % 4.20% 4.20% 10.73% 10.49% 21.48%
Indicative Benchmark % 5.98% 5.98% 8.24% 8.43% 17.12%
Excess Return % -1.78% -1.78% 2.49% 2.06% 4.36%

Inception Date 21-May-2014

Indicative Benchmark: MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan Index Net

Indicative Benchmark: MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan Index Net

Performance figures calculated in USD

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.  Source for fund performance: T. Rowe Price. Fund performance is calculated using the official NAV with dividends reinvested, if any. The value of an investment and any income from it can go down as well as up. Investors may get back less than the amount invested. It will be affected by changes in the exchange rate between the base currency of the fund and the subscription currency, if different. Sales charges (up to a maximum of 5% for the A Class), taxes and other locally applied costs have not been deducted and if applicable, they will reduce the performance figures. 

Where the base currency of the fund differs from the share class currency, exchange rate movements may affect returns.

Index returns shown with reinvestment of dividends after the deduction of withholding taxes. 

Effective 1 July 2018, the "net" version of the indicative benchmark replaced the "gross" version of the indicative benchmark. The "net" version of the indicative benchmark assumes the reinvestment of dividends after the deduction of withholding taxes applicable to the country where the dividend is paid; as such, the returns of the new benchmark are more representative of the returns experienced by investors in foreign issuers. Historical benchmark performance has been restated accordingly. 

31-May-2020 - Eric C. Moffett, Portfolio Manager,
Most Asia ex-Japan equity markets fell in May due to rising geopolitical risks as friction between the U.S. and China intensified. Indian stocks also weakened as the nationwide lockdown was extended and many investors were unimpressed by the government’s economic stimulus package. Stock selection in India, particularly in financials such as Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB), contributed to the slight underperformance of the fund. The pandemic-induced lockdown took a toll on businesses and the extension of the moratorium on loan repayments pressured banks. However, KMB has a massive capital cushion that will likely allow it to weather coronavirus-related stress. Stock choices in the Philippines also curbed performance particularly Jollibee Foods which turned unprofitable in the first quarter due to the shutdown of its stores as a result of the coronavirus. We think this is temporary and we continue to like Jollibee’s cash-generative business. In contrast, stock selection in China was by far the biggest positive contributor to relative returns. Songcheng Performance, one of the better-managed, show-based Chinese theme park operators with a good value-for-money proposition, lifted returns. It has a net cash business which will likely benefit from the resumption of domestic travel and leisure growth.

Holdings

Total
Holdings
51
Largest Holding Alibaba Group Holding 7.89% Was (31-Dec-2019) 7.36%
Other View Full Holdings Quarterly data as of 30-Jun-2020
Top 10 Holdings 48.92% View Top 10 Holdings Monthly data as of 30-Jun-2020

Largest Top Contributor^

Treasury Wine Estates
By 1.13%
% of fund 3.57%

Largest Top Detractor^

Alibaba Group Holding
By -2.48%
% of fund 7.88%

^Absolute

Quarterly Data as of 31-Mar-2020

Top Purchase

Treasury Wine Estates (N)
3.57%
Was (31-Dec-2019) 0.00%

Top Sale

Samsung Electronics
2.12%
Was (31-Dec-2019) 6.58%

Quarterly Data as of 31-Mar-2020

31-Mar-2020 - Eric C. Moffett, Portfolio Manager,

Under the difficult market environment in the first quarter where attention shifted to the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak and away from the U.S.-China trade rift that dominated markets in 2019, we took the opportunity to invest in high-quality companies that traded at prohibitive valuations prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

We added risk in the portfolio and made significant changes to our holdings. When the coronavirus cases in north Asia hit their peak during the quarter, we saw it as an opportunity to add new names and in total we initiated positions in 14 companies in the first quarter. We used proceeds from the gains that we booked in existing positions that have fared well in China and technology hardware. We also eliminated names where we have lower conviction and replaced them with opportunities that offered a better risk/reward profile.

We believe our portfolio is well positioned for an environment where the global coronavirus cases will peak in the second quarter, which raises the likelihood of a recovery in the second half of 2020.

While we look at companies that will benefit from the demise or containment of COVID-19, our preference for high-quality companies that are gaining market share and are not solely dependent on exports remains. We continue to invest in steady earnings compounders - companies that can deliver consistent earnings regardless of the economic cycle. We favor businesses, which are run by reliable managements teams, and are cash-generative with attractive dividend yield. However, we are open to investing in quality companies with a degree of leverage but are being punished unreasonably by the market.

