Asia Frontier Capital (AFC) - February 2014 Newsletter
"We don't have to be smarter than the rest.
The AFC Asia Frontier Fund and AFC Vietnam Fund have continued to build on the excellent start to the year and have posted gains of +1.7% and +4.5% respectively during February 2014. This brings the YTD performance of the AFC Asia Frontier Fund to +9.1% and for the AFC Vietnam Fund to +13.6%. Despite all of the gloom and doom that has been dominating global and emerging markets this year, AFC's portfolios have continued to remain robust. During the same period the MSCI World Index, MSCI BRIC Index and MSCI Emerging Markets Index have returned +4.1%, -7.1% and -3.6%. Both AFC funds niche investment strategies continue to generate alpha but one of the keys to this performance lies embedded in the nature of Asian frontier markets themselves - low correlation.
As can be seen in the table below, the AFC Asia Frontier Fund (AAFF) portfolio did not move with global markets and in the past 10 months has been stepping in the opposite direction as Asian frontier stock markets have continued to march largely to the beat of their own drum.
The key reasons why global and emerging market swings have not impacted our portfolio are quite simple:
When speaking with investors during the past few months, the prime causes of portfolio stress were: the devaluation of the Argentinean peso, fears of global capital movements due to US Fed tapering and an increasingly shaky outlook for the banking and property sectors in China. The recent events in Ukraine and Russia as well as potential sanctions by the US and Europe may seem to be just flashes of global news but they could certainly have direct repercussions to the holdings of your personal portfolio.
February Sets New Record for Monthly Capital Inflow!
February was another busy month for our fund administrator as the total inflow of new capital last month exceeded the previous record set in January 2014. The new capital primarily came from first time clients who had been considering investment for some time as well as existing investors who added to their initial investment.
Final Chance: Temporary Reduction in Minimum Investment to USD/CHF/EUR 25,000!
As there were many new enquiries about the temporary reduction of the minimum investment to USD 25,000 in the final days before the NAV cut-off date, some of the final subscription documentation remained incomplete before the deadline. We therefore have instructed our fund administrator to accept minimum investments of USD 25,000 before this month's NAV cut-off on the 25th of March 2014 at 4pm Singapore time.
If you were interested in taking advantage of this opportunity please be in touch with Stephen Friel at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible with subscription queries.
AFC has begun adding a summarized version of its website into as many regional and international languages as we can to have our online presence be more representative of the regions in which we invest as well as the origins of our investors!
Click the links below to see the languages we have translated so far:
If you speak a regional or local language that we do not currently have translated be sure to be in touch with Stephen Friel email@example.com if you would like us to include your native tongue. At the moment we are particularly looking for Burmese, Dhivehi, Dzongkha, Japanese, Korean, Kurdish, Lao, Nepali, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Tagalog, and Turkish as well as other global languages!
In the next few months AFC's team will be travelling the world to meet with new and existing investors as well as companies which we invest in. If you will be in any of the below locations and have an interest in meeting with our team please be in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month AFC featured in global press in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Click the links below to get behind the scenes look at our markets with interviews from Thomas Hugger and Andreas Vogelsanger.
The AFC Asia Frontier Fund (AAFF) continued to build on the strong performance this year with USD A-shares gaining +1.7% in February 2014 for a total of 9.1% YTD. The fund again outperformed the MSCI Frontier Markets Asia Index which ended the month slightly negative (-0.2%). The MSCI Emerging Markets Index (+3.2%) and MSCI World Index (+4.8%) recovered some ground this month after dropping -6.6% and -3.8% respectively in January 2014.
In February the best performing indexes within the AAFF universe were in Vietnam with the Hanoi Index (+12.0%), Ho Chi Minh Index (+5.4%), as well as Laos (+4.7%) ending the month up. Vietnam has continued to rally as attractive relative valuations and an improving economy have caught investors' attention. AFC's Senior Investment Analyst will be travelling to Vietnam to visit key companies whilst attending an investor conference in Ho Chi Minh City in March with the CIO of the AFC Vietnam Fund. AFC's CEO & Fund Manager, Thomas Hugger will also be travelling to Sri Lanka in March adding to the depth of our on the ground research.
Looking at the other markets in our universe, AAFF stock holdings outperformed the index in Bangladesh (-0.1%) after good quarterly numbers were released by our consumer holdings. The fund holds a core selection of consumer stocks in Bangladesh as the country has favourable demographics for such companies to do well in the long run. GDP per capita in Bangladesh is growing from a very low base (USD 899) and is currently almost half of that in India. Even modest increases in annual income should support consumption with new disposable income flowing into consumer staples, consumer discretionary and health related products. Local stocks in these sectors will likely continue to benefit from this upward trend.
