The troubled private equity firm 3i Group Plc seems to be looking at selling some of its assets and pocketing the returns sooner rather than later. The UK-based listed PE firm is reportedly selling its majority stake in Singapore-based Franklin Offshore International. The investment is less than two years old.

According to the report by Reuters, the stake sale is expected to fetch the PE firm about $400 million. JPMorgan Chase & Co is advising 3i group and is also running the auction process. VCCircle does not have an independent confirmation of the proposed deal.

The report adds, quoting sources, private equity firms as well as corporate buyers have shown interest in the company. The matter is in very early stages considering that formal auction books are not yet being distributed., the report adds.

3i had bought the stake in Frankilin Ofshore in July 2007 for an undisclosed amount. 3i and Franklin had been planning to get the company listed in Singapore last year but due to the crash in the IPO markets, the plan was abandoned.

Franklin provides oil services and manufactures products for deepwater moorings. Besides Singapore, the company has operations in the Middle East, United States, United Kingdom and Azerbaijan. It also works with rig owners and offshore contractors. It also has close business links with oil giants, Shell Oil and Total. 

3i, one of the few publicly traded private equity firms, saw its shares sinking early this year and hit a record low in January. 3i now plans to close down it’s shanghai and Hong Kong offices and relocate its china dealmakers to Beijing. 3i had recently invested $161 million for a minority stake in Krishnapatnam Port Company Ltd (KPCL), promoted by the Hyderabad-based Navayuga Group.

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