13 March 2018
BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust plc (the “Company”)
Future Dividend Policy
As part of the Board’s overall strategy to reduce the discount at which the Company’s shares trade, the Board believes that enhancing demand for the Company’s shares and making them more attractive to new investors is an important component. Over the last few years, there has been a growing demand for investment trust shares from retail investors particularly for shares that offer an attractive, and regular dividend. With this in mind, the Directors in conjunction with the Investment Manager and the Company’s broker have reviewed the Company’s dividend policy. As a consequence, the Directors are proposing to amend the dividend policy as follows:
As the new policy is subject to shareholder approval at the 2018 AGM in May, the year to 31 December 2018 will represent a transitional period with three quarterly dividends of 1.25% of the respective quarter end NAVs for June, September and December 2018 being paid in August and November 2018 and February 2019 respectively. For illustrative purposes, based on the year-end US Dollar NAV of 710.17 cents per share, this would result in dividends of 26.63 cents being paid in respect of the 2018 financial year, representing a yield of 4.3% based on the share price at 31 December 2017 (which compares to the current dividend yield of 2.1% for the year to 31 December 2017).
This proposed increase in the level of dividend will be funded out of capital reserves to the extent that current year revenue and revenue reserves are insufficient. The Board believes that pressure placed on the investment managers to seek a higher income yield from the underlying portfolio itself could detract from total returns. By uncoupling the dividend policy of the Company from the split of capital and revenue returns generated by the portfolio, the Board’s aim is to attract new buyers for the Company’s shares, whilst maintaining the portfolio’s ability to generate attractive total returns.
The Board believes that the change to the Company’s dividend policy will widen the appeal of the Company to investors as it will provide a more attractive yield. In turn, the increased demand for the Company’s shares is expected to result in a narrowing of the discount to net asset value over time.
The Board anticipates that this change of policy will be permanent. However, it will keep the policy (and its expected positive impact on the discount level) under review and may amend it in the light of potential changes in the expected total returns to be earned from the portfolio or changes in the nature of returns desired by shareholders.
This announcement contains inside information as defined in EU Regulation No. 596/2014 and is in accordance with the Company's obligations under Article 17 of that Regulation. Upon the publication of this announcement the inside information within is now considered to be in the public domain.
For further information, please contact:
Simon White, Managing Director, Investment Trusts, BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Limited
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