Birch Hill partially exits oil and gas company

The Canadian mid-market firm will sell 50% of oil and gas services business Secunda Canada roughly 18 months after forming the company.

Toronto-based Birch Hill Equity Partners will sell 50 percent of oil and gas services company Secunda Canada to Norwegian-based Siem Offshore for about C$16 million (€12 million; $16 million). 

Secunda operates a fleet of offshore support vessels on Canada’s east coast that provide services to oil and gas companies. The partial exit comes just 18 months after Birch Hill established the company in March 2012 by purchasing 10 charter fleet vessels from NYSE-listed engineering and construction company McDermott International.

“The core business has done well during our hold,” partner at Birch Hill Stephen Dent told Private Equity International. “We felt a global player like Siem Offshore who has significant capabilities with new vessel design and procurement would significantly improve the company’s growth prospects.”

Secunda marks Birch Hill’s second exit of 2013, the other being the partial exit of software services company Constellation Software. Birch Hill exited three portfolio companies in 2012 and distributed about C$1.5 billion back to limited partners during the 18 months through April 2013.

Birch Hill is investing its fourth buyout fund, which closed on C$1 billion in February 2011. 

The firm sealed its only announced acquisition of 2013 in April, taking IT services business Softchoice Corporation private in a transaction valued at C$412 million.

Birch Hill focuses on small and medium-sized Canadian companies and has C$2 billion in capital under management. The firm’s entire portfolio represents more than $4.7 billion in total revenue.