3i Says Investments, Asset Sales Fell as Bramson Circles

3i Group Plc, Britain’s oldest private-equity firm, posted a decline in the pace of asset sales and investments as activist investor Edward Bramson starts buying the stock.

The company reaped about 50 million pounds ($79 million) from asset sales, so-called realizations, in the final three months of 2012, the firm said in a statement today. That’s less than a quarter of the 219 million pounds raised in the year-earlier period. Investments shrank by more than half to 40 million pounds in the quarter.

3i replaced its chief executive officer last year and began cutting costs after shareholders urged the company to stop making deals and return money to investors. The London-based company, which is seeking to reduce annual costs by 45 million pounds by April 2014, said today it expects to beat its target for this fiscal year.

“We have been busy preparing for realizations within private equity,” the company said in the statement. “We expect to see the benefits of this coming through over the next 18 months, with a number of key realizations as well as an increasing level of investment activity.”

The stock fell 3.4 percent to 263.2 pence in London trading, for a market value of about 2.6 billion pounds. The shares have climbed 21 percent this year.

Bramson’s Sherborne Investors began trading 3i shares in this month, 3i said in a Jan. 29 statement. Chief Financial Officer Julia Wilson told reporters on a conference call today there have been no communications between the two sides and declined to comment further.

Net asset value a share climbed 4.8 percent in the period to 286 pence a share, 3i said.

(Updates shares in fifth paragraph.)
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