AstraZeneca

This stock is not currently held in the Woodford portfolios

Share Price

Market Quotes by TradingView

Commentary

Recent portfolio activity

It has been widely reported that the Woodford Equity Income Fund has been experiencing outflows in recent months and, when this happens, obviously we must raise capital to meet those redemptions. This can involve some tough decisions but the discipline of managing redemptions can lead to greater conviction in the overall strategy, by forcing a fund manager to prioritise positions within the portfolio.

In recent months, Neil has accessed liquidity across the market cap spectrum. He’s exited several small and mid-sized companies, such as Lancashire, Equiniti and Softcat. He’s also accessed liquidity in our unquoted portfolio, a part of the market that is often perceived as illiquid, by selling the fund’s position in AJ Bell. Meanwhile, Gigaclear has been in receipt of a bid. Inevitably, some of the fund’s larger positions have also been reduced.

There are all sorts of things to triangulate when making decisions about where to access liquidity and our ultimate focus is on maintaining the shape of the overall portfolio, in order to deliver the long-term outcomes that investors expect, in terms of income and total return. This involves ensuring different portfolios have an appropriate exposure to overarching sectors and themes, within the context of their individual mandate constraints.

With all this in mind, we have been reducing exposure to AstraZeneca in recent months across all mandates. The long-term investment thesis for AstraZeneca remains appealing, in our view. The business has been successfully transformed under the leadership of Pascal Soriot and we do not believe that this is fully reflected in its current share price. We are still attracted, in particular, to the AstraZeneca pipeline story and healthcare innovation, more broadly, is a long-term theme that we want all of the Woodford mandates to be exposed to.

Not a great deal has changed as far as the investment case for AstraZeneca is concerned. But a lot of other stocks have become increasingly attractive from a valuation perspective. As always, we are keen to position the portfolios towards stocks where the gap between current share price and our judgement of the long-term fundamental valuation opportunity is the widest. These judgements are always fluid but the opportunity in domestically-exposed companies has become increasingly attractive and the portfolios are evolving to take advantage. This has meant adding further to Lloyds and several housebuilders such as Barratt Developments, Crest Nicholson, Taylor Wimpey and a new position in Bovis. Meanwhile, we have also added to Provident Financial, Babcock International and NewRiver REIT amongst several others. All of these businesses have seen share price weakness at times, so far in 2018 which has increased their appeal from the perspective of valuation.

Overall, therefore, the process of managing an open-ended fund through a period of redemptions has its challenges, but perversely, it is a discipline through which our conviction in the long-term prospects of the portfolios can be reinforced even further.

Mitchell Fraser-Jones
21 March 2018

Evidence of transformation continues to mount

AstraZeneca released full year results towards the end of last week and we have subsequently had the opportunity to catch up with management. In short, this was a solid set of results, in our view, and we are encouraged that the evidence of a return to growth continues to mount.

As chief executive, Pascal Soriot said in the results statement, “AstraZeneca’s revenues improved over the course of the year, a sign of how our company is steadily turning a corner. Strong commercial execution helped us bring our science to more patients, making the most of our exciting pipeline”.

The company’s new product launches, Tagrisso (lung cancer), Imfinzi (immune-oncology asset, already approved in bladder cancer, in late-stage development for other indications) and Lynparza (ovarian and breast cancer) are all tracking ahead of expectations, which bodes well for the years ahead, as does the prospect of further commercial launches. Meanwhile, a strong performance from the company’s emerging market franchise is also encouraging.

There was some focus in the market on the revenue decline delivered in 2017 but that should not have come as a surprise from a business which has been navigating its way through a so-called ‘patent cliff’ (where several highly profitable drugs lost their patent protection in quick succession, exposing them immediately to generic competition) for several years. As investors, we are guided more by the clinical data, the pipeline potential and the early signs of success from recently approved therapies. In this regard, we have been impressed by what has been delivered by the company and it all points to a return to growth in the years ahead.

Across a broad spread of disease areas, the company has developed new ground-breaking therapies which have significant commercial potential. Very little of what we believe the company will achieve is reflected in today’s share price, making the investment case for AstraZeneca very attractive from the perspective of valuation.

Mitchell Fraser-Jones
8 February 2018

Neil's View

Across a broad spread of disease areas the company is developing new ground-breaking therapies which have significant commercial potential.27 July 2017

As with any ongoing clinical trial there is a degree of uncertainty about how the Mystic trial will conclude. Arguably the market has become overly-infatuated with the importance of Mystic to the AstraZeneca investment case. We believe the company is on the right path for a return to growth regardless of the outcome of Mystic.6 February 2017

.​.​.under the leadership of Pascal Soriot the R&D division has been liberated and the late stage portfolio has been transformed from one of the poorest in the industry to arguably the best.20 May 2014

Woodford Investment Management Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (firm reference number 745433). Incorporated in England and Wales, company number 10118169. Registered address 9400 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2HN.

Woodford Patient Capital Trust plc is incorporated in England and Wales, company number 09405653. Registered as an investment company under section 833 of the Companies Act 2006. Registered address Beaufort House, 51 New North Road, Exeter, EX4 4EP.

© 2019 Woodford Investment Management Ltd.
All rights reserved.

Are you sure?

By disagreeing you will no longer have access to our site and will be logged out.

Privacy Preference Center

Experience Tracking

Lets our analytics service track you across our different websites and enables data sharing among our different marketing tools.

AMCV_[Tracker ID]@AdobeOrg (Adobe), [Tracker ID]@AdobeOrg (Adobe)
Adobe Analytics (helps us provide you with more relevant experiences and content based on your likely interests). Cookies: demdex, dextp, dpm, DST, DSTJS
Twitter personalisation (by better understanding how devices are related, Twitter can use information from one device to help personalize the Twitter experience on another device). Cookies: personalization_id
Heap Analytics (provides metrics on user behaviour and actions throughout the site). Cookies: _gid, _hp2_id.[Tracker ID],_hp2_props.[Tracker ID], _ga, _mkto_trk, optimizelyBuckets, optimizelyEndUserId, optimizelySegments, raygun4js-userid, _attribution_referrer, _csrf
Adobe Analytics (provides you with more relevant experiences and marketing messages based on your likely interests). Cookies: _tmae ,ev_sync_dd,ev_sync_yh,everest_g_v2,gglck

Traffic Metrics

Allows Woodford to aggregate information on website usage and popular content

_ga, _gid
Google Analytics (tracks and reports website traffic and user behaviour): Cookie: CONSENT
New Relic (application and server performance monitoring – allows us to spot problems with our website code and improve them to keep things running smoothly). Cookie: JSESSIONID
Adobe Analytics (provides you with more relevant experiences and marketing messages based on your likely interests). Cookies: __qca,__smToken, _ga, _mkto_trk, _rtbmedia

Search History

Populates the 'recent searches' section of the website navigation.

wf__recent_searches_untracked

Close your account?

Your account will be closed and all data will be permanently deleted and cannot be recovered. Are you sure?