Pre-close period briefing

24 Dec 2002

3i Group plc (3i), Europe's leading venture capital company, will today start its pre close period analyst briefings ahead of the announcement of its interim results on 14 November 2002.

The results for the half year will be based on the normal detailed valuation exercise carried out at 30 September 2002.

The main topics which will be discussed during the briefings are:

Investment
Activity in the private equity and venture capital markets has been lower than last year. However, 3i has continued to make investments in a broad range of sectors and geographies, although, at a lower rate than last year. Investment in the five months to 31 August 2002 was £340 million (including co-investment funds). 

Realisations
There have been lower levels of activity in the mergers and acquisition markets and a reduced appetite of the quoted markets for new issues. However, realisations have continued across the portfolio generating cash inflow of £587 million in the five months to 31 August 2002. The realisations include £144 million from the sale of Go-Fly Limited. 

Unquoted Portfolio
The recent Enterprise Barometer survey of the 3i portfolio suggests that business confidence in the portfolio is weaker than last quarter. However, the majority of the 3i unquoted portfolio continues to perform satisfactorily despite tougher economic conditions, particularly for manufacturing and technology sectors. We expect that the level of provisions for investments that may fail in the six months to 30 September 2002 will be lower than the same period last year. 

Capital 
3i announced in May this year at the time of the preliminary results that it proposed to issue £300 million of perpetual preferred securities. Consideration of such an issue has been deferred until market conditions are more favourable. 
3i also announced in May this year that it is raising a €3 billion fund for mid-market management buy-outs. This fund raising is progressing well and a first closing is anticipated during the current financial year. 

Strategy 
3i's key strategies are:

  • To build strong businesses in each of the major venture capital markets.
  • To achieve a balanced business by product, by industry sector and by geographic region.
  • To invest in companies that have the potential to grow their revenues and profits.
  • To use our international network to provide real competitive advantage for 3i and our investee companies.

For information please contact:

Michael Queen - Finance Director - 3i Group plc -  020 7975 3400
Liz Hewitt - Director of Corporate Affairs -  020 7975 3283
Philip Gawith - The Maitland Consultancy -  020 7379 5151