Graphite backs Nes Group MBO

Graphite Capital has backed a £86m MBO of the NES Group from its founders and Bridgepoint, the private equity group.


NES, founded in 1978, was the subject of a Bridgepoint-backed £32m buyout in May 1999.

This latest Graphite MBO, led by NES chief executive Neil Tregarthen, shifts control away from its founders, Geoff Lloyd and Bryan Sullivan.

The Manchester-based business is a high-growth global technical recruitment business, focussing on blue chip clients in the oil, gas, rail and power sectors.

With offices in the US, the Middle East and South East Asia, turnover is expected to increase by 16% to £177m in October 2006.

NES has nearly 2,400 contractors based in 40 countries. Work undertaken by NES contractors has included work on the Dubai Metro, an oil project in Kazakhstan and a petrochemicals complex in China. Alongside Tregarthen, the buy-out team includes finance director Philip Lanigan and Mark Tully, managing director of UK operations.

Tregarthen said he was impressed by Graphite’s record in the recruitment sector.

“With its support, we foresee substantial organic growth in all our key markets. Nearly half our contractors are already working on assignments of nine months or more and we plan to increase that percentage along with the proportion of permanent placements.”

David Williams, senior partner at Graphite, called NES a “well-managed, world class business.”

“Graphite has already successfully back several companies in the sector including Huntress, Aktrion and, most recently, TMP Worldwide.”

© Crimson Business Ltd 2006

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