Fi­nan­cial mag­nate boosts for­tune with Ar­genta sale

Deal: Ger­man rein­sur­ance group Hannover Re snaps up com­pany

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - BUSINESS - BY KEITH FIND­LAY

One of Scot­land’s wealth­i­est busi­ness­men, Alas­dair Locke, is boost­ing his for­tune through the £142.5mil­lion sale of fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pany Ar­genta.

Mr Locke, who runs a sheep farm at Dufftown in Mo­ray, owns 45% of London-based Ar­genta and its di­ver­si­fied port­fo­lio of busi­nesses fo­cused on spe­cial­ist in­sur­ance market Lloyd’s of London.

They are be­ing sold to Ger­many’s Hannover Re, one of the big­gest rein­sur­ance com­pa­nies in the world.

Mr Locke, 63, founded en­ergy ser­vices firm Ab­bot Group, now op­er­at­ing as KCA Deu­tag, 25 years ago.

He col­lected nearly £120mil­lion from a near£1bil­lion deal an­nounced in 2007 to take it pri­vate through a takeover, worth nearly £1bil­lion, by US pri­vate eq­uity firm First Re­serve Cor­po­ra­tion. Other busi­ness in­ter­ests helped lift his es­ti­mated for­tune to around £180mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to last year’s Sun­day Times Rich List of the UK’s wealth­i­est peo­ple.

The sale of Ar­genta is ex­pected to close in the third quar­ter of 2017, sub­ject to ap­provals. “We are de­lighted to have reached agree­ment to be­come part of such a strong and well­re­spected rein­sur­ance group,” Mr Locke said yes­ter­day.

He added: “We be­lieve that this trans­ac­tion is in the best in­ter­ests of Ar­genta, its cus­tomers and its staff.”

Mr Locke started his ca­reer in 1974, first as a banker with Citibank, Oceanic Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion and Henry Ans­bacher and Com­pany. As deputy chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of tiny oil and gas ex­plorer Kelt En­ergy in the late 1980s, he was in­stru­men­tal in a £200mil­lion­plus takeover of ri­val Car­less.

He es­tab­lished Aberdeen-based Ab­bot Group in 1990 to cre­ate a UKbased off­shore drilling com­pany and in­vest in the ship­ping and off­shore in­dus­tries.

Ab­bot ac­quired Ger­man busi­ness KCA Deu­tag in 1992 and took it pri­vate, re­float­ing the en­larged com­pany in 1995.

Mr Locke, a for­mer E&Y Scot­tish En­tre­pre­neur of the Year and Grampian In­dus­tri­al­ist of the Year, re­ceived an hon­orary doc­tor­ate from Robert Gor­don