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Soft landing

Dalton Strategic Partnership was founded less than five years ago by Andrew Dalton and some colleagues from Mercury Asset Management and Merrill Lynch. It has expanded rapidly and has produced some excellent results and nearly all its funds have performed extremely well.

The one that I like the best at the moment is Melchior Asian opportunities fund managed by Henrietta Luk, the managing director of Dalton Capital (Hong Kong). This fund has retur-ned 65 per cent in sterling terms since its launch in April 2005 to November 2006, more than double its benchmark (the MSCI Far East ex Japan index) and is ranked first out of 118 funds over the past year and since inception.

The fund has $253m under management and is likely to soft close at $500m. It invests 42 per cent of the fund in Taiwan shares, 30 per cent in Hong Kong, 21 per cent in China, with the balance mainly in Korea.

The biggest holdings are China Everbright, a conglomerate which focuses on environmental protection, China Mobile, the country’s biggest mobile operator, China Life, the country’s biggest insurer, and Air China, the leading airline. In Taiwan, the biggest holdings are Pixart, the image sensor design house which is supplying sensors for Nintendo’s next generation game console and two big technology companies, Foxconn Technology and Catcher Technology.

The potential for profit increases in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan look outstanding, with the Hang Seng showing earnings’ growth of 19 per cent, well ahead of estimates. Another pointer is that Hong Kong’s unemployment rate has reached a five-year low which means that equities will continue to be buoyed up by a strong domestic recovery. It is certainly worth investing in this fund before there is a soft close.

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