‘Business as usual’ for Expro after sale

The chairman of Aberdeen-based international oilfield service company Expro said yesterday that a slight change in its ownership would have no effect on its day-to-day management.

The Granite City company is owned by a consortium of Candover Investments (CI), Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and AlpInvest Partners.

CI holds about 30% of Expro in its investment portfolio – and it is the ownership structure of this which is changing.

CI said yesterday it would spin off its private-equity dealmaking arm, Candover Partners, to allow the division’s management a chance to rebuild its reputation and raise new money for deals.

CI has agreed to sell this business to Arle Capital Partners, a new private- equity firm being established by Candover Partners managing partner John Arney, for a nominal sum.

The deal is another stage in the winding up of CI, announced in August, which marked it out as one of the private-equity industry’s most high-profile victims of the credit crisis.

CI will also sell up to 29.1% of the group’s investment portfolio to a new entity backed by Arle and Pantheon, a private-equity fund of funds, for about £60million.

Expro employs 5,000 people in 50 countries, including 700 in Aberdeen.

Expro chairman Graeme Coutts said: “I would like to reassure everyone that this sale will have no effect over the day-to-day managing of our business and that we view the buyout as good news for Expro. The management buyout is a welcome step in continuing to provide stable management that truly understands its portfolio of businesses, including Expro.

“The same executives at Candover Partners will continue to work closely with our management team, with the same focus on helping our business continue to grow successfully. At Expro, we have a clear view of what we want to achieve over the next four years.

“We will continue to see investment in our people, our technology and our bases around the world to position us for the many growth opportunities that exist for our business with the continuing support from our owners.”