Sri Lanka (-4.9%) and Pakistan (-3.7%) saw corrections in February after a significant run up over the past few months. Pakistani consumer stocks were hit particularly hard as their valuations had become extremely expensive. There also continues to be uncertainty with issues related to peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban leading to near term stability worries. The standoff between government forces and the Pakistani Taliban have escalated since 2007 but this has primarily been restricted to the region near the Afghan-Pakistan border. Though an escalation of stand offs between the government and the extremists has impacted the security situation in certain parts of the country, many Pakistani companies have continued to deliver good earnings and stand fundamentally sound. Any panic selling over the unfolding situation would give us an opportunity to pick up companies which we like.
In February the fund added to existing positions in Bangladesh, Iraq, Laos, Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam and reduced one position in Mongolia. We sold one Pakistani food company and one Vietnamese insurance company. Thanks to significant new money inflow we were able to add several new positions with a main focus on creating a "junior mining basket" where valuations have been pushed down to incredibly low levels. The fund added one junior gold mine from Cambodia, one bank and one junior oil producer in Iraq, one construction material company, one oil producer and two junior gold mining companies in Mongolia, one leasing company in Pakistan, and one holding company in Sri Lanka.
The top-performing portfolio stocks this month were a Mongolian copper mine (+44.4%), followed by another Mongolian copper/gold mine (+36.4%), a Vietnamese food producer (+30.8%) and a Mongolian construction company (+30%). With the fund's basket of stocks in Mongolia performing well we outperformed the Mongolian Index which ended the month up (+2.9%).
As of 28th February 2014, the portfolio was invested in 117 shares, 1 closed-end fund (with 31.4% discount to NAV), 1 GDR (with 62.4% discount) and held 8.8% in cash. The two biggest stock positions are a pharmaceutical company in Bangladesh (4.6%) and a power producer in Laos (4.0%). The countries with the largest asset allocation include Vietnam (20.2%), Bangladesh (15.6%) and Pakistan (14.9 %). The sectors with the largest allocation of assets are consumer goods (43.5%) and financials (11.4%). The weighted average trailing portfolio P/E ratio (only companies with profit) was 14.05x, the weighted average P/B ratio 1.60x and the average dividend yield 3.97%.
In February 2014 the AFC Vietnam Fund gained +4.5%. February was another good month for the Vietnamese market, although gains were primarily attributed to unique factors that unfolded during the month. Continuing talks about raising the 'foreign ownership limit' (FOL) helped a number of blue chip stocks whose foreign ownership levels are already saturated at 49%. Vietnamese investors are able to buy these shares at current market prices and some have been speculating in order to sell their shares at a higher price to foreigners once the FOL increases to 60%. At present the only way for foreigners to buy these shares is to make a bid with another foreign share holder. This approach typically translates into an increase in price of 5-10% above current levels and would immediately result in book losses if the holdings are then valued at mark-to-market prices.
At this stage the exact details about the change in the FOL are not yet clear. In our view, it is most likely that each company will have to apply with the regulator if they wish to have a higher foreign ownership limit, so not all companies will see their FOL increased.
At present, very few of the stocks that we are invested in might be impacted by this new rule, as our stock universe remains under the radar of most foreign investors.
On a macroeconomic front in Vietnam, recently released numbers indicate further improvements as inflation has reached a 10 year low of 4.65% in February. This reflects the general brighter picture for the Vietnamese economy this year and helps to explain the current positive sentiment.
Besides generating strong returns for our investors, our other primary objective is to minimize risk. Our current portfolio consists of 65 stocks, all of which are profitable companies that we see as deeply undervalued. Not a single company we are holding made a loss in the 2013 financial year, which had some of the most difficult economic conditions in recent years. With an average beta of only 0.78, our portfolio has proven much less volatile than the overall market. The fund takes advantage of periods when the market rallies and we expect that our strategy will also protect us during phases of corrections, as was the case last year with our live model portfolio that executed the same strategy.
During the 15% market correction in the middle of 2013, our portfolio lost less than half of the overall index, indicating that our investment strategy can be implemented with success. All bull markets consist of many 'zig-zag' movements and recent months have been all 'zig' and no 'zag'. There will no doubt be corrections in 2014 as we experienced in the first few trading days in March which could lead to some broader consolidation. This could offer a great window of opportunity for new investors to enter the market and would offer us the ability to allocate new capital to good companies at attractive prices.
