New chief cheers 3i shareholders

Investors in the struggling private equity firm 3i had some rare cheer yesterday as the firm stepped up payments to shareholders and chose the chief investment officer Simon Borrows as its new chief executive.

Its former boss Michael Queen has quit after becoming a lightning rod for the poor performance of 3i, which made a disastrous negative total return of £656m on its £10.2bn portfolio in the year to March 2012. Mr Queen, who stepped down yesterday and is unlikely to receive a bonus, said the frustration had become"personalised", with his departure preventing "unhelpful agitation".

3i yesterday more than doubled the total dividend to 8.1p and said it would distribute up to 20per cent of cash proceeds from business sales to shareholders in future. Its shares shaded 1.3p to 178.3p.

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