Pantheon seeks pounds 33m for growth

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The Independent Online
PANTHEON International Participations, an investment trust that buys into venture capital funds, is raising pounds 33.2m to finance its continuing growth, writes Paul Durman.

PIP has already agreed to buy stakes in 19 unquoted venture capital funds, giving it an interest in a further pounds 11.3m of net assets. It also plans to pay the National Rivers Authority pounds 5.7m to redeem pounds 7.5m of loan stock, a remnant from one of its most successful deals.

The company is raising the money through an open offer and placing of shares priced at 200p. The first 80p a share will be due on application, and the rest in two 60p instalments in July 1994 and January 1995. The new money will give PIP total funds of about pounds 70m.

Equitable Life, Merchant Investors and other PIP shareholders have agreed to take up nearly three- quarters of the shares available. De Zoete & Bevan, the stockbroker, is placing the rest.

PIP aims to acquire assets cheaply by buying stakes in venture capital funds from institutions that want to withdraw before the funds' winding-up dates. More rarely, it will also invest directly in unquoted companies.

The latest package of venture interests PIP intends to acquire is internationally spread, with 38 per cent of assets in the UK, 27 in the US, 28 in the Far East and 7 in Continental Europe.

PIP says its net asset value and shares have outperformed the FTA All-Share index since flotation in 1987. The company has benefited from the recent flotations of Celltech, the biotechnology firm, and Scotia Holdings, an emerging pharmaceuticals group.

The company is also issuing one warrant, exercisable at 250p, for every five shares already held.