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3i Group PLC (III)

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Thursday 30 January, 2020

3i Group PLC

FY2020 Q3 Performance update

RNS Number : 3540B
3i Group PLC
30 January 2020
 

30 January 2020

 


3i Group plc

FY2020 Q3 performance update

 

 

 

Solid underlying performance

·    Increase in NAV per share to 877 pence (30 September 2019: 873 pence) despite the negative translation effect of sterling strengthening in the quarter (£314 million), and total return of 10.1% for the nine months to 31 December 2019.

 

·    Very strong growth in the quarter from Action drove a solid result from the Private Equity portfolio.

 

·    Private Equity generated cash proceeds of £189 million in the quarter, mainly from the partial divestment of Basic-Fit and the distributions from Audley Travel and Hans Anders.

 

·    Signed the disposal of Aspen Pumps at an overall money multiple of 4.1x and a 34% IRR.

 

·    Completed two new Private Equity investments in Evernex and a bioprocessing platform and four further bolt-on acquisitions for ICE, Formel D, WP and Q Holding.

 

·    Another strong quarter from our Infrastructure team with the highly accretive sale of Wireless Infrastructure Group ("WIG") out of 3i Infrastructure plc ("3iN") and further rail investment in North America.

 

·    Transaction to provide liquidity to Eurofund V ("EFV") investors from the sale of their holding in Action, which successfully closed on 17 January 2020.

 

Simon Borrows, Chief Executive, commented:

 

"This was a very busy quarter for the 3i team. We executed two outstanding realisations in the sale of Aspen Pumps from our Private Equity portfolio and WIG from 3iN. New investment and bolt-on activity has continued across both portfolios, as has refinancing activity. And, importantly, we successfully provided liquidity to the EFV investors in Action while the company has continued to drive sector-leading sales and profit growth as it expands across Europe."

 

 

Private Equity

 

Portfolio performance

 

The Private Equity portfolio generated good returns for the quarter. Action finished the year very strongly. In the twelve months to the end of December 2019, Action generated revenue growth of 21%, like-for-like ("LFL") sales growth of 5.6% and opened 230 new stores, taking its total to 1,552 stores across seven countries.

 

At 31 December 2019, our valuation methodology for Action remained unchanged, using run-rate earnings to 31 December 2019, a post discount run-rate multiple of 18.0x (30 September 2019: 18.0x) and the capital structure at 31 December 2019.

 

The challenging conditions in the automotive sector continued to weigh on a few of our portfolio companies and in December Schlemmer filed for administration in Germany. Schlemmer had continued to suffer from operational challenges in its North American plants as well as a significant decline in volumes in its European plants in the second half of 2019. As a result, we have written down our investment to zero. This write down has resulted in an unrealised value loss of £67 million in the quarter and a cumulative loss of £170 million since investment in 2016.

In the quarter we recognised a significant uplift on our investment in Aspen Pumps following the announcement of the signed exit. We also signed an agreement to sell our investment in ACR at a value close to our September 2019 valuation. The significant majority of the proceeds, subject to regulatory clearance, are expected in the second half of 2020 with further proceeds, subject to various escrows, expected in 2021.The remaining portfolio showed resilient performance in a tightening macro environment with notable value growth increases from Basic-Fit, Tato, Royal Sanders and Cirtec. We have, however, seen value reductions in some companies including Q Holding (sale of Silicone Altimex to 3i's new bioprocessing platform and softer trading, particularly automotive) and WP (softer trading).

 

Action transaction

 

On 17 January 2020, we closed the transaction to provide liquidity to investors in Eurofund V from a sale of the Fund's entire investment in Action, funded by a combination of rolling LPs, new LPs and 3i. At the same time, Action completed its new €625 million Term Loan refinancing. Action used the proceeds of the Term Loan and some excess cash to pay a pre-closing dividend to its shareholders. 3i has reinvested its share of this dividend plus its proportion of the Eurofund V carried interest arising from the sale back into Action. The impact of this transaction will be reflected in the Group's valuation of Action at 31 March 2020 with the consequent changes to the Group's carried interest position being reported on the balance sheet. We expect 3i's interest in Action, net of its ongoing carried interest liability, to have increased to c.49% as at 31 March 2020.

