3i weathers credit-crunch storm

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The Independent Online

3i, the publicly listed private equity group, showed no ill-effects from the credit crunch by unveiling a set of forecasting-beating interim results.

The company said that the returns on investments made for the six months through September increased by 37 per cent, while its assets under management ballooned to £8.1bn, a new high. Philip Yea, the chief executive, sounded a note of caution about future returns however due to the meltdown in global debt markets. "The world is challenging going forward," he said, adding that knock-on effects from financial market issues on to the real economy are likely.

Yet the cautious outlook has not, for now at least, slowed the company down. The company's realised profits through September grew to £337m from £216m during the same period the year before, while investment activity nearly doubled, from £589m to £1.2bn.

Mr Yea said 3i is better placed than most private equity groups to weather any gathering storm because of its diversified model. Most companies operate in one segment of the market – the mega buyout firms, for example, have been severely hindered by the debt market problems. 3i operates in 14 countries and invests across the spectrum.

"3i is better placed to face whatever the recent credit crunch and market volatility may throw at it," said Bill Barnard of Dresdner Kleinwort.