Firms and Funds news in brief

M&G, the fund management arm of Prudential, has finally agreed to the sale of its captive private equity unit PPM Capital to its existing management team. The gross assets subject to the transaction are £14m, of which M&G has contributed £1.35m.

PPM Capital Partners is a partnership comprising the 15 senior members of the PPM management team and is led by Neil MacDougall. As part of the buyout PPM Capital Partners will continue to manage the current portfolio of companies. Since 1990, PPM has invested in 105 mid-market companies mainly in the retail, leisure, healthcare, business and financial services sectors and is currently invested in 12 UK and European companies including Paramount Restaurants, Azzurri Communications, the voice and data communications consultancy and Orizon, the leading German temporary work agency. The combined EBITDA for the current portfolio is approximately £265m.

Gresham has created a dedicated energy and environmental team which will be headed up by Andy Marsh and Christian Bruning. Marsh, commented; “We want to increase our level of investment in companies that benefit from the structural and technological changes currently being experienced in the sector. We are particularly attracted to firms that have an exposure to sub-sea oil and gas production.”

Bruning, added: “For companies of all sizes, minimising environmental impact is increasingly becoming an economic issue as well as a social responsibility issue. We are keen to help companies in waste management and recycling industries.” Current sector investments include Swift, the oil & gas recruitment company and Olaer which produces hydraulic components used in wind and wave power generation. Both have benefited from a growing number of companies focusing on their environmental credentials.

3i, a global private equity firm, unveiled its half-year results for the six months to 30 September 2007 showing profits of £337m (€471m) from realisations. Investment was up from 2006, with £1.234bn ploughed into deals during the period compared to £589 in the like period of 2006. Realisation proceeds were also up from £849m to £1.044bn.Buyouts and growth capital performance led to gross portfolio return of 14.3%, with 3i’s net asset value per share up 27% year-on-year, from £7.92 per share at 30 September 2006 to £10.07p at 30 September 2007.

“These are a strong set of half-year results,” said 3i chief executive Philip Yea. “Given the broad spread of our investment business and the strong capabilities we are building across the world, 3i faces this potentially more challenging environment from a substantially stronger position than in previous cycles.”