Aberdeen oil service firm ClerkMaxwell was sold to international engineering and construction group Costain yesterday in a deal which, based on 2010 figures, is worth up to £7.9million.
If ClerkMaxwell goes on to grow earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) from its 2010 level of £400,000, then the total sum paid by Costain could be a lot more.
Costain has taken a 75% stake but has an option, exercisable between April 26 and May 31 this year, to acquire the remaining shares.
ClerkMaxwell, based at Blaikies Quay, was launched 2
The business was owned by its senior management team – led by managing director John Wilson – and private investors until Berkshire-based Costain Group came along with an offer.
All five board members, including Mr Wilson, chairman Alistair Dornan, projects director Sean Close, subsea and pipelines director Guy Cook and technical director Satnam Shoker are staying with the company.
Mr Dornan will be have a prominent role in business development under the new owner, which said ClerkMaxwell’s 50-strong workforce would also continue to play its part in the company’s development.
ClerkMaxwell will keep its name, which it took in honour of one of the world’s greatest scientists.
Edinburgh-born James Clerk Maxwell was a 19th-century professor of physics at Marischal College, Aberdeen, and is said to have inspired Albert Einstein.
The firm’s managing director said Costain was the perfect home for the business.
Mr Wilson added: “We will bring additional skills and reach to an already strong oil and gas capability and Costain’s established customer base will provide a major opportunity for us to realise our ambition of becoming a market-leading provider of value-adding, front-end engineering services.”
Costain, which employs 3,000 people, said that the acquisition would give it access to the multibillion-pound upstream oil and gas market.
Andrew Wyllie, the group’s chief executive, added: “It is absolutely in line with our strategy of broadening our existing front-end consultancy, project delivery and operations and maintenance offering through a combination of organic development and acquisitions.
“ClerkMaxwell is a fast growing business and will add complementary capabilities to our existing operations in the oil and gas sector, enhancing the full-service offering we can provide to our blue-chip customers.”
If Costain takes up the remaining 25% of shares, it will initially be paying £3.2million for ClerkMaxwell.
Further deferred payments depend on performance and are based on “notional future value”, taking into account ClerkMaxwell’s ebitda in 2012, 2013 and 2014.