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Score Group acquired by US-based SCF Partners in £120m deal

Keith Cochrane

Chairman Keith Cochrane: we have found a buyer that understands the business

Score Group, one of the biggest companies in north east Scotland, is being acquired by US-based energy services investor SCF Partners for £120.5 million.

Peterhead-based Score Group is active in valve and industrial gas turbine component supply, maintenance and associated services with a £200m turnover.

The cash deal has been led by Buchan 2, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Houston-headquartered SCF, and values each share in Score at 330.318p.

Score was founded in 1982 by Charles Ritchie and a Family Trust was set up following his death in 2017.

It is the largest employer in Peterhead with 800 of its 1,900 global workforce based in the town.

Having steered the business through the period following Mr Ritchie’s death, the board and the Trust set out to find a buyer who would respect the founder’s legacy.

Chairman Keith Cochrane, former senior executive at ScottishPower and Weir Group, said; “In SCF Partners, we have found a buyer that understands Charles’ ambitions for the business. These were to ensure the long-term growth of the company, creating and safe-guarding opportunities for its employees and maintaining its positive impact on the North-east of Scotland.

“Crucially, this deal will maintain Score’s independence as a market leader in the supply and repair of valves to the oil and gas, nuclear and marine industries.”

The new owners, he said, are committed to supporting the development and advancement of Score’s workforce and to anchoring the company’s headquarters and global centre of excellence in Peterhead.

SCF Partners is a specialist investor in energy services with 30 years’ experience of building businesses in North America, Scotland, the Middle East and Australia.

Colin Welsh, international partner at SCF Partners, added: “The Ritchie family has built a terrific company. We are excited to partner with the management team to take the business to the next level.  

“SCF is particularly well positioned to support Score in further developing its international operations in Houston, the Middle East and Australia where the firm has both experience and investments in other service companies”.

Mr Welsh will become chairman of Score while Peter Stuart of SCF Partners is appointed interim chief executive.

Mr Ritchie’s sons, Conrad and Nelson, will move to new consultancy roles to help ensure a smooth transition.

Commenting on the deal, Nelson Ritchie said: “This deal represents a new chapter for the business, its employees and the family.”

Specialist corporate finance advisers to the energy industry, Simmons Energy and N+1 Singer advised on the deal.

The cash consideration will be financed in part through equity commitments which will be underwritten by funds managed by SCF Partners. The remainder will be funded from the proceeds of a senior term loan and revolving facilities agreement with, amongst others, HSBC Bank.

Managing director, Nick Dalgarno, said: “Score is a true North-east success story and has an enviable international reputation throughout the industry. 

“It’s rare that a family business like this comes to market and it was a privilege to have been chosen by the Trust to advise on the transaction.”

Funds managed by SCF Partners have invested in more than 70 platform companies and made in excess of 250 additional acquisitions to build and develop the platform companies, helping to develop 17 publicly-listed oilfield service and equipment companies over its history.

SCF Partners manage investments globally and is represented in Houston, Calgary, Aberdeen and Singapore.

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