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3i bows out of disastrous Enterprise investment with £385m Ferrovial sale

21 Feb 2013

roadworksLondon-listed private equity firm 3i has exited its disastrous investment in business services company Enterprise through a £385m sale to Spanish infrastructure buyer Ferrovial.

The firm bought into Enterprise with £200m of equity in May 2007, but saw that cash wiped out four years later thanks to spiralling debt issues at the company following the financial crisis.

Ferrovial said the deal will double the size of its UK business, which is currently run through subsidiary Amey. It said integrating the pair would produce cost and revenue savings of about £40m.

Enterprise had £1.1bn of revenues last year and employs 9,600 people. The company provides environmental, property and utilities services as  well as road maintenance for public and regulated-sector clients.

3i was reportedly in advanced talks with Ferrovial over a sale as far back as May last year.

Last month it emerged the firm was on track with its restructuring process and well on the way to reducing its gross debt to less than £1bn by June, according to its fourth-quarter earnings announcement.

The London-based firm said NAV had risen a further 4.8 per cent to 286p per share, meaning the discount of the group’s share price to reported NAV had narrowed materially since it announced a dramatic overhaul of its strategy in June 2012.

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