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3i Group plc
FormerlyInvestors in Industry
TypePublic limited company
IndustryCorporate finance
Founded1945; 76 years ago (1945)
FounderBank of England and a syndicate of British banks
United Kingdom
Key people
Decrease £215 million (2020)[2]
Decrease £214 million (2020)[2]
Number of employees
244[3] (2021)
Websitewww.3i.com Edit this at Wikidata

3i Group plc is a British multinational private equity and venture capital company based in London, United Kingdom. 3i is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


The company was formed in 1945, as the Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation (ICFC), by the Bank of England and the major British banks to provide long-term investment funding for small and medium-sized enterprises. Its foundation was inspired by the Macmillan Committee, and resulted from the recognition in the 1930s, given new impetus in the postwar era, that smaller businesses faced a gap in available corporate finance due to banks being unwilling to provide long-term capital and the companies being too small to raise capital from the public markets.[4]

During the 1950s and 1960s, and particularly after 1959 when the shareholder banks allowed it to raise external funds, ICFC expanded to become the largest provider of growth capital for unquoted companies in the United Kingdom. In 1973 ICFC acquired Finance Corporation for Industry, a sister company also formed in 1945 which focused on finance for large companies, and was renamed Finance for Industry (FFI). In the 1980s FFI became a leading provider of finance for management buyouts, and expanded internationally. In 1983 the company was renamed Investors in Industry, commonly known as 3i.[5]

3i Group was created in 1987 when the banks sold off their stakes to form a public limited company. In 1994 the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of £1.5 billion.[6]


3i invests in mid-market buyouts, growth capital (minority) and infrastructure. Sectors invested in are business and financial services, consumer, industrials and energy, and healthcare.

Current investments include:

  • ACR Capital Reinsurance: 3i bought into this re-insurance business in 2006.[7]
  • Action: in June 2011 3i bought a majority stake in this Dutch discount retailer.[8]
  • Audley Travel: In December 2015 3i invested in Audley Travel, the lead operator in the tailor-made travel market.[9]
  • ESP Utilities Group: In June 2017, 3i invested in ESP Utilities Group, one of UK’s largest and longest established Independent Gas Transporters (IGT) and Independent Distribution Network Operators (IDNO). [10]
  • Scandlines: 3i have had 100% ownership of Scandlines since November 2013.[11]
  • Q Holding Co: 3i are due to purchase the company's three main operating businesses, Qure Medical, QSR and Quadra Tooling and Automation.[12]
  • Weener Plastic Packaging Group: in June 2015 3i announced an investment in Weener Plastic Packaging Group[13]
  • Formel D: In 2017, 3i invested €155 million in Formel D, a German car parts company, while CITIC invested €72 million.[14]


  1. ^ "Our People". Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Annual Results 2020" (PDF). 3i. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  3. ^ "3i Group". Owler. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  4. ^ The Times, 24 January 1945
  5. ^ The Times, 5 July 1983
  6. ^ "Our History". 3i.com. Archived from the original on 14 February 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  7. ^ 3i and Khazanah lead investment in ACR’s $620m inaugural private placement Alternative Assets, 1 December 2006
  8. ^ 3i Proposes Preliminary Terms for Loans to Back Action Buyout Bloomberg, 18 August 2011
  9. ^ Ratcliffe, Madeline (21 December 2015). "3i hopes Audley Travel will take off with £159m investment". London: City A.M. eISSN 2516-5453.
  10. ^ "About ESP". ESP Utilities Group. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  11. ^ 3i offers to take full control of Nordic ferry group Scandlines FT.com, 12 September 2013
  12. ^ "Sale to private equity firm should bolster Q Holding Co". Crain's Cleveland Business. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  13. ^ 3i invests €250m in Weener Plastic Packaging Group Archived 7 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine 3i.com, 4 June 2015
  14. ^ Turvill, William (17 July 2017). "UK private equity giant 3i sells stake in Barcelona-based funeral services company Memora". City A.M. London. eISSN 2516-5453. Retrieved 19 July 2017.

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