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Barclays Private Equity takes stake in Wilton Group in all-equity deal

02 juin 2010

The Manchester office of Barclays Private Equity (“BPE”), one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity firms, has taken a significant minority stake in the Wilton Group (“Wilton” or “the Group”) – a leading full-service provider of project management, design, fabrication, installation and testing services for the energy sector – through a management buyout of the business.  

The deal, which sees BPE invest £16 million in the company in an equity-only transaction, adds to BPE's existing specialist engineering portfolio, which includes leading provider of oil and gas industry products, Hydrasun, and global supplier of product and identification solutions to the electronics sector, Worldmark.  

Wilton comprises three main business units – PD&MS, Wilton Engineering Services and Universal Coatings – allowing it to offer fully integrated turnkey packages across a range of onshore and offshore engineering sectors.  

Based in Aberdeen and Teesside, and acquired by Wilton Group in 2008, PD&MS Energy provides dynamic engineering design and technical support for the maintenance and modification of oil and gas assets, currently predominantly in the North Sea.  Wilton Engineering, which is located on a 50-acre site in Middlesbrough, focuses on large, technically demanding fabrications and associated services for the subsea, marine, offshore, nuclear and renewable energy industries.  Universal, which is also based in Middlesbrough, provides high-quality surface preparation, coating and painting services to the offshore, sub-sea and power industries.  

John Walker, director at Barclays Private Equity in Manchester, said:  

“Over recent years, Wilton has grown both organically and via acquisition to become one of the UK’s leading providers of project management, design and fabrication to the dynamic energy sector.  

“Wilton has considerable potential for organic growth, particularly through its PD&MS business, which has consistently exceeded growth targets since the Group acquired it in 2008.  Furthermore, the lack of bank debt as part of this transaction will enable the business to make strategic acquisitions to further improve both service offering and market position.  

“Taking into account its focus on the maintenance and refurbishment of offshore rigs and platforms in the North Sea, Wilton operates in a marketplace of strategic importance to the UK government in terms of energy supply.  Also, measures outlined in the Queen’s Speech are likely to extend North Sea oil and gas exploration to help meet growing energy demands. If introduced, this would create further growth opportunities for Wilton.”  

Bill Scott, CEO of Wilton Group, commented:  

“BPE's investment and experience in the sector provide us with a strong platform to further build on our established customer base and broad offering of services.  The next stage of the development of the Group is to further penetrate the UK sector, and to focus on expanding into a number of overseas markets.”

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