Queen wins 3i shareholder support

3i has appointed a former investment banker as its new chief investment officer and CEO Michael Queen (pictured)received a ringing endorsement from shareholders at the group's AGM.

UK-listed asset manager 3i has appointed Simon Borrows as its chief investment officer, replacing Ian Nolan, who took up the role in 2009. Nolan, who established the role of CIO when he took the job in 2009, will be moved to another part of the business, with his exact role yet to be decided, according to a 3i spokesperson.

At the same time, shareholders met for the group's annual general meeting, with a massive majority voting in favour of the re-election of chief executive Michael Queen: 96.5 percent of those who voted did so in favour of Queen, with 3.5 percent against, according to a 3i regulatory release.

More voted against Queen's re-election, however, than for the group's other directors, which may be considered a warning shot for the chief executive.

Press reports last weekend had suggested some major shareholders would vote against his re-election. The reports said they would have done so in protest at his plans to spend available capital on further diversifying the business, rather than instigating share buy-backs which might help to reduce 3i's discount to net asset value.

Michael
Queen

The appointment of Borrows as chief investment officer is a significant hire for the firm as it looks to develop into a diversified asset manager. He joins 3i from investment bank Greenhill & Company International, where he served most recently as chairman. He had previously been co-chief executive of the bank, and also founded Greenhill's European operations in 1998. Prior to that, he was managing director of Baring Brothers International.

Borrows has worked with 3i for many years, and was involved in its initial public offering in 1994, as lead banker at Barings working on the flotation. He remained lead banker for the 3i relationship until 2004, according to a spokesperson at 3i. He has extensive experience in private equity, and sat on Greenhill's private equity committee for several years, the spokesperson said. 

He is well-regarded in the UK banking community, and has worked on a number of marquee transactions such as the sale of music publisher EMI to Terra Firma.

Discussing the group's second quarter results, Queen said: “We have made a good start to the year with a significant increase in the level of investment during the period. These new investments and a strong pipeline combined with our confidence in the portfolio, provide a positive outlook for the business.”

3i also revealed in an interim management statement for the second quarter that it had increased its available capital to €1.9 billion, compared to a €1.8 billion at the end of Q1.

Investments totalled £233 million (compared to £105 million in the second quarter last year), comprising £158 million in new investments, which included the acquisition of retailer Go Outdoors, automotive products manufacturer Hilite, and the World Freight Company International.

Realisations outstripped new investments however, with sale proceeds amounting to £337 million. The largest exits were the sales of hydraulic cylinder-maker Hyva at £180 million and engineering firm Norma Group, which raised £74 million for 3i when it listed.