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3i and Ashley Group create RBGltd in £52m deal

3i, Europe's leading venture capital company, is pleased to announce the creation of RBGltd following the merger of three of the oil industry's most successful businesses; Rigblast Group Ltd, Fallsky Ltd (the holding company of Macgregor Energy Services Ltd (MESL)) and Mach-Ten Offshore Ltd.

3i is currently a major shareholder in both MESL and Rigblast.  RBGltd will be jointly owned by Ashley Group and 3i with each having a 50% stake in the company.

RBGltd will be a £175m turnover business focused on the provision of services to support drilling, construction, maintenance, modification and operations (MMO) and decommissioning services to the oil and gas market as well as the civil, defence, marine and commercial sectors.

The company, which will be headquartered in Aberdeen, will have a presence throughout the UK and in the USA, Mexico, Trinidad, Italy, Baku, Kazakhstan, Qatar, India and Saudi Arabia.   RBGltd will offer a complete range of services from the project management and build phase of a project, together with all the necessary support services, through build and ongoing operations maintenance services.  Richard Ellis, Rigblast''s current chief executive, will become CEO of the new venture.

Graeme Sword, 3i''s Aberdeen Director, commented: "This is a real market opportunity for RBGltd.  There is much change in the operator landscape and these companies will require a new type of contractor.  3i has worked closely with RBGltd''s management for some time and we share the vision for a single source supplier with execution capability to service MMO contracts as well as drilling, construction and decommissioning projects.  RBGltd will be a business of real scale and we expect it to grow quickly to become a major international player."

Richard Ellis, chief executive of RBGltd, commented: "The management and Board of all three companies believe that this merger will significantly increase the scale of services and the international presence that each company could offer individually.  The rationale behind the deal was to enable us jointly to add greater value to the projects on which we work by broadening our scope of capability and delivery.  We now truly offer an integrated support service including fabric maintenance, specialist cleaning, engineering and modifications and mechanical services." 

KPMG''s Oil and Gas Partner, Jeff Corray, acted for 3i in coordinating the £52m deal.  Bank of Scotland provided the debt facilities.

Notes to editors

About 3i
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. We focus on buyouts, growth capital and venture capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific.  Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business. These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.

In the 6 months to 30 September 2004, 3i invested £521 million, including co-investment funds. 3i''s buyout business concentrates on the mid and smaller buyout markets in Europe and Asia Pacific and invested £305m in the 6 months to 30 September 2004.  Our growth capital business invested £142 million in the 6 months to 30 September 2004 in high growth companies expanding organically or through acquisition. 3i''s venture capital business invested £74m in the 6 months to 30 September 2004 in early stage technology companies.

About Rigblast Group Ltd 
Formed in 1975, Rigblast is an international market leader in maintenance and integrated support services within the energy and maritime industries, as well as other market sectors.  The Rigblast Group of Companies includes Aqua-Dyne, Durastic, Electrothermal, SAS (Special Access Systems) and Wilcox Engineering in Trinidad.

About Macgregor Energy Services Ltd 
MacGregor is a market leader in manpower, subsea fabrication and rig/vessel repair, offering a quality engineering capability with vendor and equipment inspection services.

About Mach-Ten Offshore Ltd 
Mach-Ten is a market-leading bolting, machining and inspection service company to the energy and civil industries.

RBGltd will provide the following services:
Fabric maintenance, specialist cleaning, access solutions, electrical & HVAC, engineering & modifications, mechanical services, inspection, flooring and decking, manpower and electrical & integrity. 
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