State nears a sale for Actis

THE government has moved closer to selling its remaining stake in the controversial private equity firm Actis.

Analysts have said the Department for International Development could raise up to £200m by offloading its 40 per cent share in the emerging markets buyout firm. However the management team of Actis, who are the most likely buyers, regard that figure as an over-valuation.

The sale has been mired in controversy and last year international development secretary Andrew Mitchell attacked the “way the management of Actis have so enthusiastically exploited the taxpayer’s position”. Mitchell also criticised the previous government for the way Actis management took a 60 per cent stake for £373,000 in 2004, although the firm’s executives apparently view Ministers’ tactics as playing a “game”.

Actis, which has $4.6bn (£3bn) assets under management, said only that discussions with the government are continuing. DfID said it would not comment until a deal has been agreed.