Our current portfolio is valued at 7.2x trailing P/E and slightly above book value. Looking forward to March, we will attend an investment conference in Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City organized by Viet Capital Securities which 370 local and international (primarily institutional) investors will attend. Besides getting valuable information about recent and future developments in the country, it will also provide us with a measure of current investor sentiment regarding Vietnam. We will also be visiting the management of three companies in which we have a combined portfolio holding of around 8%.
In line with focussing on a country from the AFC universe, we discuss Bangladesh this month and the opportunities it offers to investors.
Over the past decade India and China have received a huge amount of attention from global investors but nestled between these two countries lies the tiny nation of Bangladesh. It is a small country relative to India and China but has a sizeable population of 156 million which makes it the eight most populous nation on earth! This number itself warrants more attention, but like many of the countries that the AFC Asia Frontier Fund invests in, Bangladesh has many other factors in its favour. The country's population has a median age of 24 with 55% of its people between the ages of 15-49, making it a young, productive population with improving literacy rates that are similar to its peers in the South Asian region.
This demographic advantage is supported by an improving per capita GDP which was estimated to be USD899 in 2013, a cumulative growth of 8.7% since 2003. In real terms as well, per capita GDP has been growing at a similar range to South Asian peers such as India and Sri Lanka (approximately 2.5% from 2003-2013 in USD terms). Furthermore, Bangladesh's per capita GDP is still much lower than its neighbours and growing income levels from a low base combined with a large population has the ability to provide increasing investment opportunities.
On the macro-economic front, the country has been doing better than its peers. Bangladesh's fiscal deficit has been in control and in fact has been lower than that of Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In addition to fiscal deficits not spinning out of control the country can boast of a current account surplus, something its peers do not have. A stable macro environment has also led to a stable currency which has not depreciated significantly over the past year (unlike the Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan rupee). In fact, the Bangladeshi Taka has appreciated!
One of the major reasons Bangladesh has run a current account surplus has been growing exports and remittances. A driver for exports has been the Ready Made Garments (RMG) industry which has seen a significant growth over the past few years as a low cost labour pool has driven outsourcers to shift production from China where wages have been increasing. This is a significant trend which is even evident in countries like Vietnam that are receiving more manufacturing activity at the expense of China. The growth of the low cost RMG industry now provides employment to 4 million Bangladeshis and an employed workforce is good for consumption!
RMG Exports account for 80% of Exports. Remittances support consumption and the current account surplus
Source: World Bank, Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association
In light of these factors, we are very positive on Bangladesh, especially consumer-focused companies because as discussed before, a young population that is getting more educated, empowered, and employed will have a positive impact on future consumption. Consumption will also be complemented by the country becoming a manufacturing destination for the RMG industry as it already employs 4 million workers.
Though there have been concerns over worker safety and wage levels in the country it is important to put things in perspective. The Bangladesh RMG industry consists of approximately 5,600 factories and 80% of exports are accounted for by roughly the top 20% of the manufacturers. What this number suggests is that there are a number of smaller operators where safety conditions and wage levels may not be the best. This is reflected in the financials of the larger players in the industry with respect to wage levels. Though minimum wage has increased from USD 38 to USD 68 per month, the well established companies already have average wage expenses which are higher than the minimum wage level. The larger well established companies are managed professionally with respect to wage levels and worker safety and the AFC Asia Frontier Fund has invested in a few names which can benefit from rising exports going forward.
Bangladesh a Low Cost Option for Garment Manufacturing
Source: China Labour Bulletin, Deloitte 2013 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index, Asia Frontier Capital
Returning to our focus on consumer-companies, the AFC Asia Frontier Fund has researched quite a few consumer names and there are some which stand out in terms of their fundamentals, growth rates and future potential. The fund has invested in these companies and we are positive on their future outlook.
The low cost nature of manufacturing in Bangladesh has also given rise to a growing pharmaceutical industry in the country. Currently most of the pharmaceutical companies supply domestically with exports picking up as manufacturing facilities get certified by various authorities. In fact one of the companies that the fund holds has already begun exports to EU countries like Germany and Austria. Healthcare expenditure per capita in Bangladesh, at USD 27, is amongst the lowest in the region and the world and we believe that increasing income levels should benefit the pharmaceutical industry in Bangladesh.
