Calculus VCT

Calculus Capital has been investing in small unquoted companies since 1999, primarily through its EIS fund. Calculus VCT launched in 2009 and co-invests in many of the same companies. 

Calculus VCT has net asset of £21.1 million (February 2021), and a portfolio of 37 qualifying companies (August 2021). 

Under the current offer, Calculus VCT aims to raise up to £10 million with a £5 million overallotment facility. 

Important: The information on this website is for experienced investors. It is not advice nor a research or personal recommendation to invest. If you’re unsure, please seek advice. Investments are for the long term. They are high risk and illiquid and can fall as well as rise in value, so you could get back less than you invest.

Read important documents and apply

Highlights

  • Aims to invest in growth-focused, unlisted businesses, in many cases co-investing alongside the longstanding Calculus EIS fund
  • Current portfolio of around 37 companies in a diverse range of sectors
  • Experienced management team
  • Targets annual dividends of 4.5% of NAV – not guaranteed
  • Available for this tax year (2021/22) and next tax year (2022/23)
  • Minimum investment £5,000 – you can apply online

The manager

Calculus Capital was founded by John Glencross and Susan McDonald in 1999; both are still actively involved, serving as CEO and Chairman respectively. Calculus Capital is an experienced EIS and VCT fund manager and a pioneer in the tax-efficient arena, having launched the UK’s first approved EIS fund in 1999/2000. Calculus now has £119 million of funds under management or advice (July 2021).

The investment team is co-led by Alexander Crawford and Richard Moore who are responsible for sourcing and executing new deals, as well as advising portfolio companies. They are supported by a wider team of eight, including Dominic Harris, who acts as Head of Portfolio Management. The VCT and both EIS funds are managed by the same team due to the similarity of their investment mandates.

Investment strategy 

Calculus’s focus has always been the same, namely to back unlisted companies seeking development or scale-up capital that have:

  • Proven and competitive products or services
  • Strong management teams
  • Evidence of market opportunity
  • Primary constraint to growth is access to finance
  • Ability to structure investments, where appropriate, to include loans and preference shares

Most of the deals come to Calculus from its investor base and management teams it has backed in the past. Calculus believes its experience and longevity in the market ensures it receives high-quality deal flow from a variety of sources within its network.

Calculus due diligence process can take four to five months and is focused on the strengths of the management teams within each potential investee company. Calculus can even send an executive coach to evaluate management teams.

Calculus aims to find and back capable management teams in companies that are already successfully selling products and services. Sectors of interest include technology, healthcare, and media. Once the VCT finds successful founders, it is likely to back them in their successive ventures. 

Exit track record

Calculus Capital has achieved a number of exits over the years. A recent example is shown below. Please remember, past performance is not a guide to the future. 

Mologic – Calculus VCTMologic

Mologic is developing a new generation of diagnostic devices to improve accuracy or target diseases for which Point of Care diagnosis is underdeveloped. Its first two products have received an EU CE mark. 

In March 2020, Mologic received £1 million UK Aid to develop a rapid diagnostics test for Covid-19. In April the company launched its Covid-19 laboratory-based antibody test and entered into a manufacturing agreement to supply up to 46,000 tests per day. In June 2020, Mologic’s rapid diagnostic test was certified with a CE mark. The antibody test provides health professionals with an accurate indication of the presence of antibodies within ten minutes. 

Calculus Capital first invested in 2015 to support Mologic’s development efforts and then provided a further £500,000, including £200,000 from the VCT, in April 2018. The VCT exited its position in July 2021, after Mologic was acquired by Global Access Health, a not-for-profit company which was launched in collaboration with the Soros Economic Development Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The exit generated a return of 3.6x based on the initial VCT investment in 2018 together with repayment of loan notes and associated interest.

Covid-19 impact

Following the impact of Covid-19 the NAV per share was revised to 65.07p in March 2020, down from 70.20p (February 2020). The NAV has since recovered to 67.02p in May 2021, after paying a dividend of 3.2p over the period. 

Calculus believes the VCT was relatively shielded from more adverse effects due to its significant cash allocation (50.5% as at February 2020) and its holdings in life sciences companies, several of which benefited by developing COVID-19 related products. 

