Unicorn makes partial exit from energy platform

Unicorn Investment Bank's private equity arm has sold a 10% stake in Regional Energy Services, generating a 124% return.

The private equity arm of Bahrain-headquartered Unicorn Investment Bank has sold a 10 percent stake in Regional Energy Services Holding to Eastern Industrial & Oilfield Services, a company specialising in the oil and gas sector, for $2.7 million, a spokeswoman for the bank said.

The sale of the stake generated a 124 percent return on investment, the firm said.

Regional Energy Services is a platform company in the portfolio of the $86.4 million Unicorn Global Private Equity Fund I. It was established in January 2009 as a platform for acquisitions, joint ventures and collaborations in the oil and gas sector regionally. Following its partial exit, Unicorn retains a 77 percent stake in the company.

Ahmed Abdul Rahman, private equity director at Unicorn, said in a statement that Unicorn is seeing rapid growth in the infrastructure for the regional oil and gas sector, and in keeping with that, an “exponential” growth in maintenance and service businesses.

Presently, Regional Energy Services holds controlling stakes in Gulf Strategic Partners, which specialises in pre-operational chemical cleaning services for petrochemical, power, oil and gas and process facilities, and is active in the GCC countries and India; and Bahrain Maintenance and Diving Services, a Bahrain-based oil and gas services company engaged in commercial diving, rigging, marine construction and fabrication.

Unicorn acquired a 70 percent stake for an undisclosed sum in Bahrain Maintenance and Diving Services through its platform company in June.

The Unicorn Global Private Equity Fund I is now fully invested across seven investments. Some of its other investments in the GCC region include Bahraini ready-mix concrete producer Orimix Concrete Products and Kuwait’s Al-Assriya Industries, a holding company for investments in the industrial sector.

Outside the GCC, the fund has invested in Precision Time, a US-based watch services provider and retailer, and Ellington Leather, a US-based leather handbag maker and retailer.

Besides this partial exit, the fund has made one other exit. In June 2008, it exited its investment in Orimix Concrete Products for $44.9 million, representing a 160 percent return on capital invested and an IRR of 98 percent.