Jul 18, 2013
Hobbs owner sees pick up in investment opportunities
Jul 18, 2013
LONDON, England - Britain's 3i said on Thursday it had seen a pick up in investment opportunities in the United States and northern Europe and said it would boost payouts to shareholders.
3i, owner of women's fashion chain Hobbs and Tommee Tippee baby bottle maker Mayborn, has spent the last year restructuring following shareholder frustration at its poor share price performance and weak results from its buyout business.
The group has completed or announced 443 million pounds ($672.2 million) of divestments in the three months to June 30.
In May, for example, it sold UK software provider Civica to OMERS Private Equity, while the same month it reduced its stake in drug research company Quintiles via a listing in New York.
Chief Executive Simon Borrows said: "We have started to see a pick up in interesting investment opportunities across our private equity platform, particularly in the United States and more recently in Northern Europe."
Finance Director Julia Wilson told reporters 3i was particularly looking at U.S. businesses with a European angle, and countries and sectors it has had a good previous track record such as Germany, and industrials.
The group's net asset value grew 5 percent to 326 pence per share in the last three months.
Gross debt at the end of the quarter was 913 million pounds, meeting its target of getting it below 1 billion pounds by June.
As a result of this, and the fact gearing is below 20 percent, 3i said it plans to distribute between 15 and 20 percent of gross proceeds from its divestments to shareholders. It said so far it had 665 million pounds available to distribute.
Shares in 3i, which have risen more than 70 percent since the start of the year, were down 0.3 percent at 380.3 pence by 0714 GMT
© Thomson Reuters 2022 All rights reserved.