3i Says `Uncertain' Growth in Europe, China a Cause for Caution

  • Chief Executive Simon Borrows says the market has deteriorated
  • London-based company has stakes in Agent Provocateur, Hobbs

3i Group Plc, the U.K.’s largest publicly traded private-equity firm, said volatile markets and nervous investors have made it take a “cautious” approach to its investments this year.

3i received 307 million pounds ($467 million) in proceeds from private-equity sales and an initial public offering in the first half of the year, compared with 316 million pounds a year ago as the company trims its assets, the London-based company said in a statement Thursday.

“The macro and market environment has clearly deteriorated over the course of this year and the steps we have taken since 2012 to create a more resilient business are proving their value,” Chief Executive Officer Simon Borrows said in the statement.

Still, 3i’s strategy to reduce its presence in Asia and South America, focusing instead on northern Europe and North America, have limited its exposure to the more troubled economies, the company said.

In June the company confirmed the free share awards of about 7.5 million pounds to eight senior staff, including 3i Infrastructure co-heads Ben Loomes and Phil White, following the conclusion of its restructuring plan aimed at reducing its debt pile.

Assets under management were 13.5 billion pounds. The company’s investments include Agent Provocateur Ltd. and Hobbs Ltd.

The shares have risen 9.4 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 4.79 billion pounds.

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