North-east entrepreneur Pete Duguid is to retire after the sale of Kintore-based Stats Group, the business he co-founded with his sister 25 years ago.
Mr Duguid, 58, owned the pipeline technology specialist alongside BGF and other investors.
They have sold it to Japanese company Mitsui, one of the world’s largest conglomerates, for an undisclosed sum.
It comes just over a year after a £73 million all-share takeover of Stats by Jersey-headquartered SRJ Technologies was scuppered by “market volatility”. Stats cited macro, geopolitical and supply chain events as the factors behind that deal’s collapse.
‘Business as usual’
Bosses said it would be business as usual for the company and its 342-strong workforce following the takeover by Mitsui.
The firm will continue to deliver its products and services to customers from operational bases around the world.
Mr Duguid and his sister, angel investor Lorraine Porter, founded Stats in 1998.
While he is stepping down from his role as chairman and quitting the business, chief executive Leigh Howarth and the rest of the boardroom team are staying on at Stats.
The Aberdeenshire firm will be combined with Mitsui’s iron and steel business unit.
Completion of the takeover is expected later this summer, subject to regulatory competition approvals.
Mr Howarth said: “The acquisition of Stats is complementary to Mitsui’s plan to establish a strong, sustainable presence in the pipeline maintenance market as a service provider.
“Having worked with the Mitsui team for several months now, we’re delighted to be formally joining forces to pursue opportunities in both the traditional oil and gas pipeline markets and the emerging low carbon markets.
“Supported by Mitsui’s broad energy relationships and investments, we see significant growth potential for Stats from this transaction, and resultantly excellent career development opportunities for all our staff.”
Koichi Fujita, chief operating officer, Mitsui Iron and Steel, said the acquisition boosted the Japanese company’s efforts towards a global energy transition.
Mr Fujita added: “Utilising the equipment and services provided by Stats, Mitsui will also work to strengthen the value chain for its upstream oil and gas interests and businesses, particularly in the areas of CCS (carbon capture and storage) and hydrogen.”
Stats operates from its headquarters in Kintore and through international bases in Canada, the US, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Malaysia and Australia.
Revenue totalled £59m last year
The company has reported revenue of £59m for 2022, up from £49.7m the year before.
BGF has supported Stats since 2012. The bank-backed investor pumped £7.8m into the business in March that year and unveiled a further £4.3m cash injection in early 2015.
Commenting on the exit from Stats, BGF investor Richard Pugh said: “As a long-term investor we are pleased to have been able to support the company on their growth journey since 2012, showing our ability as a patient investor to build businesses over the long-term.
“The business has more than trebled in size over this period, and we are confident that this new partnership with Mitsui will see it continue on this impressive growth trajectory.
“We would like to thank the Stats team for driving this growth and creating a positive outcome for BGF, and wish them every success for the future.”