Calculus VCT

Early bird saving of 0.5% on the initial charge

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. 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.

The Calculus VCT has net asset of £17.5 million, and a portfolio of 31 companies. 

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.

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Highlights

  • Aims to invest in growth-focused, unlisted businesses, in many cases co-investing alongside the longstanding Calculus EIS fund
  • Current portfolio of around 30 companies in a diverse range of sectors
  • Experienced management team
  • Option to invest by monthly standing order
  • Targets annual dividends of 4.5% of NAV – not guaranteed
  • Existing shareholders receive a 0.5% loyalty discount
  • Available for 2020/21 and 2021/22 tax years
  • Minimum investment £5,000

The manager

Calculus Capital was founded by John Glencross and Susan McDonald in 1999; 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, raising £1 million.

Calculus has won the EIS Association Awards ‘Best EIS Fund Manager’ five times as well as Best EIS Fund Manager at the 2018 Growth Investor Awards: note past performance is not a guide to the future.

In addition to managing the VCT, Calculus manages its EIS fund and the media focused Creative Content EIS fund. 

The business has £140 million of assets under management as at 31 July 2020, and the VCT has assets of around £17.5 million (February 2020). 

Investment strategy 

Calculus’s focus has always been the same, namely to back 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 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 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. 

Synpronics – Calculus VCTSynpromics

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. 

Covid-19 impact

Given the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic on the global economy, the Manager has completed a review of the portfolio and undergone a revaluation of its holdings. Since the February 2020 year end, the NAV has twice been revalued, initially to 65.1p as at 31 March 2020 (a fall of 6.7 pence from 30 November 2019) and then to 67.01p as at 31 May 2020. 

The impact on the NAV of the trust has been limited due to two key factors. Firstly, as at 29 February 2020, the VCT held £8.8 million (50.5%) of its £17.5 million net assets in cash or money market funds. Secondly, the VCT has exposure to companies engaged in the development of a diagnostics test, as is the case for Mologic, a £301k position in the VCT, and a vaccine for Covid-19, as is the case for Scancell, a £178k position. 

Portfolio overview

As of February 2020, the Calculus VCT held 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. No single investee company accounts for more than 4.3% of net assets (February 2020).

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 – Calculus VCTRaindog Films – recent investment

Raindog Films is an example of a recent investment by Calculus Capital. 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.

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, and is ready for manufacture and global distribution. The antibody test will provide 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. The company raised a further £4 million in April 2018 which was led by Foresight with funds managed by Calculus investing £500,000 including £200,000 from the VCT. 

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 of the D share class is shown below. However, past performance is not a guide to the future. 

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 10/3/2016 - 30/06/2020.

Source: Calculus Capital. Past performance is not a guide to the future. Dividends are not guaranteed.

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. 

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 0.5%
Wealth Club initial saving 2%
Existing shareholder discount 0.5%
Net initial charge through Wealth Club (new investors) 2.5%
Net initial charge through Wealth Club (existing shareholders) 2%
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

  • The first allotment will take place no later than 1 April 2021. 
  • The closing date for application in the 2020/21 tax year is 31 March 2021
  • The offer will close at 5pm on 27 August 2021
  • Investors whose applications are received by 31 January 2021 will benefit from a 0.5% early application discount

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.

Our view

With assets of around £17.5 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, 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 31 companies, with no single investee company accounting for more than 4.3% of net assets.

Read important documents and apply

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
2.5%
Net initial charge
2.5% (2% for existing shareholder)
Annual rebate
0.10%
Funds raised / sought
£10.0 million sought
Deadline
31 Jan 2021 for early bird saving
Last updated: 8 September 2020

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