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 October 26, 2015 - 8:19 AM EDT
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BLACKROCK FRONTIERS INVESTMENT TRUST PLC - Portfolio Update

BLACKROCK FRONTIERS INVESTMENT TRUST PLC
All information is at 30 September 2015 and unaudited.
Performance at month end with net income reinvested
One month Three months Six months One year Three years Since Launch*
% % % % % %
Sterling:
Share price 1.1 -4.8 -6.8 -17.5 41.6 18.4
Net asset value -1.6 -6.1 -8.3 -12.2 39.5 23.3
MSCI Frontiers Index (NR) -0.8 -7.2 -12.4 -18.9 28.0 7.9
MSCI Emerging Markets Index (NR) -1.5 -14.8   -19.0 -13.6   -9.4   -17.2
US Dollars:
Share price -0.4   -8.3 -4.8 -22.9 33.0 15.4
Net asset value -3.0 -9.6 -6.4 -17.9 31.0 20.0
MSCI Frontiers Index (NR) -2.3 -10.6 -10.6 -24.2 20.0 4.8
MSCI Emerging Markets Index (NR) -3.0 -17.9 -17.3 -19.3 -15.0 -19.5
Sources: BlackRock and Standard & Poor’s Micropal
* 17 December 2010.
At month end
US Dollar
Net asset value - capital only: 156.73c
Net asset value - cum income: 160.98c
Sterling:
Net asset value - capital only: 103.47p
Net asset value - cum income: 106.28p
Share price: 103.75p
Total assets (including income): £160.1m
Discount to cum-income NAV: 2.4%
Gearing: nil
Gearing range (as a % of gross assets): 0-20%
Net yield*: 4.0%
Ordinary shares in issue: 150,621,621
Ongoing charges**: 1.5%
Ongoing charges plus taxation and performance fee: 1.5%
*The Company’s yield based on dividends announced in the last 12 months as at the date of the release of this announcement is 4.0% and includes the 2014 final dividend of 4.00 cents per share declared on 1 December 2014, paid to shareholders on 20 February 2015 and the 2015 interim dividend of 2.40 cents per share announced on 18 May 2015 and paid to shareholders on 3 July 2015.
**Calculated as a percentage of average net assets and using expenses, excluding performance fees and interest costs for the year ended 30 September 2014.
Sector Analysis Gross assets(%)* Country Analysis Gross assets(%)*
Financials 37.2 Bangladesh 12.7
Consumer Staples 17.5 Pakistan 11.4
Telecommunications 13.3 Sri Lanka 9.5
Energy 11.5 Kuwait 9.3
Health Care 5.5 Argentina 8.8
Industrials 5.1 Romania 6.2
Consumer Discretionary 4.9 Ukraine 6.1
Utilities 3.3 Vietnam 5.7
Materials
Technology
1.8
1.7
Nigeria
Morocco
5.2
4.9
----- Kazakhstan 4.5
Total 101.8 Kenya 2.5
----- Iraq 2.3
Short positions -1.0 Slovenia 2.2
===== Oman 2.1
Other 8.4
-----
Total 101.8
-----
Short positions -1.0
=====
*reflects gross market exposure from contracts for difference (CFDs).
Market Exposure
31.10
 2014
    %
30.11
 2014
    %
31.12
 2014
    %
31.01
 2015
    %
28.02
 2015
    %
31.03
 2015
    %
30.04
 2015
    %
31.05
 2015
    %
30.06
 2015
    %
31.07
 2015
    %
31.08
 2015
    %
30.09
 2015
    %
Long  99.9  97.9  98.6 101.1 102.0 106.4 105.9 105.8 101.5 102.9 103.1 101.8
Short  1.5  2.8  2.6  1.6  1.6  1.7  1.7  1.1  1.0  1.5  1.5  1.0
Gross 101.4 100.7 101.2 102.7 103.6 108.1 107.6 106.9 102.5 104.4 104.6 102.8
Net  98.4  95.1  96.0  99.5 100.4 104.7 104.2 104.7 100.5 101.4 101.6 100.8
Company Country of Risk % of gross assets
MHP Ukraine 4.4
Kuwait Foods (Americana) Kuwait 4.2
Hub Power Pakistan 3.3
BRD Societe Generale Romania 3.3
Square Pharmaceuticals Bangladesh 3.3
United Bank for Africa Nigeria 3.0
Halyk Savings Bank Kazakhstan 2.9
S.N.G.N Romgaz Romania 2.9
Mobile Telecommunications Kuwait 2.9
Telecom Argentina Argentina 2.8
Commenting on the markets, Sam Vecht and Emily Fletcher, representing the Investment Manager noted:
Portfolio

In September, the Company’s NAV fell by 3.0%, underperforming the benchmark by 0.7% (on a US dollar basis with net income reinvested).  Over the last 6 months, the BlackRock Frontiers Investment Trust's NAV returned -6.4%, outperforming the benchmark by 4.2% (also on a US dollar basis with net income reinvested).

United Bank of Africa was a stand-out performer over the month, with the share price rising by 34%.  The Nigerian bank rebounded from the extreme lows at the end of August as President Buhari made a number of market friendly appointments to key official positions.  Despite the strong stock selection in the country, the Company’s overall underweight position in Nigeria did detract from relative performance.  We remain cautious on the country due to the extent of economic adjustment that we believe is required if crude oil remains at current prices.  

Positions in Kenyan companies, Equity Bank and Safaricom, also contributed to positive performance rising by 10% and by 9% respectively over the month.  The Kenyan market has seen increased volatility over the past few months, both due to tight domestic liquidity and foreigners exiting the market.  We have used some of these opportunities to increase our positions in these companies which we believe have attractive long term business cases, but historically have been too richly valued.

Stock selection was especially strong in Bangladesh, where our holdings ended the month in positive territory, outperforming the MSCI local index which fell by 4%.  Local confectionary producer, Olympic Industries, drove returns, rising by nearly 10% over the month.  The shares have risen by more than 80% over the last year as investors have started to recognise the future growth potential of the company.

Following a number of months of positive contribution, positions in Sri Lanka detracted from performance as the market fell by 11% in September.  The Central Bank devalued the currency by around 5% to maintain competitiveness of the rupee vs other emerging market currencies.

Our holdings in Kazakhstan also weighed on performance as the Kazakh Central Bank recognised that its currency peg was unsustainable and allowed the tenge to continue to depreciate, ending the month 44% weaker than mid-August levels.  Both Halyk bank and Kazmunaigas (KMG) fell substantially, down by 8% and by 27% respectively.  In our view, given that KMG earns revenues in US dollars and should benefit from a local currency depreciation, the sell off was excessive and we have been adding to positions.

Portfolio Activity

We took the opportunity presented by recent market weakness to add to positions in Argentina.  Presidential elections will be held on 25 October, with provincial governor of Buenos Aires, Daniel Scioli, currently leading City of Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri in the polls, with the possibility of elections going to a second round for the first time in Argentine history too close to call.  Either candidate will likely represent a move towards more orthodox economic policies. An improving macroeconomic policy framework would allow the cost of capital to fall to the benefit of high quality companies.
26 October 2015
ENDS
Latest information is available by typing www.blackrock.co.uk/brfi on the internet, "BLRKINDEX" on Reuters, "BLRK" on Bloomberg or "8800" on Topic 3 (ICV terminal). Neither the contents of the Manager’s website nor the contents of any website accessible from hyperlinks on BlackRock’s website (or any other website) is incorporated into, or forms part of, this announcement.

Source: PR Newswire (October 26, 2015 - 8:19 AM EDT)

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