In July 2020, BBH Global Core Select Class N (“Global Core Select” or “the Fund”) rose 6.94% while the MSCI World index rose 4.78%. During the month, our top contributor was Linde and our largest detractor was Novartis. We also exited our position in Lloyds Banking Group.
Linde delivered solid Q2 results during the month. Despite volume reductions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, earnings per share (EPS) excluding currency increased by 8%, operating margin expanded by 230 basis points1, and operating cash flow grew 76% year-over-year, demonstrating the resiliency of Linde’s integrated industrial gas supply model. Price improvement was attained across all geographic segments, and the company continued to make progress on its productivity initiatives. We were pleased with both the strong growth in adjusted operating profit and the improvement in operating leverage given the current challenges. We continue to have high conviction that Linde has a leading competitive position and attractive growth prospects in the structurally attractive industrial gas business.
Following Novartis’ Q2 2020 results, investors reacted negatively to the narrowing of revenue guidance to the bottom end of its previous range. Management highlighted its ophthalmology franchise, where COVID-19 shutdowns severely limited patients’ ability to seek physician-administered treatment. However, we found the company’s results to be relatively solid considering the environment, and we believe the business remains strong. With its pharmaceuticals and generics franchises, a strong track record of research and development (R&D) productivity, a growing global footprint, and several new and growing product lines, we believe Novartis is well positioned. It maintains a healthy product pipeline, exposure to attractive product segments, and a lower risk profile relative to potential U.S. drug-pricing reform, in our view. Management has undertaken significant portfolio restructuring and has created focus and critical mass in new technologies. This should add considerable optionality to Novartis’ R&D work, helping to position it as more of a diversified biotechnology company than a traditional pharmaceutical manufacturer.
Our decision to exit Lloyds was focused primarily on the change in the UK banking environment due to COVID-19 and the Brexit overhang; we now expect net interest income to remain under pressure for the foreseeable future. Additional factors weighed on the decision as well, including the potential for increased competition in the UK mortgage market and the announcement that both the CEO and Chairman — who we view as strong managers — will be stepping down in the next 12 months.
Holdings are subject to change. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Price/Earnings (P/E) ratio is a company’s current share price divided by earnings per-share. Turnover ratio is the rate of trading in a portfolio; higher values imply more frequent trading.
Opinions, forecasts, and discussions about investment strategies represent the author’s views as of the date of this commentary and are subject to change without notice. References to specific securities, asset classes, and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as recommendations.
Purchase and sale information provided should not be considered as a recommendation to purchase or sell a particular security and that there is no assurance, as of the date of publication, that the securities purchased remain in a fund's portfolio or that securities sold have not been repurchased.
Investors in the Fund should be able to withstand short-term fluctuations in the equity markets and fixed income markets in return for potentially higher returns over the long term. The value of portfolios change every day and can be affected by changes in interest rates, general market conditions and other political, social and economic developments.
Foreign investing involves special risks including currency risk, increased volatility, political risks, and differences in auditing and other financial standards. Prices of emerging market securities can be significantly more volatile than the prices of securities in developed countries, and currency risk and political risks are accentuated in emerging markets.
Investing in medium sized companies typically exhibit greater risk and higher volatility than larger, more established companies.
For more complete information, visit www.bbhfunds.com for a prospectus. You should consider the fund's investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before you invest. Information about these and other important subjects is in the fund's prospectus, which you should read carefully before investing.
Shares of the Fund are distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. and is located at 1290 Broadway, Suite 1000, Denver, CO 80203.
Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. ("BBH"), a New York limited partnership, was founded in 1818 and provides investment advice to registered mutual funds through a separately identifiable department (the "SID"). The SID is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. BBH acts as the Fund Administrator and is located at 140 Broadway, New York, NY 10005.
Not FDIC Insured No Bank Guarantee May Lose Money
IM-08295-2020-08-12 BBH003026 Exp. Date 09/30/2020
 A unit that is equal to 1/100th of 1% and is used to denote the change in a financial instrument.