Scottish bus and rail tycoon Brian Souter has emerged as a key investor in a North Sea firm alongside a Saudi investment bank.
Sir Brian’s family investment office took a minority stake in Aberdeen-based Ashtead Technology in April when Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp) and London-based venture capital firm Buckthorn bought it out.
Souter Investments, which holds Sir Brian’s share of the listed Stagecoach Group, revealed it has taken an “opportunistic approach” to investment opportunities.
His company also took a stake in Aberdeenshire fire and safety services firm Oteac alongside private-equity firm Lonsdale Capital Partners in 2013.
Sir Brian, who co-founded Perth-based Stagecoach with his sister, Ann Gloag, in 1980, said: “I am proud of what we have achieved at Souter Investments over the last decade, especially in light of the macro-economic backdrop and difficult investment climate.
“We are now one of the most active private equity houses based in Scotland, and certainly one of the most active overseas.
“The portfolio is in a healthy state and I am confident we will continue to see many interesting investment opportunities in the future and generate superior returns.”
The firm said its portfolio of unquoted companies, based in the UK, Poland, Finland, Turkey, New Zealand and Latin America, have a combined turnover of £2billion and employ around 19,000 people.
Allan Pirie, chief executive of Ashtead, said the investment “is enabling Ashtead to further expand our service offering and widen our global reach”.
He added: “Crucially, we have been working to broaden our expertise in subsea inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) to fulfil our ambition of becoming an integrated services provider and to help our customers reduce project cost and risk as the market evolves to cope with the long-term effects of the lower for longer oil price.”