Calculus Capital has invested 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. Until 2015 it was known as Investec Structured Products Calculus VCT plc. In 2017 it consolidated its three share classes and merged with Neptune Calculus VCT.
Under the current offer, Calculus VCT aims to raise up to £10 million with a £10 million over-allotment facility.
- Aims to invest in growth-focused, unlisted businesses, in many cases co-investing alongside the long-standing Calculus EIS fund
- Current portfolio of around 30 companies in a diverse range of sectors
- Strong and experienced management team
- Option to invest by monthly standing order
- Targets annual dividends of 4.5% of NAV from summer 2019 – not guaranteed
- Minimum investment £5,000
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Calculus Capital was founded by John Glencross and Susan McDonald in 1996; both are still actively involved. 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 Capital had £172 million funds under management as at 31 July 2019. The VCT has assets of around £17.5 million (as at February 2020).
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Calculus’s focus has always been the same: unlisted companies seeking development or scale-up capital that have:
- A robust business model
- A strong management team
- Evidence of market opportunity
- Potential, in the manager’s view, of achieving a target IRR of 20%
Most of the deals come to Calculus via corporate advisers.
Calculus aims to find and back capable management teams in companies that are already successfully selling products and services. Sectors of interest include agritech, leisure, telecoms, transportation, healthcare and business services. 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.
Synpromics – recent exit
Synpromics is a Scottish biotech company and the market leader in gene control therapeutics.
Its synthetic promoters are designed to improve gene regulation and precisely control protein production, therefore, creating better targeted gene therapies. Its technology has wide applications, including potentially treating conditions such as haemophilia, liver and heart disease.
Calculus Capital first invested in 2015 and then in 2017. The total investment was £5.6 million through its EIS and VCT. In August 2019, Synpromics was acquired by AskBio, the American pioneer in gene therapeutics, for an undisclosed amount, allowing the VCT to achieve a profitable exit.
Air Leisure Group Limited – example of failure
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.
As of February 2020, the Calculus VCT holds investments in 31 qualifying companies, 26 of which are unquoted and five AIM-quoted. In addition, the VCT has large positions in three money market funds. As at February 2020, 32% of net assets of the trust was held in Aberdeen Sterling Liquidity Fund, Goldman Sachs Sterling Liquidity Fund and Fidelity Sterling Liquidity Fund.
In the year to February 2020, the company made 12 new qualifying investments of which seven were follow-on deals. The latest available portfolio breakdown is shown below, as at February 2020.
Source: Calculus Capital, asset allocation by value, February 2020.
Examples of portfolio companies
Raindog Films – recent investment
Raindog Films was co-founded in 2012 by Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth and former Chairman and CEO of Sony Music UK and Chairman of the Brit Awards, Ged Doherty.
The business has produced an award-winning slate of premium filmed entertainment and has established itself as a leading producer of important films. Recent projects include Official Secrets directed by Gavin Hood, starring Keira Knightley and Matt Smith, which opened to critical acclaim; Loving, directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga for which she earned an Oscar nomination and Eye in the Sky, directed by Gavin Hood featuring Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul. Raindog has an extremely talented team with impeccable connections, providing the ability to attract the best talent to work on projects. The team has been bolstered by the addition of writer/ producer and award-winning researcher Trish D Chetty who has joined Colin and Ged to implement the company’s growth plans and commitment to identify new writing, directing and production talent.
In February 2020, Calculus invested £1.9 million (£396,000 from the Calculus VCT), which will be used to facilitate Raindog Films’ ambitious plans to expand into TV drama, music content and documentaries.
Arecor is a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on creating more effective formulations of pre-existing drugs. To do so, it has developed its own technology, Arestat, which significantly improves drug stability in liquid formats, preventing drug breakdown.
The company is currently working on treating diabetes, a disease that is estimated to affect close to 415 million people worldwide. Arecor has developed three proprietary versions of insulin and glucagon drugs for rapid treatment and more effective glycemic control.
Aside from its own drug development, Arecor also partners with other pharmaceutical companies to reformulate and improve existing products.
Calculus led a £6 million funding round in September 2018 alongside Downing Ventures and Albion Capital. The investment will be used to fund clinical trials as well as drug development for other conditions.
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 of the D share class is shown below. However, past performance is not a guide to the future.
Source: Calculus Capital. Past performance is not a guide to the future. Dividends are not guaranteed.
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.
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
|Full initial charge||5%|
|Early bird discount||—|
|Wealth Club initial saving||2%|
|Existing shareholder discount||0.5%|
|Net initial charge through Wealth Club (new investors)||3%|
|Net initial charge through Wealth Club (existing shareholders)||2.5%|
|Annual management charge||1.75%|
|Annual administration charge||See documents|
|Annual rebate from Wealth Club (for three years)||0.10%|
More detail on the charges
- Invest by 28 August 2020 for allotment in the 2020/21 tax year.
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.
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.
With assets of around £15 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 is for this VCT is £5,000.
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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.
- Target dividend
- 4.5% of NAV
- Initial charge
- Initial saving via Wealth Club
- 2% (2.5% for existing shareholders)
- Net initial charge
- 3% (2.5% existing shareholders)
- Annual rebate
- Funds raised / sought
- £3.7 million / £10.0 million
- 28 Aug 2020 for next allotment