Impax Environmental Markets PLC (LON:IEM) said 2018 was a challenging year for investors but the fundamentals underpinning the business remained strong with improving demand for its shares.
The investment firm, which focuses on alternative energy, pollution control, waste management, environmental support services and sustainable food and agriculture, said its ordinary share price ended last year at a premium to net asset value (NAV) of 1.4%.
Further growth opportunities seen
The shares had been trading at a maximum discount of 9.4% and a maximum premium of 5.2% during the year amid market volatility, particularly in the fourth quarter.
“Rising demand for our shares, predominantly from private investors, helped the company's share price to move from a significant discount to a small premium, which means that the returns for investors - the combination of share price movement and dividends paid - were well ahead of both comparative indices; indeed, the shares now trade generally at a premium to underlying NAV and we were able to issue shares out of treasury to meet investor demand,” chairman John Scott said.
“The board's view is that the issues and drivers propelling environmental markets, and the investment potential they offer, remain compelling.”
Impax sees further growth opportunities in environmental markets as governments take action to cut plastic wastes and Co2 emissions.
At the end of 2018, Impax had net assets of £450mln and NAV per ordinary share of 249.6p.
The NAV total return per ordinary share fell by 10.8%, reflecting a poor performance of smaller companies.
“In the circumstances, I feel that the company weathered the various storms well and it is heartening to see the steady inflow of new shareholders to our register,” Scott said.
Looking to the 2019 financial year, the group said it has made a good start with the NAV and share price having recovered some ground.
The group raised its dividend for the year to 3p per share from 2.5p.