KFH-Bahrain acquires stake in Scottish firm

MANAMA: Kuwait Finance House – Bahrain (KFH-Bahrain) has acquired control of a leading Scottish engineering contractor with strong links to the Middle East oil and gas sector. It has bought a 75 per cent stake in Motherwell Bridge from private equity house JOHCM Private Equity, which backed a management buyout of the west of Scotland firm in 2006.

Originally founded more than 100 years ago, Motherwell Bridge is not new to the region, having worked on many oil, gas and petrochemical projects in the past.

In particular, its specialist engineering, design and project management expertise in the large storage tank and gas holding sector provides a strong platform for its growth plans in the region.

It also has expertise in shutdown, overhaul and refurbishment of major petrochemical installations.

Motherwell Bridge is a regular exhibitor at oil and gas and industrial exhibitions across the region.

“We are delighted to add Motherwell Bridge to our portfolio of investments,” said Kuwait Finance House managing director and chief executive officer Abdulhakeem Alkhayyat.

“We are backing a proven management team, which we believe are capable of delivering significant growth by acting as specialist engineering subcontractors in the oil, gas and petrochemicals sector.

“In particular, the opportunity in the Middle East is significant and we will work with management by utilising our presence and network in the region to convert this opportunity into a reality. We are looking forward to what we believe will be an exciting time for the development of the business.”

Motherwell Bridge chairman Hugh Hayes said that we increased our emphasis on international business two years ago, and took the decision last year to split our engineering contracting business into two separate companies, one concentrating on the UK and one overseas.

“Although it is early days, we can see the momentum building in the region, and I won’t be surprised if within three years from now we are earning as much from outside the UK as we are from within.

“That is certainly our intention, and having KFH-Bahrain as a majority shareholder can only help us achieve this goal.”

KFH-Bahrain private equity head Lloyd Williams said it was extremely satisfying to lead this transaction, which was structured as a secondary management buyout and was supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland by way of a Sharia-compliant acquisition finance facility.

“We were able to structure a solution which was both tax efficient and provided strong incentives for both KFH-Bahrain and the management team to successfully grow the business in the future. I am looking forward to working with Hugh and his management team and to help them deliver the business plan.”

KFH-Bahrain is actively pursuing deals in a range of sectors from industrial, oil and gas, utilities through to healthcare, telecoms and infrastructure.

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