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Virtus Duff & Phelps Global Infrastructure Fund

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Ticker
PGUAX
CUSIP
92828R826
POP
$ (as of )
Inception
12/30/2004
Total Assets by Class
$31,062,471.42 (as of 02/07/2023)
Total Assets by Fund
$81,889,262.48 (as of 02/07/2023)
Morningstar Category
Infrastructure

Portfolio Overview

Investment Overview

The Fund seeks attractive capital appreciation and current income by investing globally in owners/operators of essential services companies involved in the communications, utility, transportation, and energy industries. The highly experienced portfolio team applies a disciplined, bottom-up investment process that strives to deliver superior risk-adjusted returns.

Management Team

Investment Partner

Duff & Phelps Investment Management Co.

Duff & Phelps Investment Management pursues specialized investment strategies with exceptional depth of resources and expertise. Since its earliest beginnings, providing research and analysis of income producing securities to Depression-era investors, the firm's attention has been set on identifying attractive opportunities through active management and fundamental research, while managing the associated risks. Today, building on a distinguished legacy, Duff & Phelps has earned a reputation as a leader in investing in Global Listed Infrastructure, Global Listed Real Estate, Clean Energy, and Diversified Real Assets.

Quality. Reliability. Specialization. Since 1932.


Learn more about Duff & Phelps Investment Management Co.

Investment Professionals

Connie Luecke

Connie Luecke, CFA

Senior Managing Director, Senior Portfolio Manager

Industry start date: 1983
Start date as fund Portfolio Manager: 2004

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Steven Wittwer

Steven Wittwer, CFA

Executive Managing Director, Senior Portfolio Manager

Industry start date: 1997
Start date as fund Portfolio Manager: 2018

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Key Features

Attractive Income and Growth Potential

Pursues the relatively high, predictable dividends and solid capital appreciation opportunities that infrastructure companies can offer

Strong Protective Attributes

Focuses on essential services companies that historically have performed well regardless of economic conditions, with long-term contracts or regulatory agreements that provide a potential inflation hedge

Lower Relative Risk Profile

High-conviction portfolio of 40-60 securities emphasizes quality, developed market owner/operators with high-visibility revenues, above-average dividend payouts, and steady cash flow and earnings growth

Portfolio Characteristics

Top Holdings (% Fund)

(as of 12/30/2022)
Security
NextEra Energy Inc
6.16
 6.16%
Transurban Group
6.04
 6.04%
American Tower Corp
5.33
 5.33%
Cheniere Energy Inc
3.98
 3.98%
Crown Castle Inc
3.54
 3.54%
Dominion Energy Inc
3.48
 3.48%
Sempra Energy
3.23
 3.23%
American Electric Power Co Inc
3.07
 3.07%
Aena SME SA
3.06
 3.06%
CenterPoint Energy Inc
3.00
 3.00%

Holdings are subject to change.

Characteristics4

(as of 12/30/2022)
Average Weighted Market Cap (billions) $46.13
Median Market Cap (billions) $29.20
Trailing P/E Ex-Negative Earnings 24.05
Price-to-Cash Flow 12.29
Price-to-Book Value 2.53
3-Year Earnings Growth Rate -0.27

Industry Allocation (% Equity)

(as of 12/30/2022)
Electric Utilities
25.39
 25.39%
Multi-Utilities
18.70
 18.70%
Oil & Gas Storage & Transportation
15.13
 15.13%
Highways & Railtracks
9.00
 9.00%
Specialized REITs
8.95
 8.95%
Airport Services
6.96
 6.96%
Railroads
5.82
 5.82%
Gas Utilities
3.85
 3.85%
Construction & Engineering
2.94
 2.94%
Integrated Telecommunication Services
1.72
 1.72%
Water Utilities
1.56
 1.56%

Top Countries (% Invested Assets)

(as of 12/30/2022)

Performance & Risk

Growth of $10,000 Investment

From to
This chart assumes an initial investment of $10,000 made on for Class ddd shares including any applicable sales charges. Performance assumes reinvestment of dividends and capital gain distributions.

