Epiris proves its strength as a standalone private equity manager as split with Electra approaches

 
Lucy White
Epiris sold nine of EPE's portfolio companies in the six months ending 31 March 2017, in a series of deals amounting to more than £1bn (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Private equity manager Epiris has cemented its position as a strong standalone player, as its final split with listed investment trust Electra Private Equity (EPE) approaches.

EPE, which used to count Epiris as its exclusive manager before effectively sacking it last year, has released its results for the first half of 2017 – a period when Epiris made significant returns for the trust.

Epiris sold nine of EPE's portfolio companies in the six months ending 31 March 2017, in a series of deals amounting to more than £1bn.

This made the trust an investment return of 15 per cent over the period, and 41 per cent over the last year.

“This is the last set of results we will announce for Electra and we are very pleased to be able to go out on a high,” said Epiris managing partner Alex Fortescue.

“Under our management, Electra has been the best-performing London-listed private equity investment trust and has comprehensively outperformed broader equity indices over the past ten years.”

Read more: Electra Private Equity shares up as it announces investment shake-up plans

Epiris will cease to manage EPE at the end of May, after the trust's board – under the influence of activist investor Edward Bramson – terminated the management agreement in an acrimonious split.

The move followed a strategic review by EPE, which concluded that returning control of all functions to the board would result in “a more effective, transparent corporate governance structure”, according to chairman Neil Johnson.

Epiris made its largest return over the first half of the 2017 financial year by selling Audiotonix, a manufacturer of audio mixing consoles used by Beyoncé and Adele, for £62m – securing EPE a 4.8-times return on investment.

Since it is no longer funded by the EPE investment trust, Epiris has been forced to raise its own capital. It is aiming for £800m to £1bn, City A.M. understands, and sources have said the fund recently reached a first close at £500m.

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