3i Group hikes dividend after £530m sell-off

 
Michael Bow
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INVESTORS in listed investment firm 3i Group will reap the benefits of a bumper sale spree at the company after it announced plans to boost its dividend payout.

The FTSE 250-listed firm, which is the oldest private equity investor in Britain, sold off £528m of private equity investments over the six months ending September amid a resurgent realisation environment for private equity investors.

This was up from the £268m in the same period last year.

The proceeds will be passed onto investors in the form of a special dividend of 4p per share, boosting the annual dividend payout to 20p a share, the company said in its results yesterday.

The business has been undergoing a drastic restructure under the watch of chief executive Simon Borrows and indications yesterday suggested that it was paying off.

It has moved from having net debts of £335m in March 2012 to having a surplus of £28m in cash today.

“We are now generating some real momentum in the business,” Borrows said.

3i’s realisations were boosted by the sale of Xellia Pharmaceuticals, which handed the firm £143m, as well the sale of Civica for £124m.

The company also made £13m from the float of global healthcare company Quintiles, which floated in May. It still owns £146m of the business.

Earlier this week corporate raider Ed Bramson ended his pursuit of 3i after selling his stake in the company.

Shares in the business fell 4.59 per cent in trading yesterday.