Newly Formed ABZ Group Completes Acquisition of Labtech

ABZ Group, backed by Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity (AMJPE), has completed its second deal since forming earlier this month. The group, which is looking to create a diverse group of companies, focused on providing an extensive range of products and capabilities to service the oil and gas sector internationally, has acquired Labtech Services Limited.

The acquisition of Labtech follows hot on the heels of a deal to acquire the property company which owned the Labtech offices in Altens, Aberdeen. Both deals are in line with ABZ's ambitious growth stategy to increase turnover from £6 million to £50 million in three years. The international growth of Labtech is a key element in the group's expansion and it is anticipated that a significant number of jobs will be created to boost the current 80 strong workforce.

Formed by Bob Forbes and Andy Bruce, who between them have more than 40 years experience in the oil and gas sector, ABZ is funded by AMJPE and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Labtech specialises in the design, engineering and manufacture of onshore and offshore cabins, containers, baskets and air conditioning and refrigeration units from its purpose built workshop and facilities in Altens. The company is recognised globally for the high standards of its equipment and its ability to respond quickly and effectively to customer requirements.

Former owner manager of Labtech , Jim Manson, will remain with the company and will be involved in the wider development of ABZ. Commenting on the deal, he says: "The acquisition has come at an ideal time for Labtech. We are seeing an unprecedented number of opportunities on a global scale at the moment, and the financial backing of the ABZ Group will enable us to move on to the next logical stage in the development of the business. I strongly believe that we can build on the success which we have enjoyed over the last 21 years."

Bob Forbes adds : "Labtech's reputation as a successful business delivering quality products made it a very attractive proposition for our portfolio and we will be looking to add to it in the future. There are a number of other companies in the North Sea who require resources and expertise to grow in the international marketplace and we will be actively looking to assist some of them in the future."

AMJPE has invested £550,000 in ABZ from Aberdeen Development Capital PLC, an investment trust which aims to provide shareholders with above average long term capital and income appreciation, principally by investing development capital into private companies throughout Britain, and by the acquisition of companies or other entities investing development capital.

Jock Gardiner, head of private equity in Aberdeen for AMJPE says : "The high oil price coupled with increased global activity levels has led to a higher demand for Labtech's products and services. This is an ideal time for driving the business forward to exploit the new opportunities both in the North Sea and further afield.

"Labtech was a very attractive proposition with real growth potential, particularly in the current market conditions. Having previously worked with the strong and experienced management team of Bob Forbes and Andy Bruce, we have every confidence that they will drive the business forward."

Corporate finance advice to ABZ was provided by Ritson Smith led by Graham Alexander who has worked with ABZ Group since its formation and will continue to work with the group going forward. Legal advice was provided by Ledingham Chalmers.