In 2007, in response to the growing debate about the role of private equity in the UK, the British Venture Capital Association (“BVCA”) suggested a review to examine ways in which levels of disclosure in companies backed by the UK private equity industry could be improved.
The review was led by Sir David Walker, who consulted widely and invited representations from within the private equity industry, other financial institutions, pension funds and the investment community, as well as more broadly with portfolio companies, trade unions and employer representatives. 3i actively supported the review, with involvement from the Chairman.
3i also endorsed the voluntary code which resulted in the “Guidelines for Disclosure and Transparency in Private Equity”, which was published in November 2007. These set out a number of recommendations for enhancing disclosure by private equity firms which are authorised by the FCA and invest in the UK and their large UK portfolio companies (within certain clearly defined criteria).
Sir David Walker’s recommendations with respect to reporting for private equity firms and their relevant portfolio companies were on a “comply or explain” basis. An overview of the guidelines together with the tenth annual report of the Private Equity Reporting Group (which monitors and reports on the UK private equity industry’s conformity with the guidelines) at December 2017 can be found at www.privateequityreportinggroup.co.uk/
The only 3i portfolio companies which met the criteria set out in the guidelines and were included in the tenth annual report were Anglian Water Group (held principally within the 3i Infrastructure plc portfolio) and Infinis, also held within the 3i Infrastructure plc portfolio. 3i and 3i Infrastructure plc announced in December 2017 that they had sold their holding in Anglian Water Group to a consortium of Dalmore Capital and GLIL Infrastructure LLP. The sale completed in February 2018.