Graphite books 2.3x on Scottish exit

The UK-focused firm has sold Dominion Gas, an Aberdeen-based oilfield services business, to New York-listed Praxair, for approximately £100m.

Graphite Capital has sold Dominion Gas, a Scottish oilfield services company, to Praxair, a New York-listed industrial gases group, according to a statement. 

The transaction value was undisclosed, but it is understood it was approximately £100 million. Graphite, which invested in the company in 2007 using its £375 million Graphite Capital Partners VI, a 2003 vintage, generated a 2.3x return on the sale.  

Dominion Gas, which was created in 1988, supplies specialist gases, gas cylinders, chemicals, tanks and related services to offshore oil and gas customers in more than 20 countries. It has facilities in the UK, Singapore and West-Africa. 

During Graphite’s ownership, Dominion Gas has grown its international operations and product range, both organically and through add-on acquisitions. Graphite supported the acquisition of Global Gas Supplies, its largest independent cylinder gas competitor. Dominion Gas also expanded its product range with the acquisition of Argon Isotank in 2008. 

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With Graphite’s support, the Dominion management team has delivered the buyout strategy that focused on product range expansion and internationalisation of the group’s operations. This was accelerated through a successful buy and build programme.

Mike Innes

n addition, the company has created a new operation in Ghana and developed its existing operations in Norway and Singapore. During Graphite’s investment period, staff numbers grew to 84 from 57. In 2012, the business achieved £30.5 million turnover, its highest ever, according to the statement.  

“With Graphite’s support, the Dominion management team has delivered the buyout strategy that focused on product range expansion and internationalisation of the group’s operations. This was accelerated through a successful buy and build programme. The breadth and scale of Dominion’s operations offered significant strategic value which attracted the attention of large multinational industrial gas groups,” Mike Innes, a senior partner at Graphite, said in a statement. 

This is the second oil and gas investment Graphite has exited in recent months. In October, it sold NES Global Talent, an international provider of specialist engineering to the global oil and gas, power and infrastructure industries to AEA Investors for £243 million.