 

We are delighted that GIC, AlpInvest Partners, Coller Capital, HarbourVest Partners, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Pantheon, as well as investment funds managed by each of Aberdeen Standard Investments, Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Neuberger Berman, amongst others, have decided to either roll their existing investment or make a significant new investment in the next chapter of Action's remarkable growth story.

 

Private Equity investments

 

Private Equity




Investment

Investment

Type

Business description

Date

£m

Evernex

New

International provider of third-party maintenance services for data centre infrastructure

October 2019

214

Bioprocessing platform

New

Single use bioprocessing platform serving the biopharmaceutical sector

November 2019

60

ICE

Further

ICE's acquisition of We Make People Happy Vacations ("WMPH"), a cruise travel agency

December 2019

7

Hans Anders

Return of overfunding

Value for money optical retailer

December 2019

(35)

Other

n/a



4

Total Q3 FY2020 investment




250

H1 FY2020 investment




221

Total investment as at 31 December 2019




471

 

In the quarter, we completed the £214 million investment in Evernex and £60 million investment in a bioprocessing platform, formed by the initial acquisition of Cellon and carve out acquisitions of TBL Performance Plastics (acquired by Q Holding in October 2019) and Silicone Altimex from our existing portfolio company Q Holding.

 

We have continued to grow portfolio value through our buy-and-build strategy with WP's bolt-on acquisition of Orange Poland, a manufacturer of deodorant packaging systems and Formel D's bolt-on acquisition of CPS Quality, a specialist in quality control activities with a focus on the automotive industry, with no additional investment from 3i. We also supported ICE's acquisition of WMPH, a cruise travel agency, for which we provided £7 million of further funding.

 

In December 2019, following its acquisition of eyes + more which closed in January 2019, Hans Anders completed a refinancing, returning proceeds of £35 million to 3i. The proceeds from the refinancing have been treated as a reduction in the further investment made for eyes + more.

 

Private Equity realisations

Private Equity

Realisation proceeds


£m

Basic-Fit

76

Audley Travel

47

BoConcept

12

Other

1

Total Q3 FY2020 realised proceeds

136

H1 FY2020 realised proceeds

1

Total realised proceeds as at 31 December 2019

137

 

In December 2019, we generated £76 million of proceeds from the partial divestment of 2.9 million shares in Basic-Fit, at a price of €31.25 per share. We retain a 12.7% stake (30 September 2019: 18.0%) in the business, valued at £198 million at 31 December 2019 (30 September 2019: 18.0% holding valued at: £249 million).

 

We generated £65 million of cash from the Audley Travel refinancing, £18 million of which was recognised as cash income and the remainder as realisation proceeds. We also received £12 million of proceeds from BoConcept following the repayment of a shareholder loan.

 

In December 2019, we announced the sale of Aspen Pumps, for proceeds of c.£208 million, and including the £52 million of proceeds already received, generated an overall money multiple of 4.1x and an IRR of 34%. At 31 December 2019, Aspen Pumps was held on an imminent sale basis and valued at £203 million, reflecting the 2.5% discount to exit value in line with our valuation policy, compared to its 30 September 2019 valuation of £134 million. 

 

 

Infrastructure

 

The Infrastructure business had another busy quarter. In December 2019, 3iN announced the sale of its UK projects portfolio for proceeds of c.£194 million and the sale of its 93% stake in WIG for proceeds of c.£387 million. Following 3iN's successful placing of 81 million shares in October 2019 at a price of 275 pence per share, its share price closed at 294 pence at 31 December 2019 (30 September 2019: 295 pence) valuing 3i's 30% stake (30 September 2019: 33%) at £791 million (30 September 2019: £794 million). In addition, we also recognised dividend income of £12 million from 3iN in the quarter.

