3i, ABN AMRO back oil & gas company

Continuing the growing involvement of buyout firms in the oil and gas sector 3i and ABN Amro’s merchant banking arm have taken a £53 million stake in TSMarine.

Global buyout firm 3i and the merchant banking arm of ABN AMRO have invested £53 million (€71.4 million; $105.5 million) for a substantial minority stake in UK oil and gas company TSMarine, according to a statement.

TSMarine: 3i and
ABN Amro-backed

TSMarine works on decommissioning and construction underwater for the oil and gas industry. It had a turnover of £55 million in 2007 and has more than 120 employees worldwide.

The underwater oil and gas sector was estimated as worth $33 billion in 2007 and is expected to grow to more than $41 billion in the next four years, according to 3i.

The oil and gas sector generally has been a significant driver of dealflow with little let-up since June while other deals have stalled. Last month US energy specialist First Reserve bought UK-listed the Abbot Group for £906 million, while African buyout firm Emerging Capital Partners invested $35 million ( €23.7 milllion) in Nigerian company Ocean Oil & Investments earlier this month.

Alasdair Cowie, the chief executive of TSMarine, said the investment would allow the company to accelerate its international growth plans which had allowed the company to generate 50 percent of its revenues overseas.

In 2007 ABN AMRO provided the company with a £130 million debt facility financing the company’s construction of two vessels in Spain due to be completed by 2009.

Colin Burnett, director of 3i’s oil, gas and power team, and Bruce Roe, a managing director at ABN AMRO, will join the board of TSMarine.

TSMarine’s advisers on the deal were energy investment bank Simmons & Co and law firm Maclay, Murray, Spens.

Separately 3i Quoted Private Equity bought a 24.6 percent stake in AIM-listed financial services company Jelf Group for £26 million. 3i’s fund raised £400 million on the London Stock Exchange in June 2007 to buy stakes in listed companies. 3i was advised by Travers Smith.

UK broker Cenkos Securities also invested £21 million in Jelf, while Manson Insurance Group, Bartlett Davies Bicks and Carter & Co. Risk Management invested an aggregate of approximately £19 million each.