Portfolio overview

As of August 2021, Calculus VCT held investments in 37 qualifying companies. In addition, the VCT has large positions in three money market funds. As at 31 July 2021, 26.8 % of net assets of the trust was held in Aberdeen Sterling Liquidity Fund, Goldman Sachs Sterling Liquidity Fund and Fidelity Sterling Liquidity Fund. No single investee company accounts for more than 4.7% of net assets (31 July 2021).

In the year to February 2021, the company invested c.£5 million across 10 new qualifying investments of which four were follow-on deals. The latest available portfolio breakdown is shown below, as at February 2021. 

Asset allocation breakdown

Source: Calculus Capital, asset allocation by value, February 2021.

Examples of portfolio companies

eConsult – Calculus VCTeConsult Health – recent investment

Founded by four GPs, eConsult is a digital triaging service for medical practices.

Within the eConsult platform, patients can access self-help information or complete an ‘e-consultation’ which uses a mixture of free text and structured clinical questions based on guidance from the NHS, Clinical Knowledge Summaries, and NICE (National Institute for Health & Care Excellence). The service then bundles the patient’s details, case history, and symptoms into a simple format, helping practices process cases in just 2-3 minutes, rather than the average 10-minutes GP slot.

The company experienced significant growth in 2016 following the introduction of centralised government funding for online consultation, it then gained further adoption during the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, eConsult is live in over 3,200 NHS GPs and is fully integrated within the NHS app, providing coverage to nearly 30 million patients.

Calculus participated in a £7 million funding round for the company in February 2021, investing £750,000 through the VCT. The investment will be used to further develop the company’s position within the NHS and to support the rollout of its Urgent and Emergency care tool, and outpatient triaging. 

Arecor – Calculus VCTArecor Therapeutics (largest holding)

Span out from Unilever in 2007, Arecor Therapeutics is a global biopharmaceutical company that is targeting improvements in patient care by enhancing existing therapeutic products to bring innovative medicines to the market. The business has developed its own technology platform which it will use to develop an internal portfolio of proprietary products, as well as partnering with other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to enhance reformulations of existing products.

The company is currently focused on two product areas: diabetes and specialist hospital use. The diabetes division is developing an ultra-rapid acting insulin formulation that clinical studies show to be superior to existing insulin products for patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who self-administer insulin. The business aims to enter into licensing agreements with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, potentially generating significant milestone payments and royalties, not guaranteed. The specialist hospital use division looks to partner with leading pharmaceutical companies to enhance existing product lines. An example is Arecor’s partnership with Hikma, the £5.7 billion London listed pharmaceuticals business. 

The VCT invested £533,000 into the company in October 2020 in the form of loan notes. Calculus then participated in the company’s £20 million IPO on AIM in June 2021. This is now the VCT’s largest position, representing 4.7% of the investment portfolio (31 July 2021).

Air Leisure Group Limited

As is to be expected, not all investments work out. Air Leisure Group operated and owned trampoline parks across Europe. The company opened its first site in Gloucester in October 2015 before expanding into Denmark with three new sites.

Unfortunately, due to difficult trading conditions, the company went into administration in early 2019. The VCT had invested £200,000 in 2017, this was written down in full.

Performance and dividends

The VCT targets a regular annual dividend of 4.5% of NAV. Dividends are variable and not guaranteed. The dividend track record and annual performance data is shown below. However, past performance is not a guide to the future. 

NAV and cumulative dividends per share (p)

Source: Morningstar. Past performance is no guide to the future. Share class first launched in 2016. Dividends are variable and not guaranteed. The bar chart shows net asset value and cumulative dividends per share for the period 31 Dec 2015 to 30 Dec 2021.

Dividends paid per calendar year

Source: Morningstar. Past performance is not a guide to the future. Dividends are not guaranteed. The graph shows the dividends paid per calendar year to 30 June 2021.

Average dividend yield (% of NAV) history

Calendar year Dividend as % of NAV
2017 4.65%
2018 4.79%
2019 4.56%
2020 4.81%
YTD 0%

Source: Morningstar. Average dividend yields are based on the dividends paid over the period divided by the monthly average NAV of the VCT over the same period. Past performance is no guide to the future.

Risks: important

This, like all investments available through Wealth Club, is only for experienced investors happy to make their own investment decisions without advice.

VCTs are high-risk so should only form part of a balanced portfolio and you should not invest money you cannot afford to lose. They also tend to be illiquid and hard to sell and value. Before you invest, please carefully read the Risks and Commitments and the offer documents to ensure you fully understand the risks. 

