Ambienta SGR, Europe’s largest private equity player specialising in the environmental sector, has today announced that it has agreed to invest in FoundOcean Ltd, a leading contractor of subsea and offshore foundation grouting services to the oil & gas and offshore wind sector.

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FoundOcean has experienced exceptional growth in recent years, leveraging its reputation for technical and processing excellence in a critical segment of the offshore energy production value chain. Building on a strong client base in the North Sea, the Company has developed into a global leader, with activities spanning from the Gulf of Mexico to the Indian Ocean. The surge in offshore wind development, notably in Germany and the UK, is providing further impetus to FoundOcean’s expansion.

Commenting on the transaction, Ambienta’s CEO, Nino Tronchetti Provera, stated: “FoundOcean presents a compelling opportunity to invest in an attractive company with a robust foundation in the oil & gas sector, combined with access to the rapidly growing offshore wind sector. Drawing on Ambienta’s support and expertise, FoundOcean is well positioned to continue its growth, capturing market share in offshore wind and expanding internationally into key markets, including Germany thanks to our new base in Munich, and targeted areas in Africa and Asia.”

The growth in the offshore wind market, combined with geographic expansion in oil & gas sector, is reflected in FoundOcean’s revenues, which grew by more than 100% in the last two years, to reach c. £12 million in 2011. Revenues are expected to grow by more than 50% this year, driven by new contracts already secured in the offshore wind market.

Rolando Polli, Partner of Ambienta, added: “FoundOcean represents a prime example of Ambienta’s investment strategy, focusing on European companies with strong technology expertise, developed in traditional areas such as oil and gas, which can be effectively and profitably applied in the renewables and energy efficiency arena. Another element of Ambienta’s strategy that is reflected by this investment is our focus on backing the best people, including FoundOcean’s management team.”

Ambienta will hold 35% of the Company’s equity, with the remainder held by management. Rolando Polli, Rudolf Ohnesorge and Giancarlo Beraudo will join the Board of Directors. Rudolf Ohnesorge, based in Munich, will support the development of FoundOcean in Germany.

FoundOcean’s management has backed Ambienta as a proven growth investor, with clear expertise in the renewables space. Ambienta will focus on FoundOcean’s overall development to ensure that it becomes a leading player in offshore energy services. Leveraging Ambienta’s expertise in corporate management and M&A, it will single out opportunities in partnerships, joint ventures and acquisitions to broaden the range of services offered and the geographies covered.

Jim Bell, Managing Director at FoundOcean, commented, “We are delighted that Ambienta has chosen to invest in FoundOcean as it makes the transition from a 40-person company to 100 and beyond. The investment will enable FoundOcean to continue with its forecasted growth strategy of expanding its high profile presence in the offshore energy sector.”

Founded in 1966, FoundOcean is based in Marlow and has an operating base in Livingston, Scotland. With around 100 employees, the Company has a global presence, with operational hubs in Scotland, the Netherlands, Italy, USA, Dubai, India and Indonesia. FoundOcean’s oil & gas clients include key industry players such as Saipem, Heerema, Shell, Seaway Heavy Lifting and Swiber. In the offshore wind market, FoundOcean has already completed four projects in the North Sea, and has obtained orders for three more projects which will start in 2012. FoundOcean’s offshore wind clients include the German utility company, RWE, and offshore contractors such as Scaldis, Geosea and Volker Staal en Funderingen.

Ambienta was advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers, McDermott Will & Emery, Studio Grimaldi and Burges Salmon. FoundOcean was advised by BP Collins and David Fawcus.

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