3i trebles buyouts after restructure

PRIVATE equity firm 3i Group trebled its buyout investments in the five months to August after a recent shake-up at the firm saw its head of buyouts resign, it said yesterday.

Investment in buyouts increased to £236m from £86m in 2009, with overall investments up more than 65 per cent to £257m, 3i said.

Realisations from investments sold fell to £129m from £448m in 2009. 3i’s chief executive Michael Queen said the group had made good progress growing the company over the period.

Queen has led a number of changes at the firm in recent weeks, merging the buyouts team with the growth capital business that specialises in buying minority stakes in fast growing businesses.

The move led to the departure of 3i’s leading dealmaker Jonathan Russell, a 24-year veteran of the firm. 3i also announced a deal for debt management firm Mizuho Investment Management earlier this week, a move designed to bolster the group’s corporate debt investing business, and one which is seen moving the firm further from a buyouts model to a broader asset management business.

Meanwhile, high asset prices continue to weigh heavily on new deals, with Queen saying the firm would keep its focused approach, targeting sectors such as healthcare, where the group still sees good value. But Queen added the competition for assets will help 3i sell businesses at attractive prices. Queen said there is strong demand for general industrial companies with a good product range, manufacturing efficiencies and international prospects.