Asco Group Sale Attracts Numerous Bidders

Phoenix Equity Partners‘ sale of Asco Group, the fast-growing oil and gas logistics business, has attracted a number of bidders after first round bidding closed last week, bankers close to the deal said. Phoenix is a U.K.-based middle market private equity firm.

REUTERS:

Phoenix Equity Partners’ sale of Asco Group, the fast-growing oil and gas logistics business, has attracted a number of bidders after first round bidding closed last week, bankers close to the deal said.

Lexicon Partners is running the sales process for the Scottish-based company which could fetch approximately 300 million pounds ($464.3 million). Final bids are due within a month, the bankers said.

Leveraged finance bankers are working on putting together debt packages to support the potential leveraged buyout, the bankers said.

The debt to back the acquisition could total around 150 to 170 million pounds, or approximately 4.7 to 5.3 times the group’s roughly 32 million pound earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), the bankers added.

Asco, which provides logistics services for the oil and gas sector, is seeking fresh capital in order to enter the next phase of its rapid international expansion.

It has broadened its global presence in the past few years, opening several bases across Asia and the Middle East.

In 2009 Asco entered the Asia Pacific market with the opening of an ASCO Freight Management operation in Singapore while also adding to its European network with a Dutch operation after entering into a joint venture with the Maritime Services Centre IJmond group of companies in the Netherlands.

Phoenix Equity Partners bought Asco in 2006 for 134 million pounds. The deal was backed by 117 million pounds of debt according to Thomson Reuters LPC.

Asco has more than doubled its revenues from 240 million pounds in 2005 to more than 500 million pounds in the past year.

Phoenix Equity Partners were not available for comment. ($1 = 0.646 British Pounds)

(Reporting by Claire Ruckin)