3i Group to cut costs further after beating targets

FTSE 250 investment group 3i Group saw a surge in assets under management (AuM) in the year to March 31st and said that it has identified further cost savings for the future after outperforming its targets last year.

FTSE 250 investment group 3i Group saw a surge in assets under management (AuM) in the year to March 31st and said that it has identified further cost savings for the future after outperforming its targets last year.

The company, which focuses on private equity, infrastructure and debt management, reported AuM of £12.9bn by the end of the period, up 23% from £10.5bn the year before, "reflecting the material growth in our Debt Management business". Third-party AuM jumped 45% to £9.2bn and now represent 71% of total AuM, up from 60% the year before.

3i said it has made "significant progress" in growing its Debt Management business, helped by the acquisition last year with Fraser Sullivan to establish its US debt management platform which added £2.0bn of AuM by the year-end.

Net asset value per share rose 11.5% year-on-year to 311p.

The total return for 3i was a profit of £373m, or a profit on opening shareholders' funds of 14.2%, compared with a prior-year loss of £656m and negative return of 19.5%.

The company said it "significantly outperformed" its cost-savings target last year, cutting operating costs by £51m, 28% ahead of its initial £40m target. As such, the company now expects to reduce costs by a further £60m in the year to March 31st 2014, compared with its previous target of £45m.

Meanwhile, targeted debt reduction was also achieved ahead of schedule, with gross debt falling from £1,623m to £1,081m over the year. Since the year-end, gross debt has fallen further to £917m (by April 30th).

"While economic conditions continue to be challenging across a number of our key markets, we have made significant and rapid progress in executing the first phase of our turnaround plan, and this is already delivering improved performance," said Chief Executive Officer Simon Burrows, who took up the positive in May 2012.

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