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Value of 3i's portfolio rises as earnings recover

The private equity firm 3i Group said the value of its portfolio rose 15 per cent last year, as corporate earnings recovered and its stakes were revalued, although high asset prices could stymie new deals.

Net asset value rose to 321p at the end of March from 279p a year earlier, the British private equity firm said yesterday. The group reported a total return of 16 per cent, turning around a negative return of minus 56 per cent last year.

Private equity dealmaking has bounced back in recent months as company earnings have picked up and the availability of credit has improved.

3i invested in two new portfolio companies over the course of the year, including an investment in soft drinks group Refresco, its first deal from its new €1.2bn growth capital fund.

But the group took a cautious approach to new deals, it said, as asset prices were high due to fierce competition from private equity firms with large amounts of capital to deploy.