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Turkish shares look a delight

A star European fund manager who is little known to most IFAs but not to institutions, is James Hordern, now with Dalton Strategic Partnership.

He runs the Melchior European opportunities fund. He has shown a return averaging more than 20 per cent a year during the past 16 years, first with Mercury/Merrill Lynch then with Goldman Sachs Asset Management and now with DSP.

The key to his success has been in investing in stocks with prospects of high future earnings, a sustainable niche and/or a dominant franchise with the potential to achieve high profitability. He has a bias towards mid to small-cap stocks which are undervalued by the stockmarkets.

At present, his biggest stock is Puma Brandenburg which represents 5 per cent of the assets of the fund. It is a Berlin real estate company offering a rental yield of 8 per cent where the cost of borrowing is only 4.5 per cent. Homeownership in Berlin is currently 12 per cent compared with 43 per cent in the rest of Germany. This looks to me to be an extraordinary opportunity. Currently, 29 per cent of the fund is in UK shares, about 11 per cent each in Germany and Sweden and 9 per cent in Turkey, with the rest widely spread.

At present, he is positive about the outlook for Turkish shares. This market has fallen by a considerable amount recently and now many stocks there are undervalued. The banking sector, in particular, is likely to benefit as the Turkish government is now encouraging home ownership and home improvements. This should mean that bank loans will increase rapidly.

Hordern particularly likes Akbank and Garanti. He also likes the advertising and pharmaceutical sectors, both of which have strong growth prospects. I expect that this fund will be one of the winners compared with funds in all sectors during the next five years or so.

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