Candover reports 5 per cent drop in NAV

A fall in value of Candover's private equity portfolio valuation has done little to assuage confidence at the firm, which completed five successful realisations in the first half of 2002.

Candover Investments, the UK private equity firm which earlier this year closed its largest buyout fund to date at E2.7bn, has reported a decline in total net assets for the six months to June 30 falling just under five per cent to 1,072 pence per share.

The drop compares with the FTSE All Share index decreasing by 10.3 per cent over the same period.  

The results, published on Monday, included details of the firm’s five successful exits during the first six months. Net realised gains over cost achieved by Candover and its managed funds in the period amounted to £95.8m.

Exits during the period included the sale of Regional Independent Media to Johnstone Press for £560m, representing a £45m gain for Candover and the 1997 Fund from which the investment was made. Other notables among the five were the sale of Diamant Boart to Electrolux for £185m and the flotation of research business Inveresk, which listed on NASDAQ netting the firm and the 1997 Fund a combined total of £70.8m.

The firm has been less active in terms of new investments, although the £34m investment in the creation of insurer Wellington Re was a notable exception. Managing director Colin Buffin said that the firm was hopeful of complete a number of deals in 2002. “We have a number of deals in the pipeline, including a number of potential realisations, but the transactions, and in particular the exits, will depend on an upturn in the public markets.”

Commenting on the results, Buffin pointed out that although there had been a slight drop in the firm net asset value this quarter, more should be read into the firm’s performance over the longer term. “Net asset value of the firm’s portfolio has increased by 61 per cent over the past five years. The short term indicators do not give a true indication of long term successful investing.”