Performance

As of
As of

Performance data quoted represents past results. Past performance is no guarantee of future results and current performance may be higher or lower than the performance shown. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate, so your shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

Sales Charge and Expenses

Yields / Distributions1

(as of )
30-day SEC Yield
30-day SEC Yield (unsubsidized)
Distribution Rate (at NAV)
Income Distributions Current Month
Income Distributions YTD

Risk Statistics3

(as of )
Fund Index
R2
Beta
Alpha
Std Dev

Risk Considerations

Equity Securities: The market price of equity securities may be adversely affected by financial market, industry, or issuer-specific events. Focus on a particular style or on small or medium-sized companies may enhance that risk.
Industry/Sector Concentration: A portfolio that focuses its investments in a particular industry or sector will be more sensitive to conditions that affect that industry or sector than a non-concentrated portfolio.
Foreign Investing: Investing in foreign securities subjects the portfolio to additional risks such as increased volatility; currency fluctuations; less liquidity; less publicly available information about the foreign investment; and political, regulatory, economic, and market risk.
Income: Income received from the portfolio may vary widely over the short- and long-term and/or be less than anticipated if the proceeds from maturing securities in the portfolio are reinvested in lower-yielding securities.
Market Volatility: The value of the securities in the portfolio may go up or down in response to the prospects of individual companies and/or general economic conditions. Price changes may be short- or long-term. Local, regional, or global events such as war or military conflict (e.g., Russia's invasion of Ukraine), acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness (e.g., COVID-19 pandemic) or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the portfolio and its investments, including hampering the ability of the portfolio's manager(s) to invest the portfolio's assets as intended.
Prospectus: For additional information on risks, please see the fund's prospectus.

Commentary

4Q22

Market review

Equity markets rebounded from October lows to finish the quarter with gains. Global developed markets (as measured by the MSCI World Index (net)) rose 9.77% on a total return basis. Equity gains were supported by hopes that inflation may be peaking across Europe and the U.S., which would ultimately bring an end to interest rate increases. Optimism for a future economic boost arising from Beijing’s loosening of pandemic restrictions in December also provided support to equity markets. Global listed infrastructure stocks (as measured by the FTSE Developed Core Infrastructure 50/50 Index (net)) rose 9.25% in the quarter, modestly trailing the broader market.

Transportation stocks reversed course this quarter and traded higher as the market rallied. Labor contracts for the U.S. freight railroads were resolved with an assist from the government, clearing the way for improvements in staffing and service levels. European airports experienced strong passenger growth with some seeing traffic return to pre-pandemic levels. Toll road traffic was solid, with lower fuel prices removing some headwinds for vehicle usage.

Utility stocks also bounced back in the quarter. European utilities rose as investor concerns about a potential energy crisis were assuaged. In response to high energy prices, European governments opted for price caps and windfall taxes to protect consumers rather than more heavy-handed regulation. U.S. utilities traded higher as early outlooks for 2023 were generally positive and investors perceived lower earnings risk with utilities relative to other sectors.

The energy infrastructure sector traded higher despite near-term weakness in commodity prices. Energy demand was lower as warm weather across the northern hemisphere dampened heating needs while commercial and industrial users in Europe curbed their activity to conserve resources. We see these conditions as transitory. Global inventories remain low and spare production capacity is very limited, which will likely tighten commodities markets and support higher prices in the future.

Communications was the worst-performing sector in the quarter and for the year. While fundamental business conditions for wireless towers remain quite positive, higher interest rates took a toll on the tower stocks. Despite the recent decline in stock prices, U.S. and European tower companies enjoy robust conditions for future demand.

Portfolio review

Underperformance was due in part to stock selection, which was negative across all sectors except transportation. Sector allocation also detracted from performance, as overweight positions in communications and energy, combined with an underweight position in transportation, had a negative impact. An underweight position in the utility sector had a negligible influence on performance.

Two transportation stocks were the top contributors for the quarter. Australian toll road operator Transurban Group performed well as the company reported solid traffic volumes and revenues; in addition, management cited improving visibility on greenfield project deliveries. Spanish airport operator Aena SME SA rose as passenger volumes recovered toward pre-pandemic levels. Management also provided a positive outlook for passenger traffic and retail sales growth in future years. Currency appreciation provided a further boost, with Transurban and Aena aided by the strength of the Australian dollar and the euro, respectively.

The largest detractors to performance were Cheniere Energy and Dominion Energy. Cheniere Energy is the leading producer and exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the United States. After a very strong third quarter and solid year-to-date performance, Cheniere’s stock pulled back during the fourth quarter. Global LNG prices moderated due to high European gas inventories and a slow start to the heating season in Europe. We are encouraged about the long-term fundamentals for LNG demand and remain positive on the name. Dominion Energy, a Virginia-based utility, traded lower after announcing a business review and potential restructuring. The announcement surprised investors and raised concerns that the outcome of the business review could be dilutive to earnings. While this is a risk, based on our revised estimates, we think the share price reaction is overdone and continue to hold the stock.

Investment outlook

The year ahead will present challenges as industries adjust to higher interest rates and commodity prices as well as continued political uncertainties. We are optimistic that listed infrastructure companies will display the resiliency of their business models as they weather these headwinds. We believe secular trends support continued progress within each sector. Asset renewal, energy security, decarbonization, and data growth are driving durable, long-term investment cycles that will continue for years to come despite negative short-term economic developments.

