3i's latest buyout fund exceeds target at first closing

09 Aug 2006

This press release is not an offer of securities for sale in United States.  Securities may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an exemption from registration.  Any public offering to be made in the United States will be made by means of a prospectus that may be obtained from the issuer or selling security holder and will contain detailed information about the Fund and management, as well as financial statements.   No public offering in the United States is currently contemplated.

3i, Europe's leading private equity and venture capital company, today announces that its pan-European Buyout business ('3i Buyouts') has successfully completed the First Closing of its latest buyout fund, 'Eurofund V'. The amount committed to date is €4.3bn, well beyond the initial intended target of €3.5bn. The fund's final close is due in the autumn and is capped at €5bn.

3i Buyouts is the leader in the European mid-market with c€8bn in funds under management. The business invests in mid-market transactions up to €1bn in all sectors. 3i Buyout's competitive edge comes from its pan-European network and global sector insight, delivering unique market access for deal flow and value creation.

Jonathan Russell, Managing Partner and Head of 3i Buyouts commented: "This is an exciting time for our business and this fund reinforces our position as the leader in this space. As many players leave the mid-market in search of large-end transactions, 3i Buyouts' opportunity increases. "

Eurofund V will be invested in around 50 investments across Europe over approximately four years and at €5bn, will be the largest fund focussed on the mid- market space. The fund already has a high quality and well-diversified base of over 50 investors from all over the world, including strong support from investors in prior 3i managed funds. 
 
The First Closing of the latest fund follows another successful year for 3i Buyouts. Significant realisations across Europe include the sale of: German generic prescription drugs distributor, betapharm; own-label Dutch fruit juice business, Refresco; Swedish clothing, home and accessories retailer Gant; UK environmental due diligence firm ERM; International foreign exchange specialist Travelex; and Netherlands-based directories business Yellow Brick Road. 

From a 3i Group perspective, Chief Executive Phil Yea commented:  "We are growing our assets, both those on our balance sheet and those we manage for third parties. This main close of Eurofund V and 3i Group's recent strong growth in Asia are excellent examples of this.

He added: "The ability of our Buyouts business to leverage the Group knowledge and relationships has been a key ingredient of their success."

Notes to editors

About 3i
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 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

About 3i Buyouts 
3i Buyouts is a leader in the European mid-market. We lead mid-market buyouts of up to around €1bn enterprise value using insight from our local knowledge, international connections, and our sector teams. 3i Buyouts invests in all sectors, with a particular focus on media, healthcare and business support services. Some recent transactions include:- in Benelux: ABX (freight forwarding), Aviapartner (ground handling), Daalderop (heating equipment), Refresco (fruit juice manufacturer) and UTT (tank container operators). In the UK: Chorion (brand management), Hobbs (women's fashion retailer); Interflora (floral services), Westminster Healthcare and Care Principles (care services).  In Germany: Betapharm (pharmaceuticals) and Norma (connectors and clamps). In France: Keolis (inter-urban transport) and Laboratoires Vendôme (cosmetic/toiletry products). In Spain: Gamesa Energía y Servicios  (wind farm construction and maintenance). In Italy: Giochi Preziosi (toy manufacture and distribution). In the Nordic region: Gant (branded retail) and Carema (care services).  Internationally:  Travelex (foreign exchange services), YBR Group (telephone directories) and Marken (specialist transportation services).