3i European Enterprise Barometer stable as cooling in the North offset by confidence rise in Southern Europe

12 May 2005

The 3i European Enterprise Barometer, which has now remained positive for seven consecutive quarters, gained six points in the second quarter of 2005 to +44 (up from +38). The weighted index that measures private companies' confidence in business, political and economic climates for Europe did however reveal significant differences in confidence across Europe.

The Index has risen sharply in Spain and Italy turning from negative to positive in both countries (respectively up 44 points to +16 in Spain and up 25 points to +16 in Italy). These rises offset a fall in the Nordic region where the Index remains the most positive out of all regions polled (+101), and modest decreases in the UK, France and Germany, where the Index has stayed relatively stable during the last quarter. 

Confidence in Germany remains at one of its highest levels in over four years despite declines in foreign demand and appreciation of the Euro dampening export growth, chronic unemployment and a languishing stock market.

Philip Yea, 3i CEO commented: "Despite the hesitancy of financial markets and some other macro-economic issues such as energy costs, entrepreneurs as ever seem to be focused on taking opportunities to grow their businesses."

Please see the whole report at http://www.3i.com/publications/industry.html

Notes to editors

3i Enterprise Barometer www.3i.com

The 3i UK Enterprise Barometer is compiled every quarter from the responses of a sample of companies in the UK in which 3i has an investment. This survey was carried out in March - April 2005. The sample size was 313. The initial base of +100 was established in January 1988. The Index reached its highest level of +142 in the first quarter of 1994 and its lowest level of -170 in the first quarter of 1991. 

The 3i European Barometer was started in June 1998 and is compiled every quarter from the responses of a sample of companies in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Nordic region in which 3i has an investment. The index uses the same base as the UK Barometer and it is weighted by size of country (as measured by GDP).

The 3i Barometer has been a good lead indicator for GDP growth across Europe since it began in the UK in 1988 and then spread to the rest of Europe in 1998 (see chart 4, page 3). 

About 3i Group plc

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital.  We focus on buyouts, growth capital and venture capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders. www.3i.com