Investors are buying into PIIGS nations here and there. We noted how the new “Greek ETF” is significantly outperforming the broader markets. Now there is the ongoing issue of the PIIGS with Ireland. There are not many funds and ETF products which track Ireland. There is the ETF of the iShares MSCI Ireland Capped Investable Market Index (NYSE: EIRL) and then there is the closed-end fund called The New Ireland Fund, Inc. (NYSE: IRL).
The latter vehicle (The New Ireland Fund) has some interesting news that you do not see very often. The closed-end fund is repurchasing shares. A review of the Closed-End Fund Association website actually shows that this fund is trading at a 12.5% discount to its Net Asset Value. This fund invests at least 80% of its assets in a portfolio of Irish securities.
The fund noted that it has recommenced its share repurchase program and that it has been in the market repurchasing shares whenever the discount has been above 10%. Of the total float, it has repurchased approximately 1.6% of the outstanding shares. The discount it has bought at is roughly 12.5% on average.
Specifically it noted that the fund expects to continue to be in the market on the same basis and it will be reviewed on a regular basis. As noted, “The Board will also be continuing to review what other actions, if any, might be taken to enhance shareholder value and address the discount at which shares have tended to trade.”
No one is paying attention today as the fund is down 0.9% at $7.52 on a day when the iShares MSCI Ireland Capped Investable Market Index (NYSE: EIRL) is up 1.8% at $21.00. The Bank of Ireland (NYSE: IRE), which is one of the most actively traded ADRs of Ireland, is down 2.9% at $7.65 versus a split-adjusted 52-week range of $3.99 to $27.00.