Woodford administrators still trying to sell stakes in Atom Bank and Benevolent AI

·Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
British fund manager Neil Woodford is seen in this undated handout image. Photo: Jonathan Atkins/Handout via Reuters
British fund manager Neil Woodford is seen in this undated handout image. Photo: Jonathan Atkins/Handout via Reuters

Administrators for one of former star money manager Neil Woodford's collapsed funds are still struggling to offload some of his investments, more than a year and a half after the fund began being wound up.

Link Fund Solutions wrote to investors in the Woodford Equity Income Fund on Monday to say it was still trying to sell some investments Woodford made through the fund. Administrators said they were "unable at this time to provide a specific date by which the Fund’s wind up will be complete and all cash returned to investors".

Link said it was seeking buyers for investments worth roughly £123.5m ($171.7m). Link is shopping around stakes in the following businesses:

  • Atom Bank, an app-only British challenger bank;

  • Benevolent AI, a startup that uses artificial intelligence in drug discovery;

  • Cambridge Innovation Capital, which invests in spin-outs from the University of Cambridge;

  • Mafic, a producer of high quality basalt fiber, which can be used for insulation or to make items flame retardant;

  • Nexeon, an electric battery materials company;

  • RM2, which makes internet-connected pallets for 'smart' supply chains;

  • Rutherford Healthcare, a proton beam therapy company;

  • Sabina Estates, an eco retreat on Ibiza, Spain.

All of the companies listed are private, which makes sales more challenging. Link said it hoped to shift the investments by the end of 2022 but was seeking the best price for investors and so didn't want to rush any sale. The company promised an update in November.

The Woodford Equity Income Fund was once one of Britain's most popular retail investment funds, worth over £10bn at its peak. However, interest began to wane after around 2017 and Woodford was eventually forced to suspend withdrawals in June 2019. The money manager had invested an unusually large amount of illiquid private companies and struggled to sell quickly enough to meet withdrawals.

Link took charge of the fund in October 2019 and announced plans to wind it up. The move prompted the collapse of Woodford's business.

Investors, many of them individuals, had £3.1bn in the Woodford Equity Income Fund at the time of its shuttering. £2.54bn has so far been returned to investors. The value of the remaining stakes left in the fund suggest investors will end up sharing a loss of around £400m between them.

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