Matrix plans autumn launch for VCTs

Matrix is planning to launch two new 20m venture capital trust issues in September, one of which will be included in an existing offering, according to Mark Wignall, chief executive of Matrix Private Equity Partners.

The group is hoping to launch the Matrix Income & Growth 2 VCT and Matrix Income & Growth 3 VCT by mid-September, says Wignall (pictured). These new funds follow the launch of the first Matrix Income & Growth VCT, which was offered last tax year and raised 22m.

Matrix has sent out notice to the Stock Exchange and has called an extraordinary general meeting for the shareholders of the Matrix Venture fund for later this month. The group is hoping to change the name of the technology-focused VCT to the Matrix Income & Growth 2 VCT.

If shareholders approve the change in name and strategy, the group will launch a new issue of C-shares following the EGM and construct a new portfolio. The Venture fund, launched in May 2000, is currently trading at 72.5p, according to the London Stock Exchange. According to Wignall: “We simply think that with the investment strategy and methodology, we can do a whole lot better for these shareholders in the future.” The Matrix Income & Growth 3 VCT will be a new vehicle and will raise capital from scratch.

Matrix Private Equity Partners currently manages four VCTs, including part of the TriVen and TriVest funds, and is the sole manager of the Matrix Income & Growth VCT and Matrix Venture fund. With the group’s current fundraising plans, this number is set to increase to five next month, says Wignall.

According to Wignall, Matrix prefers to invest in the unquoted companies sector rather than the Alternative Investment Market, because of more attractive entry pricing and the ability to carry out its own due diligence.

Matrix typically invests between 500,000 and 5m in equity in privately owned companies with annual revenues of 5m to 50m across all sectors. Wignall adds that the group also prefers low-risk management buyouts, involving profitable, established companies that sell everyday products and services.