Businessmen strike gold with sale deal worth up to £24m

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TWO North East oil men have sold the business they set up just four years ago in a deal which could be worth up £24 million.

Keith Wallace and Peter Kirkbride established Aberdeen oil and gas services firm EPC Offshore in 2009 and together with their wives own all of the company which has been acquired by engineering group Costain.

Costain is paying an initial £9.6m plus £1m for cash in the business with the potential for that figure to rise by up to £14.4m depending on financial performance in the next three years.

The acquisition will see ­Costain launch an upstream division which will bring together EPC Offshore and ClerkMaxwell, another business it owns in Aberdeen, to provide services to the UK offshore field development market where investment in 2013 is forecast at £13 billion.

EPC Offshore, which specialises in field development and project management and employs 75 staff, achieved sales of £11.7m and profit after tax of £1.1m for the year ended 31 July 2012.

Costain Upstream will be led from Aberdeen by Wallace with operating and support units in Maidenhead, Manchester, Teeside and Abu Dhabi.

Andrew Wyllie, chief executive of Costain, said the deal will accelerate the group’s push into the sector for specialist oil and gas services.

“There is a sizeable addressable market for these highly complex services and we see further compelling opportunities to grow our oil and gas footprint both in the UK and internationally.

“The formation of Costain Upstream will significantly enhance our position in this sector, and the acquisition of EPC Offshore will boost its growth, complementing the front-end engineering and operations capabilities we acquired with ClerkMaxwell two years ago.”

Wallace and Kirkbride met 25 years ago when they were both project engineers for oil and gas pipe firm Coflexip.

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