in brief

3i last week announced a near-total shareholder take-up of its heavily-discounted £732m rights issue aimed at strengthening its balance sheet. The company said 96.6 percent of shareholders subscribed to the capital raising, part of chief executive Michael Queen’s plans to halve 3i’s debt pile. “I think people see it as a good way of getting exposure to that type of company fairly easily. There is a lot more enthusiasm today for this type of stock than there was six months ago,” said Iain Scouller at Oriel Securities. Net of fees and costs, £700m remained for the company, 3i said. The company posted a £2.15bn loss in the year to end-March, hit by a mixture of falling revenues in companies they own, tumbling portfolios valuations and tight liquidity. 3i shares were up 2 percent at 278.25 pence at 0934 GMT in a slightly weaker overall market. The stock has steeply recovered from a trough at 110 pence in March. The share sale brings 3i’s total liquidity to £1.8bn, the group said. The company said it placed 523 million out of 542 million new shares offered at 135 pence — a 60 percent discount to the close on May 7, the day before it announced the nine-for-seven offer. Rights issues this year have had average take-up rates of 93.4 percent, a spokesman for the company said. The unsubscribed rump issue of 18.6 million shares would be sold at 277 pence each, the company said. The rump issue was over-subscribed, a banking source told Reuters. JP Morgan Cazenove and Merrill Lynch International were joint book-runners on the sale.

• At a time when other banks have downsized or restructured their leveraged finance operations, Societe Generale in Asia is continuing to invest in the business. The bank has appointed Tokyo-based Marc Frenkenberg and Hong Kong-based Bruno Magnouat as co-heads of acquisition and leveraged finance for Asia-Pacific, with effect from August 1. SG has also added two more bankers – Mickael Le-Gargasson and Vincent Lebrun – to the acquisition and leveraged finance team in Asia. Le-Gargasson is joining from the infrastructure and asset-based finance team in Hong Kong, while Lebrun is relocating from London where he was with the media and telecoms finance team. “Many [financial] sponsors who came to Asia-Pacific in recent years have yet to build up very significant portfolios. In parallel, our corporate clients are also looking to seize M&A opportunities, notably in the natural resources sector,” said Magnouat, who has been with the bank since 2001 and has been in Asia since 2007.