3i recoups investment with £450m partial exit

The London-listed firm has sold part of inspection and testing business Inspicio. It retains two of Inspicio’s other business units.

3i Group has agreed a £450 million (€539 million; $664 million) partial exit of The Inspicio Group, a business it acquired in a 2008 take-private for £345 million.

Inspicio’s commodity testing and inspection subsidiary, Inspectorate, which accounts for 70 percent of the group’s turnover, will be sold to trade buyer Bureau Veritas.

No formal sale process had been instigated for Inspectorate, with the sale being agreed after an approach by Bureau Veritas, a spokeswoman for 3i told PEO.

Bureau Veritas is a 182-year-old France-headquartered business which helps clients comply with standards and regulations relating to quality, health and safety, environment and social responsibility.

Following the deal, 3i will have recouped the entirety of its initial investment and will retain two business units – a UK-based laboratory testing group and an UK- and Ireland-based food testing business – which will operate under the new brand ESG.

Earlier this year, London-listed 3i achieved a strong exit in the sale of Nordic healthcare platform Ambea. Triton, a German- and Nordic-focused private equity firm bought Ambea for €850 million, generating a 3.5x return on 3i’s initial equity investment.