Arle Capital, Stork Buy RBG from 3i Group

Private equity firm Arle Capital has led a buyout, with engineering group Stork Technical Services, of the Scotland-based oilfield services firm RBG, Reuters reported. Arle and Stork bought the company from private equity shop 3i Group, Reuters said. Financial terms of the deal were not released. Arle Capital spun out of the buyout house Candover last January. Candover, a private equity victim of the credit crunch, last year decided to wind itself down.

(Reuters) – Private equity firm Arle Capital has led its first deal since rising from the ashes of European buyout house Candover, helping engineering group Stork buy Scotland-based oilfield services firm RBG from 3i Group (III.L).

Stork Technical Services, the arm of the Netherlands-based group that provides maintenance and testing services to the chemical and oil and gas industries, said on Monday it had acquired the business for an undisclosed sum.

RBG, which carries out maintenance on off-shore drilling platforms, had revenues of some 300 million pounds ($485.7 million) in 2010, nearly double their level from 2005 when the company was created. Stork funded the deal entirely with cash and debt, with no investment from the remainder of Candover’s buyout funds, a person familiar with the situation said.

One of the high profile private equity victims of the credit crunch, Candover last year decided to wind itself up, retaining a small amount of cash for follow-on investment in its portfolio companies.

The firm’s dealmaking team, led by managing partner John Arney, spun out in January, leaving the listed investment vehicle Candover Investments (CDI.L) to run down and gradually return cash to investors.

Stork has been touted in reports as a possible candidate for listing, with the group potentially being split into two entities — Stork Technical Services and aircraft parts manufacturer Fokker Technologies.

Initial public offering is the preferred divestment for the group though no timetable has been set, the person said.

The deal is the second between the two parties in the last six months, after 3i last year agreed to buy Stork Materials Technology — a materials testing business — in a 130 million pound deal.

Stork beat a small number of private equity firms and trade buyers to buy the business in a tight auction run by accountancy firm KPMG, another person familiar with the process said.