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Graphite Capital backs Dominion’s GBP22m expansion

UK mid-market private equity firm, Graphite Capital, has backed the GBP22m acquisition by Dominion Gas of a supplier of industrial gases to the offshore industry, Global Gas Supplies.
UK mid-market private equity firm, Graphite Capital, has backed the GBP22m acquisition by Dominion Gas of a supplier of industrial gases to the offshore industry, Global Gas Supplies.

The deal is the first step in the international expansion plan outlined in June when Graphite backed the management buyout of Global Gas, which was founded by Keith Pirie. The purchase significantly increases the group’s international coverage as a result of Global’s strong presence in Azerbaijan, Singapore and West Africa. The merger increases the group’s global workforce from 52 to 70.

Funding for the deal includes equity from Graphite and debt facilities from RBS Structured Finance, and takes total financing to more than GBP50m since the buyout.

‘This is an extremely positive and exciting acquisition, positioning the company as the market leader in the diving gas industry,’ says Dominion chief executive George Yule. ‘Keith and I plan to expand Dominion’s base in Aberdeen and create a world class headquarters with fully accredited laboratory facilities, a state of the art gas filling plant and an on-site training academy.

‘As an oilfield services company, we fully understand our clients’ needs in these challenging times of high activity and capacity shortages. For suppliers, that places the emphasis on reliability of supply, risk mitigation and added value – on a 24/7 basis – all of which we provide.’

Graphite Capital partner Anne Hoffmann says: ‘We believe in supporting our portfolio companies’ development plans. We said at the buy-out that we would work with George and the team to exploit Dominion’s strengths and grow the business internationally. The acquisition of Global Gas Supplies creates an even better platform for further expansion.’

Keith Pirie is rolling over a proportion of his proceeds from the deal to become a shareholder and joins the Dominion board as international sales and business director.

He adds: ‘The acquisition of Global Gas Supplies is a logical move for both firms and we are looking forward to growing together. The company is now in a leading position in a competitive industry and is the only Scots-based independent industrial cylinder gas specialist supplying the full range of diving, welding, industrial, laboratory, test and calibration gases.’

Mike Innes, Hoffmann and Kane Bayliss managed the transaction for Graphite. Euan Leask, John Heiton and Mike Willett managed the transaction for RBS Structured Finance in Aberdeen.

Graphite Capital is a specialist provider of private equity finance to mid-market companies in the UK. Graphite focuses on management buy-outs and buy-ins, expansion capital, replacement capital and turnaround opportunities. It invests in transactions with an enterprise value of GBP20m to GBP200m, and manages more than GBP1.2bn through three private funds and the publicly quoted Graphite Enterprise Trust

Graphite raised GBP475m in May for its latest fund, Graphite Capital Partners VII. The previous fund, Graphite Capital Partners VI, has invested in 15 companies including Park Holidays UK, a holiday home and caravan park operator; Micheldever Tyre Services, a wholesaler of car and motorcycle tyres; NES, a global technical recruitment business; sk:n, a provider of non-surgical cosmetic procedures; and outsourced staffing group Aktrion.

In the past three years Graphite has completed 20 exits and refinancings with a total value of GBP1.1bn, including Maplin Electronics, Wagamama, Ridgmont Care Homes and Jane Norman.

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