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StanChart fund to invest $75m in Renaissance unit



Muscat: Renaissance subsidiary Topaz Energy and Marine (Topaz), a leading offshore support vessel company with primary operations in the Caspian, Middle East, West Africa and Subsea operations in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico, yesterday announced a $75 million new equity investment in the business from Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE), one of the world's leading emerging market private equity investors.

Under the terms of the investment, SCPE will inject $75 million of equity in return for a 9.8 per cent stake in the business. The funds will be deployed in support of Topaz's long-term fleet expansion ambition in its core operational regions and strategic entry to key growth opportunities.  

"Joining forces with a private equity powerhouse like SCPE will enable Topaz to truly accelerate the realisation of our strategic plan," commented René Kofod-Olsen, chief executive officer of Topaz.

"We have now enhanced the foundation from which we can deliver our ambition for further geographical diversification and growth through both organic expansion and acquisitions.

SCPE is investing because of its firm belief in the Topaz story, the team and our strategy, and we look forward to working together in close partnership," he added.

Samir J. Fancy, chairman of Topaz and its parent company Renaissance, said, "On behalf of the board of directors, I'm pleased to welcome SCPE on board. Bringing in institutional funds is a key part of the board's strategic capital markets plan.

Topaz has been a target of much investor interest, however our choice of partner was logical given the deep multi-decade relationship between Topaz and Standard Chartered Bank.

This partnership between Renaissance Services and one of the world's leading emerging markets private equity houses speaks volumes in terms of the value of Topaz and its tremendous potential. The diversification of our sources of capital puts Topaz firmly on the path to eventual independence as a world-class OSV business, as envisaged by Renaissance Service's Group strategy."

Strategic partners
Taimoor Labib, Regional head of Middle east and North Africa (Mena) private equity and head of Global Private Equity Portfolio Management at SCPE, added, "We are proud and humbled to have been chosen as strategic partners by one of the leading companies in the UAE and the Middle East, with a global reputation within the oil and gas space.

Topaz's high quality management team, committed shareholder base and independent governance are admired by many in the region. We look forward to working with our partners in Topaz and helping the company achieve its long-term strategic objectives." Labib will be joining the Topaz board on behalf of SCPE.

Topaz currently operates 99 vessels around the world. The fleet has an average age of 7 years against an industry average of around 15 years ensuring energy clients are serviced by a technologically advanced and cost efficient fleet of vessels.

Closing of the transaction is subject to bank consents and customary conditions. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2014.

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