The future’s bright as RI3K is sold and receives a massive cash injection.
Electronic trading platform RI3K has wiped the £15m debt off its balance sheet and gained £5m for its next phase of development after Brit Insurance sold its majority stake in the company in May.
RI3K had been up for sale for a year, and speculation had been rife about who might buy the company which has developed a trading platform for the London market. It has cost, so far, £25m over seven years and was recently taken on as the trading platform of choice by Lloyd’s of London in its new China venture – giving the system a welcome profile boost.
It is also used by Aon, and servicing the broker’s and Lloyd’s market’s customers is the number one priority for the company going forward according to Alex Letts, managing director of RI3K.
“We have got contracts with Lloyd’s and Aon to support,” said Letts. “We want to see the volumes of business increased in these systems. Aon is also a big organisation that needs to be carefully supplied.” He said that many other brokers were watching what Aon was doing very carefully before deciding on a system to use.
RI3K was bought by a group led by IPGL, a private holding company of which Michael Spencer, group chief executive of ICAP, is the major shareholder. IPGL joined forces with investment fund Eton Park, Numis Corporation and Climate Exchange’s chief executive officer Neil Eckert to acquire the stake in RI3K for £8.3m. London-based Brit, which has backed RI3K since it was formed in May 2000, has reduced its shareholding from 86% to 19.9%.
“What we have gone from is a good company with a bad balance sheet which was being funded by one organisation, to a good company with a good balance sheet,” said Letts, “which was the point of the exercise.”
Letts said there would be little change in the day-to-day running of the company, but what would happen is that at a strategic level and board level, there would be a wider range of interests and input. He said he thought that Lloyd’s was not as technophobic as generally considered and that people working there were capable of using the RI3K system.
“These are people who check their emails on their Blackberries when they get home, buy their Christmas presents on Amazon – and then sell them afterwards on eBay. Anyone who can do that can use our system.”