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Candover, 3i and JPMorgan Partners sell Aibel to an investor group led by Ferd Private Equity Fund II for $900m (670m)

A private equity syndicate comprising Candover*, 3i and JPMorgan Partners**, today announced the sale of Aibel to an investor group led by Ferd Private Equity Fund II, a leading Norwegian private equity fund, with debt financing provided by ABN AMRO and DnB NOR, for an enterprise value of $900m (€670m). Completion of the deal, expected in August 2007, is subject to competition and regulatory approvals.

The sale of Aibel, coming after the sale earlier this year of Vetco Gray to GE Oil and Gas for $1.9 billion, completes the exit from Vetco International for the syndicate, which acquired the business in July 2004 from ABB Oil & Gas for $925 million.

Aibel is a leading provider of upstream oil and gas production facilities, process systems, technology, services and products. From new build to decommission, it maintains, modifies and operates on and offshore oil & gas production facilities.  The business, which generated approximately US$1.5 billion turnover of sales in 2006, employs more than 7,000 people across 16 countries. 

Commenting on the sale, the private equity syndicate said:

“Aibel performed strongly following the exit from sister company Vetco Gray with solid growth in sales and EBITDA. The sale of Aibel and Vetco Gray has generated an impressive return in just under three years.  Aibel is an exceptional business, which should continue to prosper as an independent entity under the leadership of Rasmus Sunde and new owners led by Ferd Private Equity Fund II. We wish the management and staff at Aibel every success.”

Peter Goode, Executive Chairman of Aibel, said: 
“The sector of the market in which Aibel participates is forecast for continued strong growth. The Company is well positioned in this market and will provide the new owners with a strong platform to participate in this growth. I remain confident of the future for the company and employees.”

Advisors were Credit Suisse and DnB Nor Markets (M&A), Clifford Chance (legal) and Deloitte (financial).


Notes to editors

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital with operations in Europe, the United States and Asia. 3i is active across all stages of funding. From early-stage venture capital to growth capital, buyouts and infrastructure, 3i invests approximately €2bn a year in some of the most exciting and ambitious companies in the world. 3i is the only FTSE 100 company in its sector and has total funds under management of £7.0bn (€10.4bn).

3i’s oil, gas & power team manages an investment portfolio with a value of $1bn across the UK, Norway, USA and Singapore.  The current portfolio includes EDP, an oilfield development project manager and Noreco, a Norwegian independent exploration and production company.  Successful realisations include Petrofac, the international oil and gas facilities service provider, which floated in October 2005; Revus Energy, the independent Norwegian upstream company, which floated in June 2005; and CH4 Energy, a leading exploration and production company, which was acquired by Venture Production plc in August 2006.  Other previous portfolio companies include Wood Group and Venture Production.

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