From a country perspective, we ended the quarter with India as our biggest relative position while China remained our largest country position in absolute terms, and although we turned underweight to this market, some of our holdings still have meaningful exposure to the China market. We do not make country bets given our bottom-up investment approach; we remain watchful of the currency movement in the region.

From a sector perspective, we increased our allocation to consumer discretionary, our biggest relative overweight for the quarter. We turned more overweight to consumer staples while reducing our allocation to communication services and information technology, two of our biggest sector underweights.

India Overweight Enhanced: Focus on Quality Names with More Reasonable Valuations

We substantially increased our overweight allocation to India as a result of our bottom-up investment process. We added to our position in quality-lender KMB as we saw the stock benefiting from a law that requires a variety of Indian companies to increase their foreign ownership by the end of March this year. Shares of these companies will then be able to form part of international stock market indices.

We also built positions in several Indian companies that are either well managed or are cash-generative companies that traded at more reasonable valuations following the virus-induced market weakness. They included Godrej Consumer Products, one of India's largest listed fast-moving consumer goods with a diversified emerging market exposure, and Havells India, the country's leading consumer electric appliances company that has a strong dealer/distribution network, wide product portfolio and in-house manufacturing. We also invested in Bharat Forge, a company that manufactures forging, machining and engineered products which has well-diversified auto and industrial customers and will likely deliver good returns over a three-year period despite near-term expected earnings weakness.

We Turned Underweight in China; Initiated Position in Wine Maker with China Exposure

In China, we became underweight at the end of the quarter as we opted to lock in gains from several communication services names and channeled the proceeds to more attractive opportunities in a bid to upgrade the portfolio. For example, we exited internet search engine Baidu, gaming company NetEase and online classifieds company 58.com. We decided to close our position in Baidu following the stock's outperformance as our concerns about its terminal value overshadowed potential gains from its buyback completion and signs of health care ad search recovery. We eliminated NetEase and 58.com following their double-digit returns last year. In addition, we exited home appliance maker Midea, an A-share which approached the 30% foreign ownership limit, and China Vanke, the country's largest homebuilder which saw slowing contract sales. Instead, we added to our position in Shimao Property, as earlier discussed.

We seized the market weakness to increase our position in select China A shares such as Songcheng Performance, one of the better-managed, show-based Chinese theme park operators. It has a net cash business which will benefit from the resumption of domestic travel and leisure growth once the coronavirus outbreak comes to pass and market conditions normalize.

While we exited several stocks during the quarter, we also took the opportunity to establish new positions in names that have been hit by the coronavirus outbreak but are likely to recover once operations return to normal or those that can weather the impact of pandemic or benefit from the post COVID-19 world. They include New Oriental Education, a provider of after-school educational services, which offered students online teaching services during the period, and we started to own the A shares of airport owner Shanghai International. Over the long term, we continue to see Shanghai International to gain exposure to the structural growth in China's outbound travelers and high-end luxury, largely cosmetic, spending. We think the company's earnings will re-accelerate, possibly in 2021-2022, as passenger and duty-free revenue resumes growth after the outbreak and Hong Kong protests.

We started to invest in China Yongda Automobiles, which we view as a share gainer in China's fragmented auto dealer industry that may benefit from growth in aftermarket revenue and potential merger and acquisition activities. We are bullish about the after-sales part of its business along with car sales and we view this as a quality cyclical stock to own.

In the quarter, we established a position in Australia-listed Treasury Wine Estates, the world's largest standalone winemaker, which sources half of its revenue from Asia, with the Penfolds wine brand in China as a key driver. While demand in the near term may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak, we believe the market may be underestimating the duration of the company's growth which we expect to be driven by the long-term market share gain of Penfolds wine in the growing China market, which also has an increasing preference for premium brands. The stock de-rated on the back of cashflow concerns, management turnover and China growth concerns. However, we think that with earnings growth, the market will begin to view the company as less of a high-risk wine business and more of a high-returning global fast-moving consumer goods business with attractive long-term growth prospects.

Overweight to Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples Sectors Bolstered

From a sector perspective, we increased our allocation to consumer discretionary, our biggest sector position in absolute and relative terms. We added cyclicality to the portfolio, acting on market weakness to invest in quality names which became more reasonably valued.