 

In October 2019, we announced a US Infrastructure investment in the significant bolt-on acquisition of Pinsly Railroad Company's Florida operations for Regional Rail. This investment of £76 million completed at the end of December 2019.

 

The 3i European Operational Projects Fund completed the €70 million acquisition of an 80% stake in Sociedad Concesionaría Autovía Gerediaga Elorrio, S.A. ("AGESA"), a Spanish motorway PPP. The Fund continued its investment momentum into January 2020 with the announced agreement to acquire a portfolio of eight operational projects in France from DIF Infrastructure III. On completion of this transaction, the Fund will have deployed c.60% of its total commitments.

 

Top 10 investments by value at 31 December 2019

 




Valuation

Valuation



Valuation

Valuation

Sep-19

Dec-19



basis

currency

£m

£m

Activity in the quarter

Action

Earnings

EUR

3,243

3,461


3iN

Quoted

GBP

794

791

Accrued a £12 million FY2020 interim dividend

Scandlines

DCF

EUR

485

464

Received a £10 million dividend

Cirtec Medical

Earnings

USD

262

256


Hans Anders

Earnings

EUR

303

249

Received £35 million of refinancing proceeds reducing the initial investment in eyes + more

Q Holding

Earnings

USD

277

245

Sale of Silicone Altimex and TBL Performance Plastics (acquired by Q Holding in October 2019) to 3i's newly established Bioprocessing platform

WP

Earnings

EUR

253

237


Audley Travel

Earnings

GBP

270

217

Received £65 million of refinancing proceeds

Evernex

Earnings

EUR

-

206

New investment completed

Aspen Pumps

Imminent sale

GBP

134

203

Announced signed exit

 

The 10 investments in this table comprise 72% (30 September 2019: 70%) of the total Proprietary Capital portfolio value of £8,814 million (30 September 2019: £8,551 million).

 

 

Total return and NAV position

 

We recognised a net £314 million loss on foreign exchange in the quarter, or 32 pence per share, as both the US dollar and euro weakened against sterling. Based on the balance sheet at 31 December 2019, a 1% movement in the euro and US dollar would result in a total return movement of £51 million and £13 million respectively, net of any hedging. The diluted NAV per share increased to 877 pence (30 September 2019: 873 pence) or 859.5 pence after deducting the 17.5 pence per share first FY2020 dividend, which was paid on 8 January 2020.

 

 

Balance sheet

 

At 31 December 2019 net debt was £145 million and gearing of 1.8%. The 17.5 pence first FY2020 dividend of £169 million was paid on 8 January 2020.

 

 

- ENDS -

 

 

 

Notes

 

1.

Balance sheet values are stated net of foreign exchange translation. Where applicable, the GBP equivalents at 31 December 2019 in this update have been calculated at a currency exchange rate of 1.1798:£1 and $1.3247:£1 respectively. At 31 December 2019, 65% of the Group's net assets were in euro and 16% were in US dollar. 

2.

At 31 December 2019 3i had 971 million diluted shares.

3.

Action was valued using a post discount run-rate EBITDA multiple of 18.0x based on its run-rate earnings to 31 December 2019.

 

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Silvia Santoro
Group Investor Relations Director
Tel: 020 7975 3258

 

Kathryn van der Kroft
Communications Director
Tel: 020 7975 3021

 

 

About 3i Group

3i is a leading international investment manager focused on mid-market Private Equity and Infrastructure. Our core investment markets are northern Europe and North America. For further information, please visit: www.3i.com.

 

All statements in this performance update relate to the three month period ended 31 December 2019 unless otherwise stated. The financial information is unaudited and is presented on 3i's non-GAAP Investment basis in order to provide users with the most appropriate description of the drivers of 3i's performance. Net asset value ("NAV") and total return are the same on the Investment basis and on an IFRS basis. Details of the differences between 3i's consolidated financial statements prepared on an IFRS basis and under the Investment basis are provided in the 2019 Annual report and accounts. There have been no material changes to the financial position of 3i from the end of this quarter to the date of this announcement.


This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact [email protected] or visit www.rns.com.
 
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