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3i Quoted Private Eq (QPE)

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Friday 13 February, 2009

3i Quoted Private Eq

Interim Management Statement

RNS Number : 2811N
3i Quoted Private Equity PLC
13 February 2009
 







13 February 2009




3i Quoted Private Equity plc 

Interim Management Statement


3i Quoted Private Equity plc ('3i QPEP' or 'the Company') is an investment company, listed on the London Stock Exchange, which aims to apply private equity value creation techniques to quoted businesses. This Interim Management Statement is issued in accordance with FSA Disclosure and Transparency Rule 4.3. This statement relates to the period from October 2008 to today's date



Highlights


  • Ongoing cautious investment stance in volatile markets - US$24 million further investment in Phibro agreed on 13 February 2009, to provide capital for the acquisition of the Baltzell Agri Products trace minerals business

  • Operational performance of portfolio companies remains satisfactory

  • Current cash balance of £243.2 million, or 60.8 pence per share

  • Net asset value at 31 January 2009 of 89.7 pence per share, compared to a net asset value as at 30 September 2008 of 93.0 pence per share


David Tyler, Chairman of 3i QPEP, said: 'Given market conditions, we continue to adopt a cautious approach to investment. Our Investment Adviser is seeing a growing number of potentially attractive investment opportunities and, within that context, the Company's strong balance sheet and liquidity position are increasingly valuable. 


The Company's further investment in Phibro demonstrates that it is able to support the growth of its portfolio companies, providing capital in an environment where capital is increasingly scarce.'



1.    Investment activity


Today 3i QPEP announces that it has agreed to invest further US$24 million in Phibro Animal Health Corporation ('Phibro') to finance its acquisition of the Baltzell Agri Products ('BAP') trace minerals business


This further investment in Phibro is in the form of a term loan, which is payable in full at maturity on 1 August 2013, and which bears interest, payable quarterly, at the rate of 11% per annum. In connection with this loan, 3i QPEP has been issued a warrant to purchase approximately 2.1 million ordinary shares in Phibro (equivalent to 3.0% of Phibro's issued share capital) at a price of US$5.23 per share. The warrant is exercisable at any time at 3i QPEP's option, until it expires on 1 August 2013. 


BAP, which was profitable in its last fiscal year, is a manufacturer and marketer of an extensive line of trace minerals, trace mineral premixes, selenium premixes and other nutritional ingredients to the animal feed and pet food industries in the United StatesBAP produces trade mineral premixes at its blending facility in OmahaNebraska, with a workforce of 50 employees. 


During the period, 3i QPEP also funded a drawdown of £1.3 million from Strategic Recovery Fund II LP. 



2.    Portfolio performance


The operational and financial performance of the companies in 3i QPEP's portfolio is summarised below, with reference to the most recently published financial information. 


  • Phibro Animal Health Corporation ('Phibro'), interim results for the six months ended 31 December 2008, issued on 13 February 2009 - Phibro reported sales and adjusted EBITDA up 14% and 5% compared to the same period in the previous year, driven by strong performance in the animal health and nutrition business. Phibro continues to pursue growth organically and through acquisitions, and completed the acquisition of the Abic animal health business in late January 2009

  • Salamander Energy plc ('Salamander'), Interim Management Statement issued on 14 November 2008 - Salamander substantially broadened and deepened its asset portfolio during the period to the date of the statement, increasing its interest in two existing licences and entering into three new licences. Average daily production stood at 13,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) at the time of the statement. This was forecast to increase to 16,000 boepd in 2009. Salamander has a strong balance sheet, which will be strengthened further by cash flows associated with the increased production levels. 

  • Jelf Group plc ('Jelf'), Preliminary Results issued on 3 February 2009 - Jelf reported revenues and EBITDA up 59% and 40% respectively, driven principally by strategic acquisitions. EBITDA margins reduced to 16% for 2008 (compared with 18% for the previous year), partly due to difficult trading conditions for Jelf's wealth management business and the semi-fixed nature of certain group costs. Jelf continued to generate strong operating cash, allowing it to meet deferred consideration payments. Organic growth remains strong at 5% in challenging markets (excluding the wealth management business). The integration of the acquisitions completed in 2008 is proceeding according to plan. 

  • The Character Group plc ('Character'), Trading Update issued on 21 January 2009 - Character continues to suffer from negative consumer sentiment and experienced a difficult Christmas trading period, with sales down 35% versus the comparable period in 2007. Character expects to show a loss for the first half of the financial year to August 2009 due to poor trading conditions, adverse foreign currency movements and small one-off losses related to Woolworth's administrationHowever, the company remains well positioned to trade through the downturn, with a strong net cash position, no borrowings, substantial unused working capital facilities and a strong product portfolio. 



3.    Balance sheet 


The cash and deposits balance currently stands at £243.2 million (before adjusting for the amount committed to Phibro), which is equivalent to 60.8 pence per share. 


The liquid funds of the Company are invested in short-term cash deposits and on-demand liquidity funds. These funds invest in a range of instruments, including certificates of deposit, commercial paper, floating-rate notes and Treasury Bills. The counterparties all have AAA credit ratings



4.    Returns and net asset value


As summarised abovethe operational performance of the companies in 3i QPEP's portfolio is satisfactory. 


The net asset value as of 31 January 2009 was 89.7 pence per share, compared to a net asset value as at 30 September 2008 of 93.0 pence per share.


3i QPEP will issue its full year results for the period from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009 in May 2009



Ends


For more information please contact:

David Tyler

Chairman, 3i Quoted Private Equity plc

+44 1534 609 921

Bruce Carnegie-Brown

Managing Partner, QPE
3i Investments plc

+44 20 7975 3435

Stuart Howard

Operations Director, QPE, 
3i Investments plc

+44 20 7975 3310

Silvia Santoro

Investor enquiries

+44 20 7975 3258

Jennifer Letki

Press enquiries

+44 20 7975 3190




Notes to editors


3i Quoted Private Equity plc ('3i QPEP') is a Jersey incorporated, public closed-end investment company. 3i QPEP was admitted to the Official List and to trading on the London Stock Exchange on 29 June 2007. 3i Investments plc ('3i Investments'), which is regulated in the UK by the Financial Services Authority, has been appointed by 3i QPEP to act as its investment adviser.  


3i QPEP aims to deliver private equity value creation techniques to public companies, leveraging the international network of its investment adviser to source attractive opportunities and execute its value creation plan. 3i QPEP will build a portfolio of influential stakes in selected companies in the UK and continental Europe and across a broad spectrum of sectors to attain the level of influence necessary to generate significant improvements in operating performance. 



This statement aims to give an indication of material events and transactions that have taken place during the period from October 2008 to the date of publication of this statement and their impact on the financial position of 3i Quoted Private Equity plc. These indications reflect the Board's current view. They are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties and could change. 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 the portfolio of 3i Quoted Private Equity plc


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
 
END
 
 
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