3i to invest in deepwater mooring specialist Franklin Offshore

19 Jul 2007

3i, a leading global private equity firm, today announces an investment in Singapore-based Franklin Offshore (“Franklin”), a rapidly growing service provider to the offshore and marine industries.  Intermediate Capital Group (“ICG”), a leading mezzanine capital investor, is providing mezzanine financing and investing alongside 3i.

Franklin works closely with oil majors, rig owners, and offshore contractors to design, manufacture, certify and manage a range of deepwater mooring products and services and related equipment.  The company has grown from its origins in South East Asia and now has a global presence spanning the Middle East, US, UK and Azerbaijan. The business, renowned for its quality service, was recently recognized by Accenture, the Economic Development Board, and the Business Times as one of Singapore’s top 50 most enterprising businesses. 

Announcing the partnership with 3i, Angie Tang, CEO of Franklin said, “3i is uniquely placed to partner with us given the combination of its energy sector experience and local presence in Singapore.  We are delighted to be partnering with 3i and look forward to achieving our ambition of becoming a leading service provider to contractors and oil companies through continued geographic and product growth.”

Commenting on the transaction, Mr. John Thomson, Director, 3i Singapore said, “Franklin is a market leading business, with an outstanding reputation amongst its customers for quality and service and robust growth potential.  We have drawn on expertise from our team in Singapore and our global Oil, Gas & Power team whose market insight and networks will be invaluable to Franklin.  The company operates in a high growth market and we look forward to assisting the business in fully capturing this opportunity.”

3i will work with the current management team to identify and introduce additional management expertise to the business and to support the business in becoming a regional champion and service provider through its established relationships both regionally and internationally.  Richard Lorentz, co-founder of Pearl Energy, will be joining the Board as Chairman. Richard Lorentz commented, “I am delighted to be working with the 3i team again and in particular Franklin Offshore.  Franklin is a solid well managed company with tremendous growth potential, and the new partnership with 3i will allow the management team to capitalize on the growth in the industry. The 3i people really understand our sector through their extensive oil & gas expertise and added significant value to Pearl Energy during its partnership with the company. Likewise, I see their participation with Franklin Offshore, while working intensively with the management team, as a real positive step toward preparing the company for a listing on the Singapore Stock Exchange.”

3i’s investment in Franklin is its third energy-related investment in the region.  3i previously invested in South East Asia-focused Pearl Energy, an independent exploration and production business with a portfolio of oil and gas interests across Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.  Pearl Energy was listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange in 2005, and subsequently sold to Aabar Petroleum.  3i portfolio company Salamander Energy plc, an upstream oil and gas exploration and production company focused on South East Asia, floated at the end of last year on the London Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of $405m, raising $200m.

Notes to editors

About Franklin Offshore Holdings Pte. Ltd.
Established in Singapore in 1985, Franklin, originally engaged in the manufacturing and supply of cable laid slings, today services oil majors and rig owners to design, manufacture, inspect, certify and manage a range of rigging, lifting, and complex mooring products and services.  Franklin has been operating in the mooring business since 1997 and today is the largest and most significant offshore and marine-related service provider in Southeast Asia.  The company also has a presence in the Middle East, the US, UK and Azerbaijan.  Franklin employs 361 people, 220 of which are located in Singapore. 

About 3i

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital offering a wide range of funding solutions to support growth and the development of businesses across Asia, Europe and the United States.  3i manages the world’s largest growth capital fund and Europe’s largest mid-market Buyouts fund. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.

3i invests over $3bn every year in businesses across Asia, Europe and the US.  We provide financial and strategic support to established businesses with the potential for outstanding value growth.  In Asia, 3i invests between $20m - $2bn to help businesses achieve their growth ambitions, restructure shareholdings, release equity or change the balance of equity to debt.  Once we have invested, we are committed to working in partnership with majority shareholders.

3i has been investing in oil, gas & power for nearly 40 years and today manages an investment portfolio with a value of $1bn across the UK, Norway, USA and Singapore.  The current portfolio includes Dockwise, the Dutch heavy transportation company; EDP, an oilfield development project manager and Noreco, a Norwegian independent exploration and production company.  Successful realisations include Vetco Gray, which was sold to GE’s Oil & Gas division in January 2007; Petrofac, the international oil and gas facilities service provider, which floated in October 2005; Revus Energy, the independent Norwegian upstream company, which floated in June 2005; and CH4 Energy, a leading exploration and production company, which was acquired by Venture Production plc in August 2006.

About ICG

Listed on the London Stock Exchange, Intermediate Capital Group PLC (“ICG”) is a leading mezzanine capital investor in Europe and Asia Pacific.  

For further information please contact:

Kathryn van der Kroft
email. kathryn.vanderkroft@3i.com
tel.  +44 207 975 3021