3i stresses the success of its cost savings and plans further sales

Marion Dakers
PRIVATE equity firm 3i Group yesterday talked up the success of its cost-cutting measures as it reported steady gains from its investments.

With one eye on activist investor Edward Bramson’s recent stake-building, 3i chief executive Simon Borrows said he expects to beat savings targets for this financial year.

“Since the announcement of our new strategy in June last year, the discount of 3i’s share price to reported net asset value per share has narrowed materially,” said Borrows.

Borrows, who took the top job last summer following a wave of shareholder disquiet, has cut jobs and closed offices as the firm tightens focus on northern Europe.

He added that the firm will exit more of its investments in the coming 18 months.

This follows a subdued final nine months of 2012, in which the firm sold off £318m-worth of assets for a profit of £74m.

The company said that its net asset value grew 4.8 per cent to 286p a share in the last quarter.

Gross debt, which stood at £1.2bn at the end of the year, is on track to fall below £1bn by June.

This week 3i revealed that Bramson’s Sherborne Investors and its broker Jefferies had been buying shares in the company.

Bramson, known for his boardroom coup at F&C, has not yet been in touch with 3i to declare his intentions, the firm confirmed yesterday.

Shares in 3i Group closed down 3.4 per cent at 263.2p.