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3i Group net asset value rises amid "impressive" Action trading

1st Feb 2024 10:18

(Alliance News) - 3i Group PLC on Thursday reported a rise in net asset value per share during its third-quarter, and hailed bullish trade from its largest investee.

The London-based investment manager said that its net asset value per share increased 7.8% to 2,034 pence at its December 31 third-quarter end, from 1,886p at September 30. It registered a total return of 18% for the first three quarters, after a negative GBP151 million foreign exchange impact, or 16p per share

Action, a Dutch non-food discount retailer in which 3i Group owns roughly a 55% stake, produced "another excellent result".

In the 12 months to December 31, Action's net sales grew 28% to EUR11.32 billion, from EUR8.86 billion a year prior.

Action's operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose to EUR1.62 billion, 34% ahead of EUR1.21 billion for 2022.

Action returned 3i a dividend of GBP189 million in December, and the investee ended the year with a cash balance of EUR1.09 billion. 3i's stake in Action was valued at GBP13.78 billion as of the end of December.

3i Chief Executive Officer Simon Borrows said: "Action has again produced an all-round, impressive set of results and has started 2024 with good momentum across all of its markets. Action's mission is to help customers by offering great value products at low prices and selling an increasing range of essentials through its flexible format. Some 2,500 prices were reduced in the second half of 2023, which is driving strong like-for-like performance and further increasing the price gap between Action and other retailers."

During its third-quarter, 3i completed GBP495 million of total investment, GBP455 million of which being reinvestment into Action. It noted GBP26 million went into the purchase of a minority stake in Royal Sanders, a Netherlands-based manufacturer of personal care products. In December, Royal Saunders successfully refinanced, returning proceeds of GBP109 million to 3i, GBP48 million of which was recognised as income.

Elsewhere, 3i said: "The value-for-money, private label, healthcare and infrastructure investments continue to perform resiliently and represented 86% of our investment portfolio at 31 December 2023. Outside of these sectors, performance was more mixed."

As at December 31, 3i held GBP666 million in cash, up markedly from GBP55 million at the end of September. Combined with the company's undrawn GBP900 million revolving credit facility, liquidity stood at GBP1.57 billion at the year-end, with GBP542 million in net debt.

CEO Borrows added: "Macroeconomic conditions and global uncertainty are likely to continue to have an impact on selected names within the portfolio but we feel our unrelenting focus on good capital allocation means that 3i is well set for a strong return for the group for this financial year."

Shares in 3i were down 1.8% at 2,433.70 pence each in London on Thursday morning.

By Hugh Cameron, Alliance News reporter

Comments and questions to [email protected]

Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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