To retain the tax benefits, VCTs should be held for at least five years. If you sell VCT shares and reinvest in new shares of the same VCT (including any mergers) within six months, tax relief can be restricted. Tax rules can change and benefits depend on circumstances.

VCTs can now only invest new money in growth capital deals. Management buyouts, replacement capital deals and investments in mature companies are no longer permitted. This results in considerably higher risks.

Calculus Capital has an exclusive focus on EIS and VCT investments, both of which are subject to HMRC rules, which can change frequently. This could leave the firm and its investee companies vulnerable if rules change unfavourably in future.

Charges and savings

A summary of the main charges and savings is shown below. The net initial charge shown includes the Wealth Club saving and any discounts. The investment may have additional charges and expenses: please see the provider documents, including the Key Information Document, for more details.

Please note, capacity – for the offer or any early bird savings – can be reached early, and we may not be notified of this by the VCT in real time.

Full initial charge 5%
Early bird discount 0.5%
Wealth Club initial saving 2.35%
Existing shareholder discount 0.5%
Net initial charge through Wealth Club (new investors) 2.15%
Net initial charge through Wealth Club (existing shareholders) 1.65%
Annual management charge 1.75%
Annual administration charge See documents
Performance fee 20%
Annual rebate from Wealth Club (for three years) 0.10%

More detail on the charges

Deadlines

  • Deadline for early bird saving: 28 January 2022
  • Deadline for receipt of applications for final allotment in 2021/22: 31 March 2022
  • Deadline for receipt of applications for final allotment in 2022/23: 26 August 2022

Dividend reinvestment scheme

There is a dividend reinvestment scheme which allows shareholders to reinvest future cash dividend payments in new shares, if desired. As these are new shares they should be eligible for tax relief (you will need to claim this on your tax return or directly with HMRC) and the shares will count towards the VCT annual subscription limit.

Share buyback policy

The board intends to buy back shares at a discount of no greater than 5% (or 10% in respect of buybacks made before 28 February 2020) to the most recently published net asset value per share. This is subject to availability and board and shareholder approval. 

Discount history

VCT shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange. Similar to investment trusts, the share price can fluctuate and can be different from the VCT’s net asset value (NAV), i.e. the value of the VCT’s underlying investments. The difference between the share price of a VCT, and its net asset value per share, is called a discount.

The charts show the five-year discount to net asset value history of Calculus VCT based on the closing share price at the end of each month, divided by the latest net asset value at the time. Past performance is not a guide to the future. Investors looking to sell their VCT shares may get a better price using the VCT’s share buyback facility, although this is not guaranteed.

Discount to NAV since inception

Morningstar, 30 June 2021. Discount is the closing share price at the end of each month, divided by the latest net asset value at the time. Rolling 12 month average is this figure averaged over the year.

Annual rebate when you invest through Wealth Club

The Calculus VCT offer includes an annual rebate for Wealth Club investors, payable for the first three years. This is a rebate of our renewal commission and should be equivalent to 0.10% of the Net Asset Value of the Offer Shares issued to you when you invest. You will find the terms and conditions for annual rebates within our Terms of Business.

Our view

With assets of around £21.1 million, this is one of the smallest established VCTs currently fundraising. It gives access to many of the investments also featured in the Calculus EIS fund, but with a much lower entry point – the minimum investment for this VCT is £5,000, compared with £30,000 for the EIS Fund.

The association with Calculus Capital’s EIS investment mandates has allowed the VCT to build a comparatively well diversified portfolio when compared with other smaller VCT offerings. The VCT has a diverse portfolio of over 37 companies, with no single investee company accounting for more than 4.7% of net assets.

Wealth Club aims to make it easier for experienced investors to find information on – and apply for – tax-efficient investments. You should base your investment decision on the provider's documents and ensure you have read and fully understand them before investing. This review is a marketing communication. It is not advice or a personal or research recommendation to buy the investment mentioned. It does not satisfy legal requirements promoting investment research independence and is thus not subject to prohibitions on dealing ahead of its dissemination.

The details

Type
Generalist
Target dividend
4.5% of NAV
Initial charge
5%
Initial saving via Wealth Club
2.85% (3.35% for existing shareholders)
Net initial charge
2.15% (1.65% for existing shareholders)
Annual rebate
0.10%
Funds raised / sought
£10.0 million sought
Deadline
28 Jan 2022
Last updated: 15 September 2021

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