The ASX 200 was flat for the month of January, and we report Luke's Fund achieved a return of -2.1% over the same period, bringing the Fund’s current returns for FY2021 to 53.2%. We have experienced some choppy waters this month, with a downgrade, and capital raisings weighing on the share prices of key holdings.
The top contributor over the month was Novonix Ltd, which contributed 22.8% of the returns. Novonix announced it has won a US DOE grant, the appointment of Professor Jeff Dahn as Chief Scientific Advisor, and entry onto the OTCQX international index. Novonix was the only anode producer to be awarded with a US DOE grant, and Jeff Dahn has close ties with EV disruptor, Tesla.
The top two detractors to the performance over the month being:
Electro Optic Systems, which contributed -13.6% of the returns for the month. There was no news over the month we are aware of that contributed to the fall, however, delivery delays were reported in December. EOS continues to burn cash as delays in converting inventory to delivered product has significantly impacted cashflow. Management have reported $150 M in inventory will be wound back by the end of Q2 2021 (June 30).
Talga Group, which contributed -13.6 % of the returns of the month. Talga makes the list again, following the successful completion of an SPP, where Talga tripled the allocation to $30 M to accelerate the development of the anode pilot/production facility and associated mining operations. Smedvig sold entirely out of Talga Group in an off market transaction. Smedvig invests in start-ups, and it is unclear why they have exited their investment at this time. This and the SPP have produced an overhand in the supply or shares in the short term, impacting short term pricing. However, we are encouraged to see management continuing to buy shares in the SPP, and to see Mark Thompson pay Talga Group to settle a non-recourse loan regarding 4 million loan shares, without the sale of said shares.
Our gold hedge portfolio returned -5.7% for the month (vs a gold price change of -1.6%). As at the end of January, the precious metals portfolio is 16.4% of the fund portfolio.
Notable changes to the portfolio included:
We closed our positions in Gold Road Resources and Regis Resources.
We added Chalice Mining to our portfolio. Chalice Mining look to have discovered a world class Palladium/Platinum/Nickel/Copper/Cobalt discovery on the outskirts of Perth. They are on track to record their maiden Resource by July 30, and they well funded to expand this historic discovery.
We trimmed AVA Risk, which reported a very strong half year result. AVA Risk is overweight in our portfolio, and we are not comfortable with its current position size.
We opened a position in an exciting SAAS business, with a global opportunity. We hope to talk more about this in future updates.
Q2 reporting has now come to an end, and we are pleased with the progress our companies have made over the quarter. It is a relief to see our investment theses remain intact in our small/micro cap holdings. We remain optimistic in our company's futures, and we expect them to make their mark on that future.
If you have any opinions on the companies we hold, or what like to know more, we would love to hear your feedback.