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3i ends eight-year investment.

UK private equity and venture capital investor 3i has sold its minority stake in Vibration Technology (Vibtech), a developer of wireless solutions for the oil, gas and mineral exploration sector, to Sercel, a division of French seismic recording specialist Compagnie Generale de Geophysique (GGY).

3i has made £6m from the exit, valued in total at £12m, which represents a return of 1.8x and an IRR of 17% for the London-based firm, bringing an end to an investment that began in May 1998. The company was formed in 1996 and has received a total of £3m from 3i since then. Will Clark, director at 3i, said: “During our investment, Vibtech has successfully developed a range of cable-free land seismic systems, the most exciting being the recently launched ‘Unite’ system. The company has built a strong platform from which to grow further and this move will provide Vibtech with access to Sercel’s international network.”

The launch of Unite was what attracted Sercel to the business, with both oil companies and seismic contractors interested in the system following successful field trials of this new equipment, which records and transmits data needed for seismic recording using broadband cellular radio networks rather than the traditional, and limited method of radio frequencies.

Originally a spin-out from the University of Strathclyde, Vibtech has raised over £10m in venture capital, with 3i joined by Braveheart Ventures, Aberdeen Asset Managers Private Equity and the British Smaller Companies VCT, managed by YFM Group. Vibtech raised £5m in its final funding round in May last year.