Japanese contractor takes Xodus shares

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PRIVATE equity firm Simmons and Dutch investor Sunrise have sold their stakes in Aberdeen-based energy consultancy Xodus Group to Japanese engineering contractor Chiyoda.

Xodus chief executive Colin Manson remained tight-lipped over how much Chiyoda had paid for its holding, but said that the departing shareholders had made a “healthy return” on their investments.

Simmons and Sunrise are believed to have paid about £13.5 million for their stakes in Xodus when they bought shares from John Lawrie Group and former Xodus director Richard Heard during 2010.

Manson told The Scotsman: “What’s exciting about this deal is the doors that this will open for us with the big Japanese oil companies, which all want to expand overseas.

“We’ll be able to advise them on which fields to invest in. In effect, we’ll become Chiyoda upstream oil and gas arm.”

Xodus is embarking on an overseas acquisition strategy after buying Dubai-based Prime Energy on Tuesday.

Manson added: “We’ve talked in the past about growing our headcount from about 600 at present to 1,500.

“But now I’m confident that we could grow to between 3,000 and 5,000 staff within the next five years.

“A lot of that growth will come from Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.”