Two of the three largest investment trusts investing in China are set to merge after Fidelity China Special Situations (£999m) and abrdn China investment company (£172m) announced plans to combine.
Shareholders of abrdn China will be offered the opportunity to roll over their shares into Fidelity China Special Situations. There will also be a cash exit worth up to 33% of share capital at a 2% discount to the net asset value. The deal is subject to shareholder approval at the end of the first quarter of 2024.
If it is successful, the new company is expected to have £1.2bn in assets under management and would remain trading as Fidelity China Special Situations. It will continue to be managed by Dale Nicholls.
Shareholders of the enlarged trust will benefit from a lower ongoing charges figure (OCF) and a drop in the second tier of management fees above £1.5bn of net assets to 0.65%, down from the current 0.7%.
Mike Balfour, Fidelity China Special Situations chairman, said: “The benefits of an enlarged vehicle with additional liquidity, cementing the company’s status as the leading constituent of the China investment company sector. It also helps spread costs over a larger base of assets, thereby reducing the ongoing charges for both new and existing shareholders.”
Helen Green, chair of abrdn China Investment Company, said the Fidelity trust was the “clear leader in the China investment company sector” and that this represented the “best practicable option” for shareholders.
Fidelity China Special Situations has been the best performing trust in the IT China/Greater China sector over the past decade, returning 133.4%, while abrdn China has made just 9.7%. The MSCI China benchmark index, for comparison, has made 71.6%.