Market Report: Sherborne sold nearly all its 5 per cent stake in 3i, making a 38 per cent gross return

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The Independent Online

Simon Burrows, the chief executive of private equity group 3i, was no doubt glad to see the back of activist investor Edward Bramson and his Sherborne Investors yesterday – even if he turned out to be less aggressive than feared.

Sherborne sold nearly all its 5 per cent stake in 3i, making a 38 per cent gross return ahead of the private equity group's half-year update today. Shares in 3i have risen 90 per cent since Mr Burrows joined in May last year, but his relief may be short-lived. Liberum Capital's Rob Jones said: "Sherborne's action to sell may encourage others to take profits." 3i fell 12.2p to 370.8p.

The wider market was nursing losses as fears of interest rate rises and eurozone concerns weighed. The FTSE 100 tumbled 96.79 points to 6,630.

Supermarket Tesco dipped 2.1p to 364.7p as Sainsbury's reported a bumper half-year update and added 11.9p to 410.7p. Analysts at HSBC downgraded to neutral, and said risks are rising in the supermarket sector.

A good production update from Tullow Oil failed to encourage buyers, and it lost 19.5p to 880.5p as it warned its Southern North Sea asset sale is being restructured.

Pension specialist Partnership Assurance warned it does not expect to see sales growth in the final quarter and fell 87.1p to 325p.

Power station owner Drax said it expects its full-year results to be "materially ahead" of City forecasts, and it gained 16.5p to 653p.

A 23 per cent fall in pre-tax profit for chemical manufacturer Fenner was offset by an improvement in demand from its Australia and US mining customers, and it added 42.7p to 450p. The newspaper group Johnston Press said profit was up by 7.8 per cent for the quarter but sales and advertising fell. Margins had improved as it cut costs but it lost 0.625p to 14p.

On Aim, oil and gas explorer Bowleven will raise £13.3m through a placing at 45p a share to fund its Cameroon Etinde venture with Petrofac. It also reported a small loss and slipped 10.5p to 42.25p. The miner Centurion Resources was down 0.175p to 0.525p as it raised £3.4m through a placing and bought Finnish FinnAust Mining for £7.7m.