3i sells minority stake in Fairways Group

29 Mar 2006

3i, Europe's leading private equity company, is selling its minority stake in Fairways Group (UK) Ltd, a leading funeral services company, for £11.2 million to the Co-operative Group. This transaction will produce an internal rate of return (IRR) for 3i of 57%.

Surbiton-based Fairways, currently the fourth-largest player in the funerals industry, was the subject of a management buy-out and buy-in, assisted by £4.6 million in funding from 3i, in October 2003.  The Co-operative Group, with headquarters in Manchester, is currently the market leader.

David Hendry will continue as Fairways' Managing Director and will take on a similar role at Co-operative Funeralcare, a division of the Co-operative Group.
Graham Miller, Director in 3i's Growth Capital team commented: "This has been a highly successful investment for 3i. David Hendry and his team have transformed Fairways in a short space of time into one of the most respected and best managed businesses in the sector."

"We originally backed David in a Scottish funeral business in the early 1990s and we are particularly pleased to have been able to partner with him a second time. On both occasions, he has delivered outstanding value for us. We are sure Fairways will continue to prosper in partnership with the Co-operative Group and wish David every success in his newly expanded role."

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 in Asia Pacific.  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.

3i's Growth Capital business focuses on investing minority stakes in high growth companies expanding organically or through acquisition.  The business currently manages 300 investments across Europe and Asia with a value in excess of €1.8bn and invests across a broad range of industry sectors, including healthcare, business services, consumer, media, technology and oil, gas and power. 

Recent investments include Nimbus, India, €36m; Boxer, Sweden, €84m; Clinica Baviera, Spain, €40m; Williams Lea, UK, €68m; Renta Corporation, Spain, €20m; Novem CID, Germany, €25m; Vetoquinol, France, €20m and PEARL, Singapore, €8m.  Recent exits include Cannon Avent, UK, €450m; Pets at Home, UK, €330m; Wood Group, UK, €37m; Ascent Technology, UK, €34m; Raynal, France, €0.5m and Highland Energy, Germany, €178m.