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Axis Investment Fund bites the dust Add to ...

Axis Investment Fund Inc., a struggling labour-sponsored investment fund, is being put out of its misery.

Shareholders have approved the windup of the fund and sale of the assets to NorthStar Bancorp Ltd., a Toronto-based merchant banking firm. The net proceeds from the sale will be distributed to shareholders.

The fund, which was first set up in 2001 to focus on the technology sector, lost 84.4 per cent for the year ended July 31, and has posted an average annual loss of 50 per cent over the last five years.

By July 26, the net asset value of the fund had plunged to $405,936. That includes more than $178,000 in near cash assets and $46,248 in shares of a public company.

A circular to shareholders indicates that the fund's portfolio consisted of investments made in mostly early-stage companies. "These companies were inherently risky ventures and as such many of the companies did not become successful going concerns," it says.

While the fund had been acquired by B.E.S.T. Funds in early 2006, it has been unable to turn around performance. The fund experienced declining sales after the Ontario government opted in 2005 to eventually phase out the provincial tax credit for retail venture capital funds.

The fund was hit with redemption requests, but investors were no longer allowed to withdraw money last November because it was difficult to sell assets to generate enough cash.

While the sale is expected to occur on or before Sept. 10, the fund will continue to price its net asset value per share daily.

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