PE pair scores 2.7x return on engineering exit

US buyout firms Pamlico Capital, formerly part of Wells Fargo, and Nautic Partners have sold engineering group MACTEC for $280m, nine years after Nautic first invested in the business.

Pamlico Capital and Nautic Partners have sold engineering business MACTEC to FTSE 100 engineering services group AMEC for $280 million. The sale, together with previous distributions, generated a 2.7x return for the private equity pair, according to a statement.

The firms agreed to sell the Georgia-based engineering, environmental and construction services company in May. Pamlico joined a Nautic-led investment and recapitalisation of MACTEC in 2002.

Pamlico made its initial investment in MACTEC when the firm was called Wachovia Capital Partners. Pamlico was founded in 1988 as the private equity investment arm of First Union and was absorbed into Wachovia when the two banks merged in 2001. After Wells Fargo’s acquisition of Wachovia in 2008, the firm spun out and changed its name in March 2010.

The firm completed its first independent platform acquisition in November, investing between $50 million and $100 million for a majority stake in radio frequency equipment company ATX Networks. Pamlico later acquired Clearlink Technologies through a recapitalisation effort completed in January.

Pamlico is still investing from its second fund raised under the auspices of Wachovia Capital Partners, which closed on $1.1 billion in 2007. That fund has since been renamed Pamlico II. The fund focuses on buyouts and growth equities, investing between $15 million to $100 million per transaction. Pamlico said at the time it spun out from Wachovia that it would eventually try to raise a fund as an independent firm.

Providence-based Nautic Partners has made several recent investments out of its Nautic Partners VI fund, which targets majority investments valued between $25 million and $75 million. In March the firm acquired Reliant Hospital Partners.