- Venture capital company Draper Esprit reported a surge in annual profits driven by strong performance of investments in its portfolio.

For the year ended 31 March 2019, pre-tax operating profits rose to £111m from £60.85m a year earlier, and investment income rose to £120.8m from £73.8m a year earlier.

The gross portfolio value, the gross value of the group's investment holdings before deductions for carry and any deferred tax, had more than doubled to £594.0m from £243.5m a year earlier, driven by the £226.4m of investment, up from £71.5m a year earlier, and fair value growth of £140.1m, up from £73.6m.

The company generated £16.0m in cash through two exits, with an additional £15.3m realised post-period end.

Net assets increased by 106% to £618.6m for the year and year-end cash balances was £50.4m.

'The twelve months ended 31 March 2019 were a transformational period for the business which saw us undertake two successful fundraisings for the plc, invest £226.4 million in high growth tech firms across Europe (as well as a further £35.1 million from EIS/VCT), strengthen our dealflow across Europe with our strategic partnership with Earlybird, realise significant cash from exits and, once again, exceed our core strategic aim of delivering a portfolio return of 20% per annum with an annual return of 58% on opening portfolio value,; said Simon Cook, CEO at Draper Esprit.

'As a result, we have cemented our standing as one of Europe's largest VCs, delivering growth and scale across our portfolio, as well as in our own business, which will continue to drive long-term, sustainable returns for our shareholders giving them access to high growth private technology companies through a listed company.'

'We have started the new financial year well and, while we are maintaining our customary discipline with regards to new investments, we continue to see exciting opportunities to work with attractive businesses, providing early and growth-stage technology companies with the capital, international networks, and hands-on support they need in order to achieve their global growth ambitions.'

At 8:50am: [LON:GROW] Draper Esprit Plc share price was -8.5p at 478.5p

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