We invest in companies that serve a purpose in society.
We look beyond ESG presentations. We are aware of a growing trend of "greenwashing" because it looks "good." We dislike tick boxers. We always have. For us, ESG considerations are a basic operating system for any business that wants to survive, let alone thrive in the times ahead. Some managements may see it as a necessary evil (green washing) while those that are blessed with a long-term mindset will ably capitalize on the emerging opportunities taking their companies to the next level.
Our companies may be asset rich or growing, serving a niche. Some of our companies are leaders and have an advantage over competition while others are challengers, going after a industry leader or even expanding the addressable market. Each company is analysed differently because each company is unique in its own way.
We access our network of analysts, industry specialists and investors to cross check and learn. We invest across sectors and mention a few below.
Founded In: 2005
FY19 Revenue: $28m
Number of Employees: 150
Revenue Split: Americas 61%, Asia 25%, Others 14%
HeiQ is a Swiss based company providing world class technology that adds functionality to textiles, offering benefits such as improved cooling or warming, water repellence, odour prevention, air purification and antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal protection. With the size of the global textile chemical market estimated at $25bn, HeiQ has a large addressable market, with plenty of growth potential. Across its various technologies, HeiQ now serves over 300 household brands, including IKEA, M&S, Burberry and even Cornelia James, supplier of gloves to Her Majesty the Queen.
HeiQ’s Viroblock technology, introduced in 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a game changer for the company. The product is an antiviral and antibacterial agent suitable for a wide range of textiles and its use in a variety of medical wear products, including protective face masks and surgical gowns, has dramatically raised the profile of the company and opened up a whole host of new customer acquisition opportunities.
Diagnostics including tests for COVID-19
Founded In: 1987
FY 20 Revenue: £10m
Number of Employees: 146
Revenue Split: UK 7%, Europe 28%, America 18%, Others 47%
Omega Diagnostics Group
Omega is a medical diagnostics company specialising in food intolerance, CD4 and infectious disease testing. 2020 was a transformational year for the company, as it applied its infectious disease testing expertise to the development of solutions to support healthcare authorities’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company is now engaged in the production of COVID-19 antibody lateral flow test kits as part of the UK Government’s Rapid Test Consortium and (subject to regulatory approval) will soon begin production of COVID-19 antigen lateral flow test kits for the Consortium. These products play a vital role in the Government’s efforts to contain the pandemic, providing timely data on the prevalence of the disease and on the effectiveness of the UK’s vaccination programme.
The company’s VISITECT CD4 testing solutions, which received World Health Organisation preapproval in August 2020, have the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of people living with HIV in low and middle income countries. These lateral flow tests are currently the only point of care instrument free tests for monitoring people living with HIV in the world. The fact that these tests can be used at home by patients is a huge benefit in countries where access to centralised healthcare is limited.
While volumes in the company’s food intolerance business suffered a little in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the company’s most established core business line and offers strong long term growth opportunities. Intolerance to over 50 foods can be detected with the company’s point of care Food Detective test, while intolerance to over 200 foods can be detected with the company’s laboratory based Foodprint test. Good progress is currently being made with Food Detective in China, with the company eyeing further opportunities in the US.
Ingredients and flavours
Founded In: 1886
FY 20 Revenue: £109m
Number of Employees: 358
Revenue Split: US 40%,
Europe 11% UK 7%, Others 42%
We have held shares in Treatt in our portfolio for over 10 years. The company has developed a strong position in the niche flavourings and fragrancies market, with its technical expertise (built up over more than 130 years) being highly prized by a multinational customer base.
The company has a particular expertise in beverage products and several of the company’s current offerings support the desire of many people to live healthier lives. For example, Treatt’s products can improve the taste of lower sugar alternative products and replace artificial flavourings with natural alternatives. Indeed, around 74% of Treatt’s current products are based on natural extracts.
The company also scores well on sustainability, using a by-product of the citrus industry that would otherwise go to waste to manufacture its citrus extract products, which account for around half of its annual revenues.
Diagnostics including tests for COVID-19
Founded In: 2017
FY19 Revenue: £3.3m
Number of Employees: 132
Revenue Split: UK 100%
Open Orphan Group
Open Orphan is a clinical research organisation with two core businesses divisions – hVIVO and Venn Life Sciences. Based in London, hVIVO is a world leader in human challenge study clinical trials that can be used to validate the efficacy of vaccines and other antiviral products. Operating from offices in Paris and the Netherlands, Venn Life Sciences provides drug development consultancy services to large pharmaceutical organisations.
hVIVO’s expertise in challenge studies has come into its own in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and, in October 2020, it secured a contract with the UK Government for the development of a human challenge study model for COVID-19. The business operates three quarantine clinics that can be used to support these COVID-19 challenge studies and is one of the very few businesses in the world capable of offering such capacity. The output from these studies will play a vital role in the development of effective vaccines against COVID-19.
hVIVO’s heritage in the development of challenge studies (it has successfully developed eight so far – the largest portfolio in the world), is likely to lead to an adjacent opportunity via its Disease in Motion® digital platform. Using the knowledge of virus progression that the company has built up over the years, this technology aims to provide a data enabled solution for wearable products that can be used to monitor the health of the wearer. This product has already attracted strong interest from large consumer electronics, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, so it may well become part of a comprehensive personal health monitoring solution in the coming years.
Disclaimer: Companies mentioned above are not a recommendation.
The companies listed above represent a sample of our holdings and we encourage you to visit the relevant company websites for the latest and most precise information. Their mention here is for illustrative purposes only, to demonstrate our diverse range of investments. Any mention of any company should not be taken as a recommendation or otherwise.
Over the last fifty plus years of the Fund’s existence, we have invested in many companies across several industries. The companies mentioned above reflect our investments as of 23 April 2021 and are subject to change, anytime and without any announcement or notice, due to corporate activity or general portfolio operation.