With respect to the stock market, average daily turnover of USD 50 million is comparable to other Asian frontier markets like Pakistan and Vietnam. Another interesting aspect of the stock market in Bangladesh is that most of the participants are local investors as foreign institutional investors are not yet big participants relative to other markets in the region like India, Thailand and Indonesia or even other frontier markets. This is one reason why Bangladesh did not see a heavy outflow of foreign capital when other Asian markets corrected due to worries over Fed tapering plans. Furthermore, lower foreign participation has also led to lower correlations with global markets and this is why the country also provides an attractive diversification strategy in addition to its growing consumption theme. Correlations between the DSE General Index and MSCI World Index are in fact negative on a 5 year monthly return basis!
A risk that has played out in Bangladesh in the recent past and could play out in the future is politically motivated violence. Whenever elections are around the corner one of the two major political parties resorts to shutdowns and rallies which also lead to violence and destruction of property. This is a risk not only in Bangladesh but any emerging or frontier market in Asia and the political parties that govern Bangladesh will realise sooner rather than later that there is much to lose economically by resorting to such tactics.
Bangladesh has made good strides with respect to its macro economy and development of its RMG and Consumer/Healthcare industries. With the prospects for a growing economy, increasing income levels, and higher consumption, we remain positive on the long term outlook for the country.
Bangladesh had a tumultuous start to 2014. General elections, which were held on 5th of January 2014 were controversial and tarnished by violence. 22 people were killed on Election Day, and the governing party, the Awami League, emerged victorious with 232 of the 300 seats in Bangladesh's new Parliament, although most of the major opposition parties boycotted the election and voter turnout at the polls was low. But despite the early political uncertainty, the unrest surrounding the election has largely quieted down, brightening Bangladesh's political outlook and restoring investor confidence that the country will not plunge into political chaos in the ensuing months.
1) Foreign investment is up year-on-year (YoY)
As the long-term outlook for Bangladesh remains strong and political unrest have stabilized, foreign investment has increased in the country, with net foreign investment on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) rising 17% in February 2014 from the same month one year earlier. Despite this, foreign investment still accounts for less than 1% of market capitalization in Bangladesh - a testament to the fact that the country simply isn't on the radar screens of many foreign institutional investors.
2) Steps are being taken to improve transparency and regulation in Bangladesh's capital markets
In February, four directors were elected to the first board of the demutualized Dhaka Stock Exchange. A law on demutualization was passed in Bangladeshi parliament in April of last year to enhance the financial markets' transparency and to develop the Dhaka and Chittagong bourses from non-profit cooperative organizations to profit-oriented companies owned by shareholders. The demutualization also seeks to separate the management of the bourses from ownership. In addition to steps taken towards demutualization, five panels have been created on both bourses to promote corporate governance: committees on audit/risk management, nomination and remuneration, regulatory affairs, appeals, and conflict mitigation. All committees will have independent directors.
3) Textile exports continue to grow
Bangladesh is the second largest garment exporter in the world after China and its textile sector accounts for more than 75% of exports and roughly 17% of total GDP. The industry has continued to grow despite the major setbacks in 2013 of political unrest and fatal factory incidents, including the devastating factory collapse in April. Over the first seven months of the fiscal year (beginning July 2013), garment exports grew to USD 14.2 billion, an increase nearly 18% from the same period a year before. Bangladesh has also made progress implementing reforms to the industry. In July, amendments were made to the labour law, allowing workers to form trade unions, and in December, a minimum wage increase for garment workers was announced. One new challenge for Bangladesh's textile industry will be the increasing competition from Pakistan's garment sector. Bangladesh already enjoys Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status for its exports to the European Union, but effective as of January of this year, Pakistan now also has access to the same preferential trade access to the EU.
4) Strong influx of remittances fuels economy
Remittance inflows from non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) have been crucial to supporting the country's economy. Remittances comprise around 10% of GDP, up from 5% in 2000, and over the past four years, remittance inflows have grown by 11%, compared to an average of 7.1% in other countries in Asia. Inflows during the FY 2012-13 grew to USD 14.46 billion, and the Bangladeshi Central Bank is in the process of creating an online database specifically aimed at NRBs highlighting investment information, proper remittance channels, and financial and economic updates from the government with potential opportunities in which NRBs can participate.
