Pre-close period briefing

29 Mar 2007

Highlights

  • New investment up 35% over same period last year
  • Intended further return of £800 million to shareholders, reflecting the continued strong level of realisations

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

"3i has been able to grow investment levels significantly over the eleven months as well as make excellent realisations in buoyant markets. Our announcement concerning a further return of capital reflects the continued delivery of strong realised returns whilst still allowing for planned growth in the future."

3i Group plc ("3i"), a world leader in private equity and venture capital, will be briefing analysts and investors ahead of its close period for the year to 31 March 2007.

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

Investment and realisations

3i invested a total of £1,598 million in the eleven months ended 28 February 2007, compared with £1,184 million in the equivalent period last year. This includes £250 million (2006: £186 million) invested on behalf of co-investment funds managed by 3i.

Realisation proceeds received by 3i (excluding co-investment funds) totalled £1,948 million in the eleven months ended 28 February, which compares with realisation proceeds of £1,815 million in the equivalent period last year. 

The realisation proceeds to the end of February do not include £267 million subsequently received from the recent National Car Parks transaction.

Returns

Realisations for the eleven month period have generated aggregate uplifts over 31 March 2006 carrying values ahead of the uplift percentage generated during last year, reflecting the continued good markets for the sale of assets. 

Consequently, realised profits (net of write-offs) on the disposal of investments for the eleven month period to 28 February are ahead of prior year levels.

An important element in the determination of 3is results for the year to 31 March 2007 will be the detailed valuation exercise carried out on its investment portfolio as at that date.

Return of capital

The Board is currently intending to make a further return of cash to shareholders of £800 million. The current intention of the Board is to repeat the method adopted last year of a bonus issue of preference shares and subsequent purchase offers. The Board expects to follow a similar timetable with proposals considered by shareholders at an EGM at the time of our AGM, currently scheduled for 11 July 2007. The Board will make a further announcement in this regard at the time of the preliminary announcement of the Company's annual results on 10 May 2007.

Since the announcement of its interim results on 9 November 2006, 3i Group plc has purchased for cancellation 7,430,000 of its ordinary shares for £73,540,060 (excluding stamp duty and brokers' commissions), representing an average price of 989.77 pence per share.

3i Infrastructure Limited

On 8 March 2007 3i Infrastructure Limited announced that it had raised £700 million through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange. As part of this process, 3i Group plc subscribed for 325 million £1 ordinary shares in the company. 3i Infrastructure Limited has an independent board of non-executive directors, chaired by Peter Sedgwick. 3i Investments plc, a subsidiary of 3i Group plc, acts as investment adviser to the company through its infrastructure investment team.

3i expects to announce its results for the year ending 31 March 2007 on 10 May 2007.

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 gives some indication of 3i's expected return (and of key components of that return) for the twelve months to 31 March 2007. These indications reflect the Board�s current view. They are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties and could change. The final results for the twelve months to 31 March 2007, due to be reported on 10 May 2007, 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.