For instance, we began to invest in Samsonite, one of the world's largest travel luggage companies, which we view as a secular share gainer in a fragmented market. The Hong Kong-listed company's latest results showed that cash flow generation was positive, and liquidity would not be an issue. While 2020 profitability will be challenging, Samsonite will thrive should travel demand return.

We initiated positions in Zhongsheng Group, one of the biggest auto dealers in China, and Shenzhou International, one of the largest global textile suppliers, aside from the previously discussed new consumer discretionary names added to the portfolio such as China Yongda Automobiles, New Oriental Education and India's Bharat Forge.

Within the China auto opportunity set, we preferred auto dealers such as the abovementioned China Yongda which will benefit from the shift towards higher return and less volatile aftermarket services, away from new car sales. We favor dealers with favorable brand and geographic exposure, strong operational capability and sound capital allocation. In the next three years, China's auto sector will likely witness more consolidation as well as an upgrade in quality.

Shenzhou International, a vertically integrated garment manufacturer which counts Nike, Adidas, Uniqlo and Puma as among its key customers, was added to the portfolio when its stock price pulled back during the quarter. We view Shenzhou as a high-quality compounder and like its good capital allocation.

Within consumer staples, we moved more overweight as we found opportunities in quality names with more acceptable valuations. For example, we started to invest in Budweiser Brewing, one of the largest pan-Asian brewers in terms of profit and revenues, given its more palatable valuations following a share price correction since the initial public offering. We like the company's track record in premium beer positioning and best-in-class margins. We also added Unilever Indonesia, a domestic-focused quality name in Southeast Asia's largest economy.

Allocation to Communication Services and Information Technology Cut

We turned underweight in communication services as we took profits from the abovementioned Baidu, NetEase, and 58.com. We also exited HKT Trust, a positive contributor to relative performance during the quarter. In the information technology sector, we increasd our relative underweight as we closed our position in semiconductor names such as South Korea's SK Hynix and Taiwan-listed Mediatek that saw recent share prices gains amid expectations of a global semiconductor recovery and cut our position in Samsung Electronics following share price advances.

We used proceeds of the sale in these two sectors to build more compelling positions elsewhere. For instance, within the IT space, we initiated positions in ASML, a Dutch semiconductor equipment maker which has key markets in Asia. Aside from benefitting from the resiliency of memory prices even amid the coronavirus outbreak, we believe the market underestimates the potential revenue growth and gross margin expansion attributable to the mass adoption of extreme ultra-violet lithography technology into high-volume semiconductor manufacturing. ASML will be the sole supplier of this technology which we think will provide the company with a credible technology roadmap through 2030.

We Turned Underweight in Real Estate

In the real estate sector, we turned to a relative underweight as we exited Hysan Development, a Hong Kong commercial landlord, which has a strong financial position and focused on ensuring a stable absolute dividend. The coronavirus outbreak has broken our thesis in investing in the name and the company has adjusted its capital policy, presumably due to the uncertain rental outlook. We also eliminated China Vanke and instead added to Shimao Property, as earlier discussed.

Sectors

Total
Sectors
8
Largest Sector Consumer Discretionary 30.81% Was (31-May-2020) 31.52%
Other View complete Sector Diversification

Monthly Data as of 30-Jun-2020

Indicative Benchmark: MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan Index (unhedged)

Top Contributor^

Financials
Net Contribution 2.26%
Sector
0.41%
Selection 1.85%

Top Detractor^

Health Care
Net Contribution -0.78%
Sector
-0.78%
Selection
0.00%

^Relative

Quarterly Data as of 30-Jun-2020

Largest Overweight

Consumer Discretionary
By13.11%
Fund 30.81%
Indicative Benchmark 17.70%

Largest Underweight

Health Care
By-4.59%
Fund 0.00%
Indicative Benchmark 4.59%

Monthly Data as of 30-Jun-2020

31-May-2020 - Eric C. Moffett, Portfolio Manager,
Our conviction in stocks that rely on the strength of Asian consumption is reflected in our top overweight sectors - consumer discretionary and consumer staples. We started to invest in an attractively-valued home appliance maker that may benefit from its owner’s mixed ownership reform plan given the potential improvement in governance. We expect it to gain from the expected recovery of the domestic aircon business. We also took advantage of the market’s decline to continue building positions in quality companies that we own, including a dominant Chinese social media platform and an insurer with a unique Asian footprint.