5) Further discussions on transnational highway
To strengthen the country's infrastructure and promote regional trade, Bangladesh is engaging in discussions regarding a potential transnational highway connecting China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India. Foreign ministry officials have reported that an agreement may be signed in New Delhi in December at the third intergovernmental meeting on the proposed Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC). The 2,800 km proposed route would connect Kunming-Mandalay-Dhaka-Kolkata, tapping into the trade potential of the four countries, which stands at US $132 billion, according to a study by the Research and Information System for Developing Countries in India. Bangladesh's proposed deep sea port in Sonadia, near Chittagong, is of particular interest to China as it looks to gain access to a larger number of alternative shipping channels in the region. China's Yunnan Province is in fact closer to Chittagong (Bangladesh's 2nd city) than it is to Shanghai or Beijing. Despite its potential, however, the project is still in the preliminary planning stages and would require an enormous amount of funding and intergovernmental cooperation to make it a reality. Bangladesh would stand to gain tremendously from such an infrastructure project, as it would make the country a strategic connection hub between South Asia and Southeast Asia.
www.EmergingFrontiers.com is a sophisticated investor website acting as a bridge between companies operating in developing markets and a broad-based investor group, both buy and sell side, seeking to do business in such countries. The Emerging Frontiers team lives full-time in frontier and emerging market countries.
Kh. Asadul Islam is one of Asia Frontier Capital's Directors as well as the CEO and Managing Director of City Brokerage Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The City Bank Limited. With more than 16 years experience in Bangladesh capital markets he has previously held the position of Executive Vice President and Head of Brokerage of The City Bank. Mr. Islam is the former CEO of IDLC Securities Limited and played a key role in setting up and building the company. He began his career with Premium Securities Limited and later moving to the renowned multinational investment bank Peregrine Capital Ltd followed by a shift to the Union Capital Limited. In 2002, he became the Director of SES Company Limited a wholly owned subsidiary of UCL.
Emerging Frontiers: Bangladesh is fast becoming an investment destination for garment and textile manufacturers relocating from China to take advantage of less expensive labour. How many garment factories are currently operating in Bangladesh and what is the government doing, if anything, to encourage factories to relocate to Bangladesh as opposed to either Viet Nam or Cambodia?
Kh. Asadul Islam Ripon: The garments industry is the heritage of Bangladesh for over 400 years, and currently we are the second largest garment exporter after China. Bangladesh exported apparel items worth more than USD 20 billion in FY 12-13.The sector employs about five million workers and over 80% of them are women. Bangladesh garment and textile industry has come across a long way. It was not only for `cheap labour' or even `China plus one'. Entrepreneurship, work ethics, diversity, capacity, heritage, and policy support played a major role to get us over here. Now we design and produce for the leading brands and retailers, around the globe. This rapidly growing sector of the Bangladeshi economy offers a unique competitive edge that supports profitable expansion into new strategic markets.
The growing trend in the textile and the garments sector means that Bangladesh is perfectly positioned to appeal to foreign investors. Enormous opportunities exist in the sector for investment in exclusive economic zones called EPZ-Export Processing Zone. The list of incentives include, 10 years tax holiday; duty free import of raw materials, construction materials, machineries, office equipment & spare parts; repatriation of royalty, technical and consultancy fees; 100% foreign ownership is permissible; full repatriation of capital & dividend; foreign currency loan from abroad under direct automatic route.
The most beneficial public policy of introducing back-to-back LC* and bonded warehouse facilities provide a tremendous impetus to the export scenario in Bangladesh.
Emerging Frontiers: Currently, minimum wage for garment workers is $38 per month. In Cambodia this number is $75. What are conditions like for workers surviving on $38 per month and do you see demands from workers who want a rise in minimum wage to compensate for a costlier city life as well as the more than 7.0% annual inflation rate?
Kh. Asadul Islam Ripon: The minimum wage of the RMG sector of Bangladesh is now in the process for revision under the guidance of the 'Minimum Wage Board'. The discussion and negotiation on the minimum wage is taking place at a time when the RMG sector is in the spotlight at both local and global levels. It is worth mentioning that the Wage Board on garments in Bangladesh nearly doubled minimum wages on July 29, 2010. The minimum wage at the entry level was previously raised to BDT 3,000 a month (or about USD 38) from BDT 1,662.50 (USD 22), which became effective from November 1, 2010. Within the existing seven grades, the highest pay is fixed at BDT 9,300 (USD 119.23) per month.
