Management Buyout of The EPI Group
HMT LLP, led by partner Ian Barton and supported by manager Julia Carruthers, advised Management and Newco funded by Palatine Private Equity (“Palatine”) and The Royal Bank of Scotland (“RBS”) on the management buy-out of Surrey-based seismic consultancy firm, The EPI Group (“EPI”).
EPI is a world-class leader in consultancy services to the energy industry, covering a broad range of technical disciplines including specialist knowledge of seismic quality control. EPI provides consultants whose specialist capabilities, experience and expertise add significant value to their client’s oil and gas exploration programs. Working in a variety of harsh, hostile, remote and challenging environments, EPI’s consultants ensure multi million pound projects are delivered safely, on time and to budget. The EPI Group, which is headquartered in Cobham, Surrey and has offices in Houston (US) and the Middle East, provides services across the globe to the world’s leading energy businesses including BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Statoil and Total.
EPI’s management team has delivered significant growth in recent years, increasing revenues from £9m in 2009 to £24m in the current financial year. In doing so EPI has become the world’s second largest operator in its market place. With the support of Palatine, EPI’s management team, led by CEO Edward Bowen and CFO Richard Bradley, intends to grow organically via further geographical expansion and increased diversification of the services it provides. EPI also plans to embark on a buy and build strategy as it looks to strengthen its portfolio of clients and services over the next few years.
Ian and CFO Richard Bradley were formerly colleagues at Deloitte and together had previously advised Palatine on the MBO, refinancing, bolt-on acquisition and subsequent sale of XLN Telecom.
This is the second major oil and gas services transaction led by Ian Barton and HMT in the last 12 months following the £100m+ sale of Swift Worldwide to Wellspring in 2013.
Edward Bowen, CEO at The EPI group commented:
‘My team and I are indebted to Ian for his unwavering support, sound advice and his commercial acumen which ensured we were able to navigate our way through a complex family exit and a fantastic opportunity for the management team to continue growing this great business.’
‘Ian’s sharp mind, commercial experience and deal know-how, has enabled us to compose a great deal for vendors, management and Palatine alike. I am particularly grateful to him for his exceptional support, unwavering loyalty and uncompromising dedication to his clients. Without Ian’s support, this deal would not have been done… thank you!’
Ian Barton commented:
“EPI is a great example of an ambitious entrepreneurial business which has grown from its family business origins over the last few years to become a global leading operator in the seismic consultancy sector. Bringing together the management team’s expertise and Palatine’s experience and investment to support further international growth promises exciting times ahead for all at EPI.”