European private equity firm Cinven today announces that it has entered into exclusive negotiations to sell Prezioso Linjebygg Group ('Prezioso' or the Group'), an international leading provider of a range of multidisciplinary technical and engineering services to the energy and infrastructure sectors, to Altrad Group ('Altrad') for an undisclosed consideration. Altrad, headquartered in France, is the leading European provider of scaffolding, insulation, painting and mechanical services to customers in the industrial, construction and infrastructure sectors.

Prezioso, headquartered in France, provides mission critical maintenance services for sizeable and high value energy assets, particularly nuclear plants and oil and gas production facilities, when they are in full operation.  Its blue-chip clients include Total, EDF, BP, Exxon, Chevron and Statoil. It operates internationally in the off-shore and on-shore oil and gas segment in the North Sea, Western Africa and the Middle East and the French industrial coating, insulation and scaffolding market.

Cinven acquired Prezioso in June 2012.  The investment was originated by Cinven's Business Services team, which was looking for assets in energy services combining growth and resilience, along with Cinven's French team. Cinven positioned itself effectively as the most credible buyer for Prezioso and successfully executed the transaction outside a formal process.

Prezioso has grown significantly under Cinven's ownership with revenue and EBITDA growth of 57% and 65% respectively.  In addition, key achievements include:

  • Geographical diversification into the North Sea oil and gas market with the successful bolt-on acquisition of Norwegian Linjebygg Offshore in 2014;
  • Organic growth as a result of increasing demand and growing market share in emerging markets such as Western Africa and the Middle East, as well as in more mature markets such as the North Sea as demonstrated by the recent contract awards with Statoil in Norway;
  • The introduction of Group-wide international best practices - with the support of Cinven's team - to build a world class organisation in relation to its operational efficiencies and internal procedures, controls, systems and reporting;
  • Despite the currently challenging oil and gas market conditions, Prezioso has proven very resilient. It has significantly outperformed its peers as a result of pre-emptive measures and close relationships with its customers, demonstrating the strength of Prezioso management and the support of Cinven.

Altrad, based in Montpellier and founded 30 years ago by Mohed Altrad, has grown significantly both organically and through acquisition. Following its acquisition of Hertel in 2014, Altrad generated sales of €1.9 billion and EBITDA of €230 million in 2015.

It is the European leader for SIPM (Scaffolding, Insulation, Painting and Mechanical) services, and has leading positions in scaffolding manufacturing, hire and sales as well as equipment for construction and local authorities. It also has a significant presence in Asia, Australia, Azerbaijan and in the Middle East through Hertel.

Commenting on the transaction, Nicolas Paulmier, Partner at Cinven, said: "Cinven acquired Prezioso in June 2012. Since then, Prezioso has constantly grown its earnings in its key geographies. We had the privilege of working with a highly skilled and entrepreneurial management team to achieve this result.

 "Cinven has a significant track record of successful 'buy and build' investment strategies. Prezioso is no exception. The acquisition of Norwegian oil and gas services business, Linjebygg Offshore, was transformational for Prezioso; it significantly internationalised the business and positioned the Group as a global asset integrity champion away from a multi-local maintenance provider when we acquired the business. We are delighted that Prezioso will continue its development within a high quality Industrial group with a very strong entrepreneurial culture."

Pierre Estrade, Senior Principal at Cinven, added: "Over the last four years, together with management, Cinven has made a significant investment in Prezioso's governance, organisation, procedures and tools to support our ambitious expansion strategy for the Group.  As a result, Prezioso has been able to deliver double digit revenue and profit growth.

"We believe that Altrad has a clear and ambitious vision for Prezioso which will provide the Group with new addressable market opportunities and further significant growth prospects.  We wish the Prezioso and Altrad management teams every success going forward."

Olivier Dufour, Chief Executive of Prezioso, commented: "We were keen to work with Cinven at the outset, particularly given the team's track record of investing significant capital into businesses to accelerate growth.  Together we have continued Prezioso's remarkable development; significantly enhanced our geographic coverage and the range of services we provide to our key customers in the energy sector.  Cinven has also provided us with the support and assistance we needed to adapt in the face of challenging oil and gas market conditions, enabling us to continually meet our customer's requirements for cost-effective, innovative, value-added solutions.

"We are delighted that Cinven has entered into negotiations with Altrad, the European leader in its chosen markets and a Company that shares our values and our vision for the future development of our combined group. We consider that Altrad is the ideal partner for the future, which is excellent news for all of our stakeholders."

Mohed Altrad, President of the Altrad Group, commented: "A year after the acquisition Hertel, the acquisition of Prezioso will be another huge step in the implementation of our strategy towards recurring services businesses. Prezioso and Altrad complement each other perfectly in relation to their range of services, geographies and industries which we believe will generate numerous opportunities for our employees and our clients.  In particular, Prezioso will bring its strengths in corrosion protection, the maintenance of off shore oil & gas production assets, rope access, as well as its presence in Africa and Northern Europe.

"We have been particularly impressed by Prezioso's track record and by the commitment of its management team and employees.  On our side, we are committed to providing the necessary resources and support to continue accelerating their development going forward."

Cinven invested in Prezioso from the Fifth Cinven fund.  The Fifth Cinven fund has also generated a partial realisation for its investment in AMCo, the speciality niche pharmaceutical business.

The potential sale of Prezioso in France follows Cinven's successful realisation of its shareholding in Numericable, the French cable operator following the selldown of its remaining shareholding in the listed Altice shares in March 2016.

Advisors to Cinven and Prezioso on the transaction were: Rothschild (financial), Clifford Chance (legal) and Deloitte (commercial).

Advisors to Altrad were: Latham & Watkins (legal) and Ernst and Young (commercial, tax and legal)