At the time of its acquisition by Cinven in July 1992, Expro – Exploration & Production Services - was owned by Flextech. The company provided a small, highly specialised range of services to the oil and gas industry worldwide, including major oil companies such as BP and Shell. Because of the highly specialised nature of its services, Expro was able to command high margins and had been consistently well managed and profitable for a number of years.
The company expected good development in both revenues and profits over the coming few years based upon only modest growth projections in oil exploration in its main areas: the North Sea, North America, the former Soviet Union and China. In addition its investment in overseas offices was expected to yield increased revenues and a pipeline of new products was also expected to lead to improved sales.
Despite difficult conditions in the oil sector market, Expro performed well over the next couple of years. By 1995 54% of the company’s revenues derived from overseas markets, vindicating its overseas development strategy. In view of this and the success of its new products, a stock exchange listing was considered. Consequently in March of that year it made its debut on the London market when Cinven sold its interest in the business.
Multiple returned on original investment: 2.6x