Palatine completes EPI Group buyout

Lower mid-market private equity firm Palatine has completed the management buyout of Surrey-based seismic consultancy firm, The EPI Group. Palatine is backing the management team, led by CEO, Edward Bowen.


Leading lower mid-market private equity firm Palatine has announced the completion of the management buyout of Surrey-based seismic consultancy firm, The EPI Group (“EPI”). Palatine is backing the highly successful incumbent management team, led by CEO, Edward Bowen. As part of the deal Ian Langley, who Palatine successfully backed as Chairman of Air Energi, will join the board.

This deal is the sixth investment from Fund II, which held its final close in June 2013 at £150m.

EPI is a world-class leader in consultancy services to the energy industry, covering a broad range of technical disciplines including specialist knowledge of seismic quality control. EPI provides consultants whose specialist capabilities, experience and expertise add significant value to their client’s oil and gas exploration programs. Working in a variety of harsh, hostile, remote and challenging environments, EPI’s consultants ensure multi million pound projects are delivered safely, on time and to budget. The Company, which is headquartered in Surrey (UK) has offices in Houston (US), the Middle East and provides services across the globe to the world’s leading energy businesses including BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Statoil and Total.

The management team has delivered significant growth in recent years, increasing revenues from £9m in 2009 to £24m in the current financial year. In doing so EPI has become the second largest operator in its market place.

The business is well placed to grow organically via further geographical expansion and increased diversification of the services it provides. The Company also intends to embark on a buy and build strategy as it looks to strengthen its portfolio of clients and services over the next few years.

Tony Dickin and Andy Strickland led the transaction for Palatine and Tony joins the EPI board with immediate effect, alongside Steve Donaldson, Palatine’s Head of Portfolio.

Edward Bowen, CEO at EPI Group, said: “We are delighted to have entered into a partnership with Palatine, which will enable us to continue to grow the business internationally. Retaining our core values we will embark on an exciting journey to continually diversify our client portfolio, whilst increasing the number of specialist services within the Group.

“Moving forward, drawing on Ian Langley’s wealth of international expertise, we can ensure we continue to meet our client’s demands for specialist support services across the globe.”

Tony Dickin added: “We are really looking forward to working with the management team at EPI as the business expands its client base in the energy sector and develops its portfolio of services both in the UK and on a global scale. EPI is in a strong position to generate organic growth and is an excellent platform for acquisitions.”

Simon Emery and Simon Greenhill of RBS provided debt facilities for the deal. A team at Deloitte led by Jodi Birkett and Matt McKinlay provided financial due diligence, with tax advice supplied by David O’Leary and Simone Wilson. Calash provided commercial due diligence, while Gateley offered legal support. Ian Barton of HMT LLP provided corporate finance advice to the purchaser.