Oil and gas business SPEX Group gets BGF backing

SPEX Group, an Aberdeen-headquartered oil and gas service provider, has secured a growth capital investment from the Business Growth Fund. This is BGF’s fourth investment in Scotland this year.

PRESS RELEASE

SPEX Group (“SPEX”), the Aberdeen-headquartered oil and gas service provider, is looking to accelerate its expansion in international markets and accelerate its technology development with a £5m growth capital investment from BGF (Business Growth Fund). This is BGF’s fourth investment in Scotland this year.

SPEX, which in 2013 won the prestigious PWC/HSBC Technology Innovation of the Year award and the Northern Star Business Award for Commitment to Innovative use of R&D, was founded in 2009 to provide specialist services to the offshore industry, including explosives, cutting, punching and abandonment capabilities. The group has steadily grown to include the Innovation Centre, a fast-track design and prototyping service which offers unique design and technology development expertise to industry, and SPEX Production for rapid machining utilizing state-of-the-art large Mazak CNC machines.

Clients are using the unique SPEX in-house capabilities to design, develop, test and manufacture ground-breaking energetics and non-energetics technologies for a range of applications, and include solutions to solve some of the industry’s biggest challenges.

In September 2013 SPEX also secured fourth place on the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 league table for the first time, making it one of only four companies headquartered in Scotland to make it on to the league table which ranks Britain’s private technology, media and telecoms (TMT) companies with the fastest-growing sales over three years.

Employing more than 60 staff, the business operates globally from Aberdeen, and has a strong presence in the North Sea. It has an expanding international footprint having worked in more than 20 countries and has recently invested in opening new operations in the US, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. SPEX’s expansion into Saudi Arabia will support the company’s wider growth plans in the Middle East where there is huge potential for its services.

BGF’s investment will enable SPEX to continue to accelerate growth to meet demand and allow SPEX to invest in the development of its own tools and technologies with Third Party customers and recruit service personnel for the international expansion of its downhole services business. BGF has taken a minority stake and BGF Investment Director, Mike Sibson, has joined the SPEX board. Banking facilities are provided by Bank of Scotland.

CEO and founder of SPEX, Jamie Oag, explained:

“SPEX has a unique blend of technology and capabilities in-house. We provide these services for major customers, with an increasing international footprint. At the same time we are applying the same expertise to some real and urgent customer problems in the oil and gas industry. The financial support from BGF can speed up our response, allowing us to invest in people, tools and manufacturing equipment while allowing SPEX to maximise the potential of existing technologies that the company believes will be transformational for well control.

“BGF’s combination of capital and support was perfect for SPEX, and we are very pleased to welcome them on board.”

Mike Sibson, BGF’s Investment Director, said:

“We are delighted to invest in SPEX. It is a great fit for BGF. SPEX has built an excellent position based on a unique set of skills, and has exceptionally strong engineering capabilities. It is an ambitious team with a vision to build an international business. We look forward to working together to achieve the vision. BGF started the year with great momentum, and SPEX is our [third] investment in 2014. We have a strong pipeline of opportunities for the rest of the year.”

E n d s

The BGF investment team includes Mike Sibson, Kathryn Ramsay and David Gammie supported by Simon Munro.

Advisers to the transaction:

BGF

FDD: Campbell Dallas
Legal: Dundas and Wilson

SPEX

Legal: Blackwood Partners

Contact: Emily Weston at Equity Dynamics on 07825 326 442 or at emily@equitydynamics.co.uk

Notes to editors:

About BGF:

BGF is an independent company that has been established to help Britain’s growing businesses with a turnover between £5m-£100m. Growth potential is the key criteria. BGF will invest between £2m and £10m per business in return for a minority equity stake and a seat on the board for a BGF director. BGF will provide long-term equity investment for those growing companies that today do not have access to this source of capital. As such BGF hopes to be a catalyst for growth among smaller UK companies.

BGF is an independent company with capital of up to £2.5 billion, backed by five of the UK’s main banking groups – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, and Standard Chartered. BGF is managed completely autonomously with an independent management team.

BGF Key facts and figures:

• 90 people at seven offices across six UK regions
• Over £240m of growth capital invested in 47 companies from 18 sectors
• Almost 7,000 people currently employed by BGF backed companies
• More than money for investee businesses, for example BGF has placed 35 highly experienced non-executive chairman and non-executives

Scottish Investments to date

Mono Consultants: one of the largest providers of network support services to the UK mobile telecoms sector – £7m invested.
ACS Clothing: Europe’s largest independent formal hirewear company – £8.5m invested.
AFG Media: fancy dress and party fashion most famously known for its Morphsuits – £4.2m invested
Arran Aromatics: Scotland’s leading manufacturer of luxury toiletries, lifestyle products and gifts – £2.8m invested
Aubin: specialist cementing and stimulation chemicals used in drilling and preparing wells for production – £2.25m invested
Duncan and Todd: one of Scotland’s largest independent optical chains – £5.6m
Inoapps: one of the leading Oracle Platinum Partners and Applications specialists in the UK – £10m invested
Jumpstart: support UK companies in making successful HMRC R&D Tax Relief claims – £3.4m invested
Petrotechnics: global leader of software solutions to improve frontline operational performance and risk management in hazardous industries – £6m invested
M Squared Lasers: design and manufacture of lasers and photonic optical instruments – £3.85m invested
STATS Group: isolation and intervention services for onshore and offshore oil and gas pipelines – £7.8m invested

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