Venture capital giant 3i to cut 160 jobs in bid to curb operating costs

VENTURE capital group 3i is cutting more than 160 jobs as part of plans to save up to £45 million a year in costs.

VENTURE capital group 3i is cutting more than 160 jobs as part of plans to save up to £45 million a year in costs.

The group, which owns companies including the Agent Provocateur lingerie chain, said it would reduce global staff by a third as part of a major turnaround plan.

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Its office in Birmingham will be closed within six months under the restructure.

Recently appointed chief executive Simon Borrows said a further five offices overseas will be shut, reducing the number to 13. The company declined to say how many of the 160 job losses will come from the UK, but it is understood some support staff in its head office in London are at risk.

3i, which also owns fashion chain Hobbs, retailer Go Outdoors and restaurant business Giraffe, has seen its share price almost halve in recent months and previous boss Michael Queen stepped down earlier this year. Borrows said his plans would get 3i back on track by removing complexity and making it more dynamic.

He added: “The business today is too decentralised and lacks focus and consistency. 3i will be a fitter and more focused organisation.”

Jonathan Jackson, head of equities at stockbroker Killik & Co, said the announcement “should be well received by shareholders”.

“The big issue of misalignment between low external fee income and high operating costs is being addressed,” he said. Shares in 3i, which has backed household names such as Interflora and Pinewood film studios, closed up 5.8p at 197.1p last night.