Silverfleet eyes EM play with latest Nordic deal

The acquisition of oilfield services business AGR is its third Nordic deal in 15 months

UK-based mid-market firm Silverfleet Capital has agreed to buy Norway-based business AGR Holdings, in a deal worth NOK 1,640 million ($264 million; €195 million).

The deal involves carving out the petroleum services division of Oslo-listed oil and gas business AGR Group, which is majority-owned by Swedish buyout firm Altor Private Equity. The sale follows a highly competitive auction process, which saw the business attract attention from potential buyers in both Europe and North America, according to a source close to the transaction.

AGR describes itself as the ‘largest independent well management group operating globally’, providing facilities management, consultancy and technology services to the upstream oil and gas industry. It has more than 650 staff and has completed over 500 well projects in 25 countries, including leading oil hubs like the UK, Norway, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Silverfleet’s investor relations head Annette Wilson told Private Equity International that the firm had been in contact with the management of AGR since bidding unsuccessfully for a previous division it span out in 2011. This relationship, the firm’s focus on business services, and its ambitious growth plans for the business – it wants to expand into Brazil and parts of emerging Asia – were key to it winning the deal, she added.

Chief executive Åge Landro, who joined AGR just over two years ago, will remain with the division, with his team investing as part of the buyout.

It is one of Silverfleet’s largest deals to date, and its third in the Nordic region in the last 15 months, following the acquisition of Danish camera business Phase One in March, and grain processing company A/S Cimbria in April last year. Between these two deals, it also backed German customer contact business CCC in December, and Jersey-based fund administrator Ipes last August.

The investment comes as Silverfleet prepares to return to the fundraising market. The new fund, which is likely to have a similar target as its current fund, a €670 million fund 2009-vintage, will be raised by Credit Suisse, it is understood. Earlier this year, PEI reported that its existing vehicle only had enough equity remaining for one or two more deals.

Wilson, who joined Silverfleet last year from Palamon to head up the IR function, declined to comment on fundraising.