Wireless tower activity in the U.S. should remain robust in 2023 and beyond as carriers shift from the initial stages of 5G buildout and blanket coverage to focus on more targeted network densification. In Europe, we expect healthy organic activity to continue as the tower companies benefit from 5G expansion as well as inflation-linked escalators embedded in their contracts. We believe the 5G buildout and predictable cash flows provided by long-term contracts will make the tower companies more resilient to the macroeconomic challenges that may be ahead in 2023.

Utilities benefit from the transition to renewable energy and renewal of assets and we expect these positive tailwinds to last for years to come. Higher interest rates and commodity prices provide near-term challenges that must be overcome, but we believe these obstacles are a speed bump rather than a dead end. In fact, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides strong financial support for the energy transition in the United States and should help offset short-term headwinds.

For European utilities, the war in Ukraine and the loss of Russian natural gas remain the greatest hurdles. Higher natural gas prices have led to consumer affordability issues and potential political intervention. To date, European governments have managed affordability with power price “caps” and windfall taxes on energy companies. While we find valuations of European utilities attractive, our enthusiasm is tempered by potential fallout from even higher energy prices if weather conditions are extreme over the coming months. Ultimately, we believe that Europe will secure adequate energy resources for 2023 and an acceleration of renewable energy deployment will be part of the solution.

Toll road volumes have shown resiliency with many roads already exceeding pre-pandemic traffic levels. Toll roads are stable businesses with inflation-linked tolling regimes and efficient cost structures. Therefore, we foresee another steady year of operations ahead.

North American railroads are beginning to emerge from the service issues induced by the global supply chain disruption. In 2023, we expect strong pricing gains, which can act as a powerful hedge to inflation headwinds. Furthermore, rising global political tensions have disrupted the supply of essential commodities. We see railroads’ established networks as part of the solution, shipping commodities to meet elevated demand.

Airport traffic saw a sharp recovery in 2022. Pent-up demand for leisure travel has fueled “revenge travel” and businesses are eager to reconnect with customers in person. However, we see signs of a potential slowdown in 2023. Higher prices for jet fuel and airline tickets may weigh on leisure travel, while business travel is likely to face continued competition from video conferencing and corporate ESG objectives.

Midstream energy was the best-performing infrastructure sector in 2022 and we remain constructive on the outlook for 2023. The midstream sector continues to be well-positioned to weather high inflation and commodity price volatility. Midstream balance sheets are significantly stronger and dividend payouts are at sustainable levels. Most companies are at or near targeted leverage metrics and have pivoted to shareholder-friendly capital allocation policies. The sector is more insulated than it has been in prior downturns, which gives us a higher degree of comfort amid an uncertain macro backdrop.

The coming months will undoubtedly present unforeseen challenges, but we expect to find opportunities as well. Based on our current views of macroeconomic trends, industry drivers, and geopolitical risks, we believe our strategy is appropriately positioned. Our objective is to invest in companies with experienced management teams and predictable business models that are positioned for success despite the uncertain economic environment. As always, we will continue to closely monitor global developments through our research and management meetings, incorporating changes to portfolio positioning as warranted.

The commentary is the opinion of the subadviser. This material has been prepared using sources of information generally believed to be reliable; however, its accuracy is not guaranteed. Opinions represented are subject to change and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of securities.

Related Literature

Marketing Materials

Virtus DPIM Global Infrastructure Fund Fact Sheet - R6
Virtus Duff & Phelps Global Infrastructure Fund Fact Sheet - A
Virtus Duff & Phelps Global Infrastructure Fund Fact Sheet - I
Morningstar - Quarterly Ratings
Global Listed Infrastructure 2023 Outlook
Spotlight On: Virtus Duff & Phelps Global Infrastructure Fund
Rebalancing Revisited: Are Your Allocations Out of Whack?

Distributions

Mutual Fund Distributions

Financial Materials

Virtus Opportunities Trust Statutory Prospectus
Virtus Duff & Phelps Global Infrastructure Fund Summary Prospectus
Virtus Opportunities Trust SAI
Virtus Opportunities Trust Annual Report
Virtus Opportunities Trust Semiannual Report

Holdings

Virtus Duff & Phelps Global Infrastructure Fund Quarterly Holdings
Virtus Duff & Phelps Global Infrastructure Fund Top Holdings
Virtus Duff & Phelps Global Infrastructure Fund Holdings Fiscal Q1
Virtus Duff & Phelps Global Infrastructure Fund Holdings Fiscal Q3

SEC 19(a) Notices

Section 19(a) Notice for Ex-Date December 22, 2022

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of any Virtus Mutual Fund before investing. The prospectus and summary prospectus contains this and other information about the fund. Please contact your financial representative, call 1-800-243-4361 to obtain a current prospectus and/or summary prospectus. You should read the prospectus and/or summary prospectus carefully before you invest or send money.

