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vendredi 17 avril 2009

Info fonds : BlackRock World Gold Fund

BlackRock's €9.5 billion mining manager Evy Hambro (pictured above) is unperturbed by recent falls in the gold price, believing its lustre will remain undimmed when the financial crisis is over.

Hambro recently took over the £1.5 billion (€1.7 billion) BlackRock Gold & General fund from long-time co-manager Graham Birch, who has gone on a sabbatical until 2010. 'He (Birch) says he is taking time out to "exhale",' Hambro says.

Hambro also runs the giant €3.4 billion BGF World Mining fund, the €3.4 billion BGF World Gold fund and the €659 million BlackRock World Mining Trust. His combined assets of some €9.5 billion now mark him out as one of Europe's largest fund managers by assets.

At the time of writing, the gold price was at $881 per troy ounce, significantly down from 12 months ago when it broke through the $1000 barrier. But Hambro dismisses the fall, believing the three to five year story of rising gold prices remains intact. Moreover, as he does not invest directly in gold, he is excited by the decoupling of gold equities from the gold price that he has witnessed in recent months.

'Gold equities have been perfoming strongly, it has been nice to see them outperforming the price of gold in the last six months,' he says, pointing out that prior to this they had lagged gold price rises. He thinks this trend of gold equities outperforming physical gold will continue as gold producers will face fewer headwinds.

'There has been pressure on gold companies coming from rapidly escalating costs,' he says. 'They faced rising oil prices, labour costs, steel costs as well as strong producer currencies such as the Australian dollar and South African rand. These factors are all moderating. What we will see in the coming years is a significant margin expansion in the gold sector and a much higher operating profit. This will continue the outperformance of gold equities versus the gold price.'

As well as being bullish on gold equities, he thinks negativity about the gold price has been overdone. He points to weak global production, the rise of gold ETFs and the fact gold is 'massively underowned' in China as tailwinds for the gold price. He does not expect people to desert the precious metal when normality returns to markets, as the crisis has shown that holding it has proved to be a sensible insurance policy.

Meanwhile, US hedge fund manager John Paulson recently paid $1.28 billion for a 11.3% stake in AngloGold Ashanti. Hambro thinks this move reflects the view that 'gold in the ground is better value than the US dollar.'

In Citywire's three year rankings for the gold and precious metals sector Hambro is ranked 6/20 over three years.

(Citywire - 17/04/09)

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