Arle agrees first post-Candover deal

The firm formerly known as Candover Partners has given 3i and its co-investor a roughly £200m exit on oil services group RBG, which fellow firm Montagu had previously been eyeing.

Arle Capital Partners, formed after executives at Candover Partners conducted a buyout from parent Candover Investments earlier this year, acquired oil and gas services company RBG to bolt on to existing portfolio business Stork Technical Services.

The deal value was was between £175 million and £200 million, according to a source close to the process. Montagu Private Equity had been favourite to acquire the company before Christmas for about £200m but the deal fell through for undisclosed reasons.

Rutger Bruining, a member of the investment team at Arle with responsibility for Stork, said: “This is our first acquisition post our spin-out from Candover Investments, and is very much in line with our active management strategy. The acquisition of RBG is strategically important to Stork, which is one of the most prominent and exciting companies in our portfolio.”

3i and co-investor The Ashley Group, a construction, refurbishment and maintenance company, had owned the business for seven years. 3i partnered with the Ashley Group in 2004 to acquire and merge three oil services companies, Rigblast Group, Fallsky and Mach-Ten Offshore, to form RBG in a deal which valued the new company at £52 million. 3i and Ashley Group owned 50 percent of the business. The Ashley Group also exited its investment as part of the Stork transaction.

Mark Kerr, a director at 3i, said RBG’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation and its international revenues had more than trebled during its seven years of ownership. The company posted revenues for 2010 of about £300m, a spokesman said.

Debt for the acquisition by Stork and Arle was arranged and underwritten by Rabobank. Simmons & Company, Albacore Partners and Dundas & Wilson advised Stork and Arle, , while KPMG and Addleshaw Goddard advised 3i.