Bluewater Completes Sale of Global Engineering Firm Kent to Nesma & Partners

1 February 2024

Bluewater hints at deployment and growth strategy for upcoming third fund

  • Under Bluewater, Kent revenues grew from $200mn to $1.4bn.
  • The significant growth of Kent underscores Bluewater’s unique value creation model.
  • Bluewater Founding Partner, Tom Sikorski: “Kent is a perfect example of the Bluewater value creation model centred on transformational acquisitions and internationalisation, and a textbook private equity deal in the Middle East. The successful transaction with Nesma & Partners also shows the international dealmaking capability that drives Bluewater, as we move towards raising our third fund.”

Bluewater, the specialist energy private equity firm, has today completed the sale of Kent, a global engineering firm headquartered in Dubai, UAE, to Nesma & Partners, a Saudi Arabian contracting company.

The terms of the transaction are undisclosed.

Bluewater acquired Kent (then known as Kentech) in 2015, and under Bluewater’s stewardship has seen revenues soar from $200mn to $1.4bn in a little over eight years.

During its ownership, it drove significant value creation by implementing its value creation blueprint, which is focused on four key levers:

  1. Internationalisation: headquartered in Dubai, Kent now has offices across the world, including in the US, China, UK, India and Australia, with projects in more than 20 countries.
  2. Transformational acquisitions: the major highlight being the 2021 acquisition of SNC Lavalin’s energy business.
  3. Sector diversification: Kent is now a major player across the energy spectrum, from oil and gas to hydrogen, carbon capture, offshore wind and energy from waste.
  4. Buy and build: we have made several smaller, local acquisitions to increase expertise, niche service offerings, and ‘on the ground’ capability.

Tom Sikorski, Founding Partner at Bluewater, added: “We have taken a business headquartered in Dubai, grown its footprint to every corner of the world, and have now sold to a major company in Saudi Arabia who is a strategic player in the region with international ambitions.”

“Having successfully employed a multi-pronged growth strategy with Kent, we will be replicating that in our third fund, which will have a large focus on the Middle East and the US.”

Marcello Stroppa, Managing Director at Bluewater, commented: “Kent is an exceptional growth story.  We are very proud to have supported the business over the years and played a role in transforming it from a niche local player to a diversified global leader. The company is led by an extremely talented management team who have flawlessly executed the plan. We believe we have now found the right owner to support Kent in its continued growth.”

John Gilley, CEO of Kent, added: “Thank you to Bluewater for their support since 2015, it has been an incredible journey of growth and achievement alongside its team. We’re looking forward to the next stage of growth, built on the solid foundations created with Bluewater.”

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