Norwegian investor Hitecvision buys Suretank in €52 million deal

Irish company supplies specialised storage equipment to the oil and gas industry

Norwegian investment fund Hitecvision is buying a majority stake in an Irish group that supplies equipment to the offshore oil and gas industry in a deal valuing the business at €52 million.

Hitecvision has agreed to buy a two-thirds stake in Suretank, an Irish-owned and based business that supplies specialised storage equipment to rigs and the general offshore oil and gas industry.

According to its founder and chairman Patrick Joy, the Norwegian company's offer for its stake values the overall business at €52 million, implying a purchase price of almost €35 million.

Co Louth-based Suretank supplies the global offshore industry with tanks used for storing chemicals, drilling muds and other materials, including substances earmarked for disposal – companies are no longer allowed to dump this at sea.

The tanks are designed to meet regulations laid down by various jurisdictions. They are manufactured using carbon or stainless steel, and generally use specialised linings.

The company's clients are mainly multinationals that specialise in servicing the industry, including Haliburton and Schlumberger.

The company began in Dundalk with 14 employees and now employs 600. It has branches in Ireland, Britain, Thailand, a joint venture in China and subcontractors in the US and Brazil.

Mr Joy is an engineer and says that he spent most of his early career looking for an opportunity to run his own business. He got the idea when he was working with CPV, which makes tanks for transporting chemicals.

Seed capital
Neil Lund, a colleague from CPV, also invested in the venture. In all the firm started in Dundalk with seed capital of £150,000.

Both Mr Joy and Mr Lund are keeping a stake in the company. The founder will stay on as chairman and a member of the board.

Hitecvision has invested in over 150 companies, mainly specialising in those that provides equipment and services to the oil and gas industry.

It recently sold the Norway-focused Spring Energy to Irish-based group Tullow Oil.

Other investments include Agility Group, Axon Energy Products, Core Energy and Reef Subsea. The group manages five funds in total.