Jim Walker takes long view with sale of Altor

Altor and Stirling Group provide services to the oil and gas sector. Picture: SWNS
Altor and Stirling Group provide services to the oil and gas sector. Picture: SWNS
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ENTREPRENEUR Jim Walker is enjoying the second big payday of his career after selling his Aberdeen-based risk management firm, Altor.

The former army officer, who sold his previous business to Petrofac for £3 million in 2005, said it was a little early to exit Altor but he had chosen to do so because of the excellent fit it provided with Dubai-headquartered buyer, Stirling Group.

He said: “Together we will be able to take advantage of opportunities much faster and on a larger scale. We expect this business to grow very significantly over the next three years.”

Both firms provide services to the oil and gas sector, although Altor Risk Group also has clients in other sectors, including the marine and aviation industries, utilities and governments.

Whereas Stirling is focused on operational health and safety and has its largest presences in Africa and the Middle East, Altor specialises in managing major accident hazards and is focused on the UK and Far East.

Walker left Petrofac just two years after selling his consultancy Rubicon to the oil services giant and set up Altor Risk Group in 2010.

Altor was a fast-growing start up, moving from revenues of around $6.8m (£4m) in 2013 to projected revenues of more than $10m for 2014. The combined companies will create a business with revenue expected to exceed $40m in 2014.

“My mind is absolutely set on what we are trying to do,” Walker said. “It’s a journey we have set ourselves over the next five or six years, and I am a part of that.”

Although a value has not been disclosed for the all-cash deal, Walker said that it had provided “a good financial return” for himself and a handful of wealthy backers. An employee share scheme means some members of staff will also enjoy a pay-out.

Altor had a turnover of more than £1m in its first full year and is thought to have grown rapidly since then, adding offices in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates and operations spanning 16 countries.

Walker said: “In the past four years we have grown significantly, demonstrating the high global demand for an integrated approach to risk management and specialist emergency response services.”

The expanded Stirling Group claims to have become “a major new force in global health, safety, security, environment and risk management” following the acquisition.

Angus Neil, managing director of Stirling Group, said: “This is an exciting development for both companies who share the common vision of becoming industry leaders in protecting organisations operating in hazardous environments by managing risk and ensuring they can work safely and securely anywhere in the world.

“As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, this deal brings together our complementary offerings to deliver enhanced risk, HSE and emergency response services that provide peace of mind to clients.”