Pre-close period briefing

28 Sep 2006

 

3i Group plc ("3i"), a world leader in private equity and venture capital, will be holding discussions with analysts and investors ahead of its close period for the six months ending 30 September 2006. This statement sets out the information that will be covered in those discussions. 3i expects to announce its interim results for the six months ending 30 September 2006 on 9 November 2006.

Philip Yea, 3i's Chief Executive, said:

"The year so far has seen a strong performance and we continue to make very good progress in delivering our strategic objectives. Realisations continue to benefit from a favourable market environment and have been stronger than anticipated at the time of our annual results announcement in May.

Although we continue to be highly selective in making new investment, our international reach continues to generate a steady flow of good opportunities."

The main topics that will be discussed with analysts and investors are set out below.

Investments and realisations 

3i invested a total of £568 million in the five months ended 31 August 2006, compared with £578 million in the equivalent period last year. This includes £116 million (2005: £74 million) invested on behalf of co-investment funds managed by 3i. 

Realisation proceeds received by 3i (excluding funds) were strong at £627 million in the five months ended 31 August 2006, which compares with the exceptional level of realisation proceeds of £910 million in the equivalent period last year. 

Returns 

The overall performance of the Group for the six months to 30 September 2006 is anticipated to be in line with its return objectives. The Buyout and Growth Capital business lines have generated strong gross portfolio returns during the period. As a result of the mark-to-market valuation of its quoted portfolio, Venture Capital is expected to deliver a negative gross portfolio return for the half year. 

Realisations for the six month period are anticipated to have generated an aggregate uplift over 31 March 2006 carrying values ahead of the uplift percentage generated during the same period last year. 

Eurofund V 

On 9 August the Company announced the first close of its latest European mid-market buyout fund at €4.3 billion. Final close, which is expected this autumn, is anticipated to reach €5.0 billion. This is ahead of the original target for Eurofund V of €3.5 billion. The Company's commitment will be some 55% of the total fund as previously indicated. 

Return of capital to shareholders 

Shareholders approved a £700 million bonus issue of listed B shares and an 11 for 13 share capital consolidation at 3i's EGM on 12 July 2006. On 17 July, the B shares were issued and dealings commenced in the B shares and the consolidated ordinary shares. In the Initial Purchase Offer and the Company Offer (both as defined in the 3i's circular to Shareholders dated 15 June 2006), shareholders sold, in aggregate, £689 million of B shares (98.4% of the amount issued).

For information please contact:

3i Group plc
Simon Ball, Finance Director -  020 7975 3356
Patrick Dunne, Group Communications Director -  020 7975 3283

Maitland Consultancy
Philip Gawith -  020 7379 5151

This statement aims to give an indication of 3i's expected return (and of key components of that return) for the six months to 30 September 2006. These indications reflect the Board's current view. They are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties and could change. In particular, an important element in the determination of 3i's results for the six months to 30 September 2006 is the detailed valuation exercise carried out on its investment portfolio as at that date. The final results for the six months to 30 September 2006, due to be reported on 9 November 2006, may differ accordingly. Factors which could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, general economic and market conditions and specific factors affecting the financial prospects or performance of individual investments within 3i's portfolio.