Last word

3i has announced the divestment of its 11.32% stake in China’s leading hotpot restaurant chain, Little Sheep Group Ltd. to Yum! Brands Inc.

As of 31 December 2008, the company operated 375 restaurants. The Group reported a 34% increase in revenues and a 41% rise in profits from US$13m to US$19m for 2008.

3i, which led a US$25m investment in Little Sheep in 2006, trebled its returns from the sale of its 11.32 percent stake, a source with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters. 3i declined to comment on its investment return.

HgCapital’s Renewable Power Partners Fund has invested €300m in three Spanish solar photovoltaic (PV) plants with a total output of 35.4MW. HgCapital purchased the stake from AIG Financial Products Corp an AIG company and from 360 Corporate, a Spanish investment banking firm, for an undisclosed amount.

This is HgCapital’s first renewable energy investment in 2009 and brings the firms renewable assets to 35 European renewable energy projects in construction, operation or development. HgCapital was advised by Cuatrecasas, Herbert Smith, Advokatfirman Oebergs, Deloitte and OST Energy. The 360 Corporate team, led by Iñigo Gortázar and Juan Ignacio Martí Junco, was advised by Allen & Overy.

At the end of last year announced two further appointments to its Renewable Energy team bringing the team to seven energy infrastructure specialists, making it one of the largest private equity renewable energy teams in Europe.

Investcorp and its consortium partners Eastgate Capital Group and The National Investor, have acquired a 70% stake in L’azurde, one of the world’s largest gold and jewellery manufacturers founded by Abdul Aziz Al Othaim. It has manufacturing facilities in Riyadh and Cairo employing over 2000 people, and sells throughout the Middle East through 4,200 wholesale accounts, including to secondary markets through its distribution capabilities in the UAE. L’azurde had 2008 revenues of more than US$500m and grew EBITDA by 14% over the previous year.

Investcorp has made the investment through its US$1.1bn Gulf Opportunity Fund I, the first fund from Investcorp’s Gulf Growth Capital business, launched in 2007.