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Prusik CIO: Asian frontiers offer 'classic' opportunities

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Prusik CIO: Asian frontiers offer 'classic' opportunities

Post by VALUEPICK on Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:02 am

https://www.investmentweek.co.uk/investment-week/news/3003804/prusik-cio-asian-frontiers-offer-classic-opportunities

Heather Manners, CIO of Asian specialist boutique Prusik Investment Management, has tilted her $45m Asian Smaller Companies fund in favour of frontier markets such as Pakistan as she says they offer the "best growth opportunities" in the region.

Speaking to Investment Week, Manners (pictured) said the fundamentals in these frontier markets, as well as the domestic market in India, are ideal for companies to experience significant growth over the next few years and offer a "classic" emerging markets opportunity. 
She explained Pakistan is a clear example of a frontier market which has huge growth potential over the next few years, particularly as in 2015 China announced plans to build a corridor through the country to link it to the coast, in order to import and export goods.Since then, China has invested $47bn in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Manners said this investment, coupled with the demographics and political stability in the country, creates opportunities.

She said: "In Pakistan you have a good government, more democracy, law and order and around $50bn of investment from China building roads, railways, ports and power stations, which is key to employing the huge workforce. This is a classic emerging markets story.

"The reason why this is possible now is because the new government has more control, so there is greater stability within the region. This is allowing for business to start taking shape in a way it could not a few years ago.

"From our perspective, it is knowing which companies to back in this environment. For example, in Pakistan we have invested in power companies, banks and cement companies."

Meanwhile, she said India is another domestic economy experiencing what is known as a ‘demographic dividend' - the boost given to an economy when the work force expands relative to the non-working population.

She said: "India is a similar story to Pakistan but with a far larger population. The demographic dividend will come through in India, whereas in China it has already finished. 

"India is far more domestically-orientated than China, and it does not have big exports, which is probably a good thing in the current environment."

Furthermore, Manners added the political risk which surrounds US President Donald Trump means domestically-focused companies in these regions provide an opportunity to "hide" from his potentially damaging protectionist policies.

"Despite the political risk, it is still possible to hide in countries that are not big exporters like India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and invest in domestic stories which are growing regardless. 

Why wait for a disaster to occur in the West when these countries present good opportunities?"

In 2016, the Prusik Asian Smaller Companies fund rose 26% versus the FO Equity - Asia Pacific Ex Japan sector average of 22.7%, according to FE.
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