3i Group asset sales fail to show signs of improvement

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ED private equity giant 3i Group yesterday said the recent rallies in stock markets have not fed through to gains on its assets, in a downbeat trading statement. <br /><br />&ldquo;Despite the recent strong performance of equity markets, the economic outlook is still fragile and private equity and mergers and acquisition markets remain subdued,&rdquo; said chief executive Michael Queen.<br /><br />But the firm confirmed it has made strides into reducing its debt pile, which now stands at &pound;858m compared with &pound;1.9bn at the end of March.<br /><br />This was thanks to an aggressive programme of asset sales and a heavily-discounted &pound;732m rights issue in the summer.<br /><br />3i said its total asset sales over the five months to end-August brought in &pound;448m, and the assets had not risen in value compared to March, when markets hit lows. <br /><br />The group invested just &pound;155m over the period compared with &pound;560m over the same period of 2008, amid the debt-reduction efforts.<br /><br />It added it has secured &pound;350m in the form of two new credit facilities, giving it a total headroom of &pound;586m.