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Evans and Partners looks to delist LITs

Evans and Partners is seeking the nod from shareholders to convert its LITs to open-ended funds and to switch to Perpetual as responsible entity.

The largest of these is the $279 million Evans & Partners Global Disruption Fund (EGD), followed by the $155 million Global Flagship Fund (EGF) and the $125 million Asia Fund (EAF).

All three will seek shareholder approval at a December 2 virtual meeting for a January 29 delisting from the ASX.

Walsh and Company said the change could improve liquidity, as investors go from being in thinly-traded vehicles at discounts to NTA to being able to enter or exit for a sell spread of about 20 bps.

It is also looking to swap out current responsible entity Walsh and Company (owned by Evans & Dixon) to Perpetual Trustees.

Fund accounting will change from Evans-owned Australian Fund Accounting Services Pty Ltd to Mainstream.

The proposals maintain the investment strategy and the current fee structure. EAF, for example, will continue to charge 1.35% plus 10% of excess return each year.

Today's announcements come after a late-August review of LIT structure at Evans & Dixon. As at September end, the firm had four LITs trading on the ASX, with a combined market cap of about $580 million.

The smallest of these, the Evans & Partners Australian Flagship Fund (EFF) was slated for a termination on August 23 due to be completed mid-November.

The move away from closed-ended listed funds comes after Evans & Partners reported a statutory loss of $30.5 million in FY20, a year that included job cuts, leadership changes and troubles with its US real estate fund.

Since then, ASIC has identified breaches in its advisory business, co-founder Alan Dixon has sold his shareholding. Tony Pitt led 360 Capital has built a 19.5% shareholding in ED1, snagged a board position, and is now trying to but the entire company for about $143 million (at 61 cents per share).

Interestingly, Evans' suitor has been keen on closed-ended listed funds. In September, it ousted Elstree Investment Management at the Australian Enhanced Income Fund (AYF) and installed 360, after a long-winded battle with the AYF board.

It previously tried to launch a credit LIC of its own but pulled the brakes citing COVID, satisfying itself with AYF and an open-ended fund.

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