PD&MS sold in deal as Equistone exits engineer

PD and MS chief executive Simon Rio
PD and MS chief executive Simon Rio
Share this article
Have your say

OIL and gas engineering consultant PD&MS Energy has changed hands in a private equity-backed deal believed to be worth in excess of £50 million.

Founded in 2002, the firm generated turnover of £47m last year and is aiming to double the size of its business by 2016 after Equistone Partners Europe, the investment house run by former Barclays private equity executives, sold its stake to mid-market peer Inflexion.

PD&MS, based in Aberdeen, employs about 230 onshore personnel, with a further 150 offshore workers, and counts oil majors BP and CNR International among its customers.

The firm was taken over by Middlesbrough-based Wilton Engineering Services in 2008 and two years later Equistone invested £16m in the enlarged group. The private equity outfit pumped in a further £4m to take a majority stake in the engineer in May last year when it demerged from Wilton, taking its total investment to £20m.

PD&MS chief executive Simon Rio, pictured, said today: “Equistone has supported us through two rounds of investment, enabling us to strengthen our services and drive growth in both the North Sea and more recently internationally.

“This has created an excellent platform to build the business further and we look forward to the next stage of growth.”

Along with its head office in Aberdeen, PD&MS has operations in Dundee, Great Yarmouth, Azerbaijan and Brazil. Equistone partner Steve O’Hare told The Scotsman the firm had not been actively seeking an exit from PD&MS, but Inflexion “came knocking” with an offer that eventually led to the deal.

O’Hare, based in Equistone’s Manchester office, declined to put a value on the transaction, but said the firm had achieved a return of 2.9 times its total investment following the secondary buy-out to Inflexion.

He added: “We are confident that the management team will continue to develop its core services in the drilling, production and marine sectors, while strengthening its market position in global engineering.”

A source close to the buy-out deal said the acquisition was valued at more than £50m.

Inflexion managing partner Simon Turner said: “We’ve been tracking this business for a number of years, attracted by its ambitious management team and the global market opportunity. We’re excited to be investing in a sector that Inflexion knows well.”

The private equity firm, which also has a stake in fashion brand Jack Wills, has previously backed Aberdeen-based oil rig moorings specialist Viking and its current portfolio includes subsea remote vehicles maker SMD and Rhead Group, the infrastructure project manager.

Rhead chairman Alan Proctor will join the PD&MS board as senior non-executive director.

Inflexion was advised on the deal by Simmons & Co International of Aberdeen, while debt was provided by Lloyds Bank.