HarbourVest to delist from Euronext Amsterdam

HVPE, a listed fund of funds that invests in and alongside HarbourVest-managed funds, transitioned to the main market of the LSE last year.

HarbourVest Global Private Equity (HVPE), the listed fund of funds that invests in and alongside HarbourVest-managed funds, has applied to delist from Euronext Amsterdam.

The delisting is expected to take effect on 24 October 2016, with the last trading date being 25 October 2016.

HVPE listed on Euronext Amsterdam in 2007, and then listed on the London-based Specialist Fund Market in 2010. In September 2015 it transitioned from the Specialist Fund Market to the main market of the London Stock Exchange, at which point its market quote was redenominated into sterling.

After the delisting from Euronext, shareholders who obtained their shares through the Euronext Amsterdam will continue to be able to trade these shares on the London Stock Exchange, HVPE said in a statement.

HVPE decided “a while back” that it ultimately wanted to be purely London-listed, said HVPE director Richard Hickman.

“For a long time there’s been very little trading in Amsterdam,” he said, adding that Euronext trading is “now effectively zero”.

“We knew that the London market was likely to give us more liquidity right from back in 2010 when we moved to the SFM in the first place.”

Under Euronext Amsterdam regulations, one of the conditions of delisting is that shares must have been listed for at least 12 months on another “regulated and sufficiently liquid market that offers, in Euronext Amsterdam’s opinion, adequate safeguards for the protection of investors and the proper functioning of the market”.

HVPE is also required to leave a 20-day trading window following the announcement to delist, hence the expected 25 October final trading day.

“There are obviously cost savings as well from having a single listing versus a dual listing,” Hickman said. “Overall it makes sense, and of course we now have a single class of share, there’s no issue for current shareholders. Wherever they purchased their shares, they’re fully tradeable in London.”

HVPE also released its semi-annual report Tuesday, in which it reported a NAV per share increase of 5.3 percent to $17.63.

Reversing the trend from previous years, HVPE invested more capital than it received from distributions. Realisations totalled $100.6 million. At the end of the full year ending 31 January 2016, HVPE received a record amount of realisations totalling $362 million, the highest level since inception.

“In recent years we’ve had a strategy to gradually increase our commitments,” Hickman said. “Because we had built up cash, we wanted to ensure that we were fully invested, and the way to do that in HVPE is to increase commitments to the HarbourVest fund.”

HVPE made $200 million in new commitments in the period, pledging $50 million each to Dover IX, the HarbourVest 2016 Global Fund, HarbourVest Co-Investment Fund IV, and HarbourVest Real Assets III, taking total commitments to $1.1 billion.

In its 2015 annual report, released in May, chairman Michael Bunbury announced an intention to appoint consultants BoardAlpha to review its “operation and effectiveness”.

In an update in Tuesday’s semi-annual report, Bunbury said the review “concluded that the board was robust in undertaking the stewardship of the company and that the independent directors were holding the investment manager to account”, but that nevertheless BoardAlpha had made “a number of recommendations” which the board would be considering “over the next few months”.

Bunbury said HVPE has formed two new committees, both of which he chairs: the Service Providers Committee, to review most of the services provided by suppliers, including HarbourVest; and the Nomination Committee, which will consider the future make-up of the board, make recommendations for appointments of new directors, and oversee succession arrangements.

“The Board will consider putting in place a formal policy on tenure and will also be mindful of the matter of diversity when recruiting one or more new directors,” he wrote, adding that he still anticipates appointing one or more new independent directors before May 2017.