Countries

Total
Countries
11
Largest Country China 37.75% Was (31-May-2020) 40.22%
Other View complete Country Diversification

Monthly Data as of 30-Jun-2020

Indicative Benchmark: MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan Index (unhedged)

Top Contributor^

China
Net Contribution 3.77%
Country
0.01%
Selection 3.76%

Top Detractor^

India
Net Contribution -0.70%
Country
0.04%
Selection
-0.73%

^Relative

Quarterly Data as of 30-Jun-2020

Largest Overweight

Hong Kong
By7.16%
Fund 15.67%
Indicative Benchmark 8.51%

Largest Underweight

China
By-8.19%
Fund 37.75%
Indicative Benchmark 45.94%

Monthly Data as of 30-Jun-2020

31-May-2020 - Eric C. Moffett, Portfolio Manager,
Hong Kong was the region’s worst-performing market and we took the opportunity to add to positions in oversold quality names. We invested in a property developer that appeared to be trading on trough valuation and has a resilient residential business with a solid balance sheet and limited risks that it will cut its dividend payments. We increased our holdings in an insurer whose new chief executive said there will not be any radical departure from the current successful business strategy. We also boosted our stake in a stock market operator, which may benefit from the potential shift of Chinese companies’ ADRs to Hong Kong if U.S-China relations worsen.

Team (As of 10-Jul-2020)

Eric C. Moffett

Eric Moffett is a vice president of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. and T. Rowe Price Hong Kong Limited. He is the portfolio manager for the firm's Asia Opportunities equity strategy and chairman of the strategy's Investment Advisory Committee. 

Mr. Moffett has 19 years of investment experience, 12 of which have been with T. Rowe Price. Prior to joining the firm in 2007, Mr. Moffett was an analyst with Fayez Sarofim & Company, where he covered the household products, communications equipment and lodging/leisure industries. Mr. Moffett also was employed as an associate at Audax Group and as a management consultant with Bain & Company.

Mr. Moffett earned an A.B., magna cum laude, in economics from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

  • Fund manager
    since
    2014
  • Years at
    T. Rowe Price
    12
  • Years investment
    experience
    19
Nick Beecroft

Nicholas Beecroft is a portfolio specialist in the Equity Division at T. Rowe Price, representing the firm's global equity strategies. He is a vice president of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. and T. Rowe Price International Ltd.

Mr. Beecroft has 18 years of investment experience, 14 of which have been with T. Rowe Price. He joined the firm in London in 2005 and spent many years working with our emerging markets equity team. Mr. Beecroft has been based in Hong Kong since 2011. Prior to joining T. Rowe Price, he was an investment analyst at Mercer Investment Consulting.

Mr. Beecroft earned a B.A, with honours, in contemporary European studies from the University of Southampton. He also has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

  • Years at
    T. Rowe Price
    15
  • Years investment
    experience
    19

Fee Schedule

Share Class Minimum Initial Investment and Holding Amount (USD) Minimum Subsequent Investment (USD) Minimum Redemption Amount (USD) Sales Charge (up to) Investment Management Fee (up to) Ongoing Charges
Class A $1,000 $100 $100 5.00% 160 basis points 1.77%
Class I $2,500,000 $100,000 $0 0.00% 75 basis points 0.85%
Class Q $1,000 $100 $100 0.00% 75 basis points 0.92%

Please note that the Ongoing Charges figure is inclusive of the Investment Management Fee and is charged per annum.

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GIPS® Information

T. Rowe Price ("TRP") claims compliance with the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS®). TRP has been independently verified for the twenty one- year period ended June 30, 2017 by KPMG LLP. The verification report is available upon request. Verification assesses whether (1) the firm has complied with all the composite construction requirements of the GIPS standards on a firm-wide basis and (2) the firm's policies and procedures are designed to calculate and present performance in compliance with the GIPS standards. Verification does not ensure the accuracy of any specific composite presentation.

TRP is a U.S. investment management firm with various investment advisers registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, and other regulatory bodies in various countries and holds itself out as such to potential clients for GIPS purposes. TRP further defines itself under GIPS as a discretionary investment manager providing services primarily to institutional clients with regard to various mandates, which include U.S, international, and global strategies but excluding the services of the Private Asset Management group.

A complete list and description of all of the Firm's composites and/or a presentation that adheres to the GIPS® standards are available upon request. Additional information regarding the firm's policies and procedures for calculating and reporting performance results is available upon request

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