3i invests NOK 25.5m (£2.2m) in Epcon Offshore

10 Dec 2004

3i, Europe's leading private equity and venture capital company, today announces it has invested NOK 25.5.m (£2.2m) in Epcon Offshore AS. Epcon is based in Norway and designs and manufactures produced water treatment systems for the oil & gas industry. 3i is investing alongside the existing shareholders and the current management team.

Epcon's unique and patented product is the Compact Flotation Unit (CFU) which removes oil and gas from produced water before the water is discharged back into the sea, ground or reservoir. Epcon is targeting a rapidly growing market driven by tightened international environmental standards and significant economic and operational benefits to customers. The CFU has higher throughput capability and significantly lower weight and footprint compared to existing systems. By processing larger volumes of water and allowing for more compact processing equipment in areas with limited space, the CFU enables oil companies to enhance production and extend field life.

 

To date, Epcon has signed contracts with a number of major oil companies in Norway, the UK and Brazil including Statoil, Norsk Hydro, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, and Petrobras. The company has already established a leading position on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and is well positioned to achieve a similar position in other key markets such as the UK Continental Shelf and Brazil.

The funds will be used to strengthen Epcon's position in its core markets as well as fund international expansion, thereby establishing Epcon as the leader in the design and supply of third generation water treatment systems to the oil and gas sector.

Upon completion, Arne Aune, who was recently introduced to Epcon by 3i, will become CEO. Arne is highly regarded in the oil & gas industry and was previously CFO of Aker Maritime, a leading Norwegian oil & gas service company. 3i has also introduced Mike Fleming as Non-Executive Director. Mike has previously worked for Scottish Enterprise, PES and Well Dynamics, latterly as CEO.

Hans Middelthon, 3i Investment Executive commented: "Epcon operates in a niche market which is about to enter a period of significant growth driven by both financial benefits to customers and regulatory demands by governments. The company has established a leading position for its product on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and we believe it is well placed to take advantage of these growth opportunities and become the leader in the design and supply of third generation water treatment systems to the oil and gas sector."

Arne Aune, CEO of Epcon commented: "We are very excited about 3i taking a significant ownership position in the company. The 3i investment provides us with the financial means to continue building strength in current markets as well as developing Epcon's operations into new and promising international areas. Furthermore, this transaction will allow us to benefit from 3i's vast experience within the exploration and production and service sectors as well as provide us with access to their broad international network."

3i was advised on the deal by Maclay Murray & Spens, Aberdeen, BAHR, Oslo and KPMG.

Notes to editors

About 3i

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific. 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 has funded 24% of all European oil & gas private equity deals in the last three years and manages an investment portfolio of more than 40 companies in the exploration and production (E&P) and service sectors.

3i invests across the E&P and service sectors, funding early stage technology, growth capital and buyouts throughout Europe. In E&P, 3i's primary focus is supporting quality management teams in the acquisition of North Sea assets. In the service sector, helps companies to maximise the potential of their market leading products and services by funding management buyouts. 3i also focuses on identifying early-stage oilfield technology companies and accelerating their development through growth capital investments.

The current portfolio includes Vetco International (ABB's former upstream oil and gas business), Petrofac, a surface facilities solutions provider; EDP, an oilfield development project manager; and Revus Energy, a Norwegian exploration and production company. A recent Norwegian investment is Terra Seismic, a 4C seismic technology company. 3i also recently announced the $15m investment in Singapore's Pearl Energy as well as in the Finnish oil spill response company Lamor Corporation.

Previous investments include John Wood Group plc, the UK's largest oil service company, which was floated in 2002; Venture Production plc, one of the UK continental shelf's newest operators, also floated in 2002; and Sensa, an oilfield technology company sold to Schlumberger.