Aberdeen’s XPD8 snapped up by engineer Smith Group

XPD8's clients include CNR, operator of the North Sea Tiffany platform
XPD8's clients include CNR, operator of the North Sea Tiffany platform
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Offshore asset management specialist XPD8 Solutions has been acquired by Smiths Group, the FTSE 100 engineering firm, in a bid to strengthen its portfolio of after-market services.

Aberdeen-based XPD8 specialises in equipment management and monitoring, an increasingly important area as the offshore industry seeks to maximise returns in the face of low oil prices. XPD8, which employs about 40 people, will be integrated into the John Crane division of Smiths Group.

The business is being sold by its management team and Maven Capital, which backed the 2010 buy-out of XPD8 with an investment of more than £2 million. Jock Gardiner, partner at Maven, said the deal represents another “healthy return” for Glasgow-based Maven’s clients.

“Working in partnership with Maven throughout, Mark Cavanagh and his team have built a reputation for excellence and a business that offers best-in-class service in a sector where the ongoing emphasis on integrity services is key for customers,” Gardiner said.

“XPD8 is proof that high-calibre management teams can deliver growth, even in a challenging oil and gas market.”

The deal is the third profitable disposal by Maven’s energy services team in less than a year. In December 2014, it sold control systems specialist EFC Group for a return of 3.8 times cost, followed by June’s exit from environmental services specialist MSIS at 3.3 times cost.

Managing director Cavanagh led the £6m buy-out of XPD8, which was formed in 2003 to serve the safety management and maintenance sectors of the global oil and gas industry. The company has secured a number of contracts in West Africa and the Asia-Pacific region during the past year, and has continuing contracts in the North Sea. Last month it secured a two-year deal with CNR International, operator of the Tiffany platform.

Cavanagh said the company is “excited” about the next phase of its expansion under new ownership. The global services network of John Crane operates in more than 50 countries, providing products to improve the reliability of offshore equipment.