Performance data quoted represents past results. Past performance is no guarantee of future results and current performance may be higher or lower than the performance shown. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate, so your shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

Average annual total return is the annual compound return for the indicated period. It reflects the change in share price and the reinvestment of all dividends and capital gains. NAV returns do not include the effect of any applicable sales charges. POP and w/CDSC returns include the effect of maximum applicable sales charges.

Returns for periods of less than one year are cumulative total returns.

1 Yields/Distributions: 30-day SEC Yield is a standardized yield calculated according to a formula set by the SEC, and is subject to change. 30-day SEC Yield (unsubsidized) is the 30-day SEC Yield without the effect of applicable expense waivers. Distribution Rate is calculated by (a) annualizing the latest income distribution for fixed income funds or funds less than 1 year old, or (b) summing all income distributions over the preceding 12 months for all other funds, and dividing the NAV on the last business date of the period, unless otherwise indicated. The Distribution Rate may be comprised of ordinary income, net realized capital gains and returns of capital.

2 Distribution History: Distributions are represented on a cash basis and may be reclassified at year end for tax purposes. The Fund will send you a Form 1099-DIV for the calendar year that will tell you how to report these distributions for federal income tax purposes. STCG: Short Term Capital Gain, LTCG: Long Term Capital Gain

3 Risk Statistics: R2 is a statistical measure that represents the percentage of a fund or security's movements that can be explained by movements in a benchmark index. Beta is a quantitative measure of the volatility of a given portfolio to the overall market. Alpha is a risk adjusted measure of an investment's excess return relative to a benchmark. A positive Alpha indicates that the investment produced a return greater than expected for the risk (as measured by Beta) taken. Standard Deviation measures variability of returns around the average return for an investment fund. Higher standard deviation suggests greater risk. Risk Statistics are calculated using 36 monthly returns.

4 Characteristics: For Equity Funds: Avg. Weighted Market Cap (bn): The sum of each security's weight within the fund (or index) multiplied by the security's market capitalization; Trailing P/E Ex-Negative Earnings: Per-share stock price divided by the latest 12-months Earnings per Share; Price/Cash Flow: Per-share stock price divided by the per-share operating cash flow; Price/Book: Per-share stock price divided by the latest 12-month per-share Book Value; 3-Year EPS Growth Rate: Average of earnings per share growth for latest 3-year period. The 3-Year EPS Growth Rate is not a forecast of the fund's performance.

4 Characteristics: For Fixed Income Funds: Effective Duration represents the interest rate sensitivity of a fixed income fund. For example, if a fund's effective duration is five years, a 1% increase in interest rates would result in a 5% decline in the fund's price. Similarly, a 1% decline in interest rates would result in a 5% gain in the fund's price.

Morningstar Disclosures:
The Morningstar Rating for funds, or "star rating", is calculated for managed products (including mutual funds, variable annuity and variable life subaccounts, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, and separate accounts) with at least a three-year history. Exchange-traded funds and open-ended mutual funds are considered a single population for comparative purposes. It is calculated based on a Morningstar Risk-Adjusted Return measure that accounts for variation in a managed product's monthly excess performance, placing more emphasis on downward variations and rewarding consistent performance. The top 10% of products in each product category receive 5 stars, the next 22.5% receive 4 stars, the next 35% receive 3 stars, the next 22.5% receive 2 stars, and the bottom 10% receive 1 star. The Overall Morningstar Rating for a managed product is derived from a weighted average of the performance figures associated with its three-, five-, and 10-year (if applicable) Morningstar Rating metrics. The weights are: 100% three-year rating for 36-59 months of total returns, 60% five-year rating/40% three-year rating for 60-119 months of total returns, and 50% 10-year rating/30% five-year rating/20% three-year rating for 120 or more months of total returns. While the 10-year overall star rating formula seems to give the most weight to the 10-year period, the most recent three-year period actually has the greatest impact because it is included in all three rating periods. Ratings do not take into account the effects of sales charges and loads.

© Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved. The information contained herein: (1) is proprietary to Morningstar and/or its content providers; (2) may not be copied or distributed; and (3) is not warranted to be accurate, complete, or timely. Neither Morningstar nor its content providers are responsible for any damages or losses arising from any use of this information. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.