3i Infrastructure NAV Up

LONDON (Reuters) – 3i Infrastructure said net asset value edged up 3 percent in 2008 as the infrastructure sector performed relatively well during the financial crisis.

3i Infrastructure (3IN.L) said on Thursday it invested 115 million pounds in five junior debt instruments issued by infrastructure businesses during 2008 as it remained cautious about making new investments.

The sister company to listed private equity firm 3i Group Plc (III.L) said it had built up cash reserves of 387 million pounds at the end of March to invest in infrastructure markets.

“With the number and strength of competitors significantly affected by the ongoing financial crisis, the Board believes that the market opportunity is attractive, despite macro and financial headwinds,” said Chairman Peter Sedgwick in a statement.

He added that debt financing is still available for assets with a robust operational performance.

3i Infrastructure said NAV was 111.9 pence for the year while total return was 73.2 million pounds, below the group’s 12 percent target return on shareholders’ equity at 8.8 percent.

3i Infrastructure declared a total dividend of 5.3 pence, up 6 percent on the previous year.

In February, 3i cut its stake in 3i Infrastructure by 9.5 percent raising 61 million pounds to tackle its debt burden. 3i still owns one third of the fund.

(Reporting by Simon Meads; Editing by Rupert Winchester)