Borrows digs in at 3i with £6.9m share purchase

THE new chief executive of 3i has bought nearly £7m of shares in the investments group in a show of faith in his new strategy.

Simon Borrows has spent around £6.9m on 4m shares spread over three days this week.

The veteran banker and former chief investment officer, who took over from Michael Queen in mid-May, is thought to see now as a very good time to buy 3i stock. It takes his stake in the business to around 5.6m shares or just over 0.5 per cent.

Borrows was previously chairman of investment bank Greenhill & Co. And he has been close to 3i for two decades and worked on its flotation in 1994. Last night 3i’s shares closed up 3.01 per cent at 174.7p

It comes as more signs emerge of its efforts to diversify away from traditional private equity deals. 3i has signed agreements to buy seven European collateralised loan obligation management contracts from Invesco, adding €2bn in assets to its debt management arm It takes total debt assets under management to €6bn.

It is Borrows’ first major deal since taking the top job at 3i. He wants to grow the debt management business proportionately faster than the private equity division in the belief that it provides more constant returns.

Jeremy Ghose, head of 3i Debt Management, said it continues to look for a US deal “in line with our strategy of playing a leading part in the consolidation of the debt market and creating a global credit platform of size.”

Last year 3i bought the debt management unit of Mizuho Corporate Bank for £18.3m and subsequently merged it with its own debt management activities.