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Doubts over value of Nobles Crus wine fund
  Hedgeweb - MON, OCT 01 2012
Funds & Investment Nobles Crus, one of the world??s biggest wine investment funds, values its holdings at much higher prices than those used by 10 of its rivals, according to the FT.

The discrepancy raises questions about the accuracy of valuations in the fine wine market, which has attracted billions of dollars in recent years from collectors, private investors and even pension schemes.

Few wine funds have done better than Nobles Crus, which launched with just ?2m in assets in 2008 and has since grown to ?109m.

Boasting an annual return of 13 per cent since inception, the fund has attracted investors from across Europe and amassed a portfolio of 54,000 bottles, mainly from Bordeaux and Burgundy. It has reported gains in net asset value every single month since the start of 2011, even as the benchmark Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 index tumbled by 23 per cent.

Almost all of Nobles Crus?? profits since inception have come from unrealised gains on its wine inventory, rather than actual sales.

Nobles Crus??s 50 largest holdings of Bordeaux, which represented a third of its portfolio, were worth ?26m, according to Liv-ex.

Nobles Crus had valued the same bottles at ?36m ?? 37 per cent higher.

For example, Nobles Crus valued its 1,908 bottles of Lafite Rothschild 2009, a Bordeaux red, at ?2,308,680, or ?1,210 a bottle. By contrast, Liv-ex valued the wine at ?744 a bottle.

Michel Tamisier, managing partner of Elite Advisers, the Luxembourg company that manages Nobles Crus, said the fund??s valuation methodology was robust. He said Nobles Crus takes the average of two prices from auction houses, without removing commissions, and two from wine merchants. But rival wine fund managers contacted by the FT said it was unlikely that any fund would be able to sell bottles for more than a few per cent above the Liv-ex mid-price on a consistent basis.

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