Close gets AMJPE VCT portfolio

Close Venture Management has become the new manager of Murray VCT, Murray VCT 2, Murray VCT 3, and Murray VCT 4. The boards of each fund have also announced that they have served notice terminating their management agreement with Murray Johnstone Limited in six months’ time, or earlier if agreement for a shorter notice period is reached with Murray Johnstone Limited.

The Murray VCT Boards have each come to their decisions individually but each of the Murray VCT companies operate in accordance with a co-investment arrangement which regulates the allocation of funds each invests in investee companies. More than two thirds of the investee companies in which the Murray funds are invested are co-invested between two or more of the Murray VCT companies.

The failed management buyout of part of the Aberdeen group’s private equity and investment business by its senior executives, which was abruptly terminated at the end of September 2004, caused each of the Murray VCT boards (as they are in any event required to do) to review Murray Johnstone’s performance and to consider, as they should, alternatives available from other service providers.

An option for the funds in the future may be to merge, which has become a pattern in recent months following announcements by Chrysalis and Quester. This follows changes last September when the Inland Revenue clarified and changed the tax rules on the merger of VCTs making the process a realistic possibility. Under the rules, all tax breaks, including capital gains tax reinvestment relief, can now be carried over from a holding in one VCT into an acquiring VCT.

Details of the change of manager and of a change of name to Crown Place VCT PLC will be circulated to shareholders in due course.

Sir David Trippier, chairman of Murray VCT, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to secure the appointment of Close Venture Management as manager of our funds. Close has an excellent reputation and its record as a manager of venture capital trusts speaks for itself. The move to Close Venture Management will bring to an end a period of uncertainty for Murray VCT and the board is confident the appointment should bring significant benefits in terms of shareholder value in the medium term”.