Under the economic circumstances, I expect the new average nominal wage to range between BDT 5,800 to BDT 6,000 per month. Given the 5 million workers in the industry, the increase in average nominal wage from BDT 3,000 per month to BDT 6,000 per month would lead to a maximum increase in the annual wage bill of the industry by about BDT 100 billion (equivalent to about USD 1.28 billion). This is the maximum possible increase because the initial average wage of BDT 3,000 per month is based on the assumption that workers were paid the minimum wage in each grade, which generally might not be true. This maximum possible increase constitutes 5.84% of total FY13 garment exports. Data on average profit margin in the garment industry as a whole is not available. Guesstimates are that it is unlikely to be more than 8 to 10 percent of the value of exports. In the absence of any price increase from the buyers, the contemplated wage increase is therefore likely to hit profits significantly in Bangladesh's garment and textile industry.
Just out of curiosity, I did a sensitivity analysis on the cost and pricing of apparels exported from Bangladesh and the results were fascinating. I found out that the per unit price dropped from USD 3.30 in 2001 to currently USD 2.23...
The rest of this in depth interview is available online at www.EmergingFrontiers.com. Please click the Emerging Frontiers button below to read about Bangladesh and find other in depth coverage of news from frontier markets around the world.
In my recent trip to Dhaka I found myself in the midst of a rare opportunity. After a few meetings and the cancelation of a few more, I had almost two days to explore Bangladesh. Of course, I didn't want just a touch-and-go experience of society, culture and life in general. Not this time. Neither did I want to end up with a touristic information overload that practically amounts to nothing, other than some exotic photos on my Facebook page. I had two days to explore, and I wanted a very particular experience, one that couldn't be experienced in any other part of the world.
After talking to a friendly waiter and chatting with the pretty faces at the information desk, I made up my mind. I was going to the Sundarbans for that unique experience.
What I have to say has probably been said in better ways by writers with a limitless registry of adjectives that surpasses the limitations of language and even exceed the profound realm of fancy and imagination to recreate a passionate experience. What I saw has probably been documented to details and is available to anyone who executes a google search or watches the nature channels. But I still choose to say it all again in my way. Why? Simply because I've been inspired by the Sundarbans in Bangladesh.
A dense plumage of trees, crisscrossing rivers touched by no Man-is how I will always remember this Mangrove Forrest. Here I was not a tourist, nor an intruder; I was simply "man" - a descendant of man. The way the herd of deer that I saw were the descendants of deer. Astonishingly, I felt that I fitted right in. But I also felt afraid at the same time. Everything seemed to be alive. Every part of the forest calls out and beckons you, much like the erratic calls of foreign peddlers calling out in a street bazar, except that in this case you don't see anyone, you just hear them. You hear birds, the swooshing of the trees and howls of all kinds. Unnerving if you are faint hearted; and I think I was.
Even the ground beneath is alive. The leaves on the ground constantly rustle. It could've been brought to life by a snake, or lizard, a rodent or a bug or the wind. I quickly took out my phone to sample the sounds of the Sundarbans - no iTunes, no 99 cents.
In the jungle, an agitated-calm overtakes you. You are relaxed, but also alert. Here the flight or fight mode are not two diametrically opposing responses, but seem to be one state of being- a singularity, a constant. I never felt that way before, it was new and exciting, as was every stimuli being transcribed through my sensory perceptions. I felt alive and in-sync with the ambiance.
I didn't know I could be intimidate by birds, while they stare down at you and seem to judge you. Hitchcock never prepared me for that. I didn't know crocodiles could be so social. I think from now on, I will be calling a group of crocodiles a "society" but not a "civilization"-- I'll need a few more trips to decide on that one!
Escorted by some chuckling dolphins my day ended with a short boat ride around the salty peripheries of the world's largest Mangrove forest and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Before I set out for the Sundarbans I was not guaranteed the sighting of a Royal Bengal Tiger, though, my guide affirmed that I was unlucky compared to the visitors before me whom he described as being "very lucky". I told him that to see a Royal Bengal Tiger would be a truly great thing but I considered myself fortunate just to have breathed in the wonders of the Sundarbans.
I hope you enjoyed reading our monthly newsletter and remain with kind regards,
This document does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to invest in AFC Asia Frontier Fund, AFC Asia Frontier Fund (non-US), AFC Vietnam Fund or any other funds sponsored by Asia Frontier Capital Ltd. or its affiliates. We will not make such offer or solicitation prior to the delivery of a definitive offering memorandum and other materials relating to the matters herein. Before making an investment decision with respect to our Funds, we advise potential investors to read carefully the respective offering memorandum, the limited partnership agreement or operating agreement, and the related subscription documents, and to consult with their tax, legal, and financial advisors. We have compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, but we cannot guarantee its correctness. We present our opinions without warranty. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. © Asia Frontier Capital Ltd. All rights reserved.
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