FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 10, 2023
Pender Growth Fund Announces Annual Results and Provides Company Updates
VANCOUVER, B.C. (TSXV: PTF) Pender Growth Fund Inc. (the “Company”) today announced its financial and operational results for the year ended December 31, 2022
- Net loss was $127,838,962 for the year ended December 31, 2022 (December 31, 2021 – Net income $152,096,772) primarily the result of a decline in publicly traded share prices for portfolio holdings during the year.
- Net loss per Share for the year ended December 31, 2022 was $16.85 (December 31, 2021 – Net income per Share $19.90).
- Shareholders’ equity per Class C common share (“Share”) was $9.28 as at December 31, 2022 (December 31, 2021 – $26.08).
- The Company’s total shareholders’ equity was $70.2 million as at December 31, 2022, a decrease from December 31, 2021 ($198.6 million) resulting primarily from a decline in market prices of public company shares during the year.
- Shares outstanding were 7,569,929 as at December 31, 2022, a decrease from December 31, 2021 (7,616,529) as a result of share repurchases under the Company’s Normal Course Issuer Bid (“NCIB”), which was renewed on February 14, 2023.
- At December 31, 2022, 84.1% of the investment portfolio was made up of private companies and 15.9% of public companies. However, taken together with the Company’s indirect exposure to public companies through its investment in Pender Private Investments Inc. (“PPI”) and Pender Technology Inflection Fund II Limited Partnership (“PTIF II”) , public companies make up 74.4% of the Company’s holdings.
- Management Expense Ratio (“MER”) excluding performance fees was 1.90% for the year ended December 31, 2022, an improvement compared to 2.15% in 2021.
(Based on Shareholders’ Equity)
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The Company’s portfolio is materially concentrated in the shares of one publicly listed Portfolio Company, Copperleaf Technologies Inc. (“Copperleaf”). At December 31, 2022, considering both its direct investment and its indirect investment through its holding of shares of PPI, the Company held 6,762,065 shares of Copperleaf with a value of $38,814,252, which is 55.3% of the Company’s total shareholders’ equity of $70,239,255 (December 31, 2021 – 7,455,638 Shares with a value of $177,816,957 which was 90% of the Company’s total shareholders’ equity of $198,643,655).
Copperleaf became publicly listed in 2021. Its closing price that year of $23.85 per share resulted in a substantial unrealized gain and increase in shareholders’ equity, from $47.3 million ($6.11 per share) at the beginning of 2021 to $198.6 million ($26.08 per share) at year end. During 2022, Copperleaf’s trading price declined and closed the year at $5.74 per share. As a result, the Company saw a substantial reversal of the previous year’s unrealized gains and shareholders’ equity decreased to $70.2 million ($9.28 per share) at December 31, 2022.
During the year ended December 31, 2022, the Company sold a total of 745,532 shares from its direct and indirect holdings of Copperleaf. In early April 2023, shares of Copperleaf were trading below their December 30, 2022 closing price of $5.74 per share. There can be no assurance that the Company will be able to realize the value of this investment.
The economic uncertainties around persistent inflation pressure, bank failures, geopolitical events and the lingering COVID-19 pandemic continue to impact public and private markets. While macro events have driven investor sentiment, we have remained focused on our bottom-up fundamental research to identify companies that can thrive in a wide range of economic scenarios. We believe that this environment provides compelling opportunities for long term focused investors and that the Company is well-positioned to continue to pursue its investment objectives.
In 2022, as always, we worked closely with our private portfolio companies and certain of our public portfolio companies.
Significant Equity Investments & Recent Developments
Pender Technology Inflection Fund II
The Company made an investment in the Pender Technology Inflection Fund II Limited Partnership (“PTIF II”) during the quarter. This investment provides access to a portfolio of private technology companies that would not be readily accessible to non-institutional investors. PTIF II is managed by a team of seasoned investment professionals who will leverage their experience and focus on user-centric, vertical business to business technology solutions in the enterprise and health IT sectors. These investments are made at the inflection point between commercialization and scale in a business’s lifecycle. This strategy aligns directly with the Company’s historical focus and success in investing in early-stage technology businesses that can compound value at high rates for long periods of time.
Pender Private Investments Inc.
At December 31, 2022, the Company held approximately 98% of the Legacy Shares of PPI, formerly the Working Opportunity Fund (EVCC) Ltd. (“WOF”). These shares were acquired in May 2021 from shareholders of WOF (“Exiting Shareholders”) under the previously announced transaction (the “WOF” Transaction”) and in transactions subsequent to May 2021.
Copperleaf Technologies Inc.
At December 31, 2022, the Company held 9.6% of Copperleaf’s issued and outstanding shares, both directly and through its investment in PPI. The value of the Company’s direct and indirect holdings of Copperleaf was $38,814,252 at December 31, 2022, which is 55.3% of the Company’s total shareholders’ equity.
D-Wave Quantum Inc.
On August 8, 2022, D-Wave announced the completion of its previously announced intention to list on the New York Stock Exchange following a business combination with DPCM Capital, Inc. and D-Wave Systems Inc., as a publicly traded SPAC named D-Wave Quantum Inc., under the symbol QBTS. The Company held shares of D-Wave both directly and indirectly, through Pender Private Investments Inc., and all of its shares were subject to a lock up period that ended on February 5, 2023, following which the Company sold all of its D-Wave holdings.
We continued to acquire shares of the Company in the market under our NCIB because we believe the shares are trading at a discount to their intrinsic value. On February 14, 2023, the Company launched a new NCIB, under which the Company may purchase a maximum of 663,045 shares, or 10% of the Company’s public float on launch date, during the one-year period ending February 13, 2024.
We encourage you to refer to the Company’s MD&A and annual audited financial statements for the year-ended December 31, 2022, and other disclosures available under the Company’s profile at www.sedar.com for additional information.
About the Company
Pender Growth Fund Inc is an investment firm. Its investment objective is to achieve long-term capital growth. The Company utilizes its small capital base and long-term horizon to invest in unique situations, primarily small cap, special situations, and illiquid public and private companies. The firm invests in public and private companies based primarily in Canada and the U.S., principally in the technology sector. It trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “PTF” and posts its NAV on its website, generally within five business days of each month end.
Please visit www.pendergrowthfund.com.
For further information, please contact:
Pender Growth Fund Inc.
Toll Free: (866) 377-4743
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
This news release may contain forward-looking statements (within the meaning of applicable securities laws) relating to the business of the Company and the environment in which it operates. Forward-looking statements are identified by words such as “believe”, “anticipate”, “project”, “expect”, “intend”, “plan”, “will”, “may”, “estimate” and other similar expressions. These statements are based on the Company’s expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections and include, without limitation, statements regarding the Company’s decreased portfolio risk and future investment opportunities. The forward-looking statements in this news release are based on certain assumptions; they are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties that are difficult to control or predict. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the factors discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s annual information form available at www.sedar.com. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate as actual outcomes and results may differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements. Readers, therefore, should not place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. Further, these forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release and, except as expressly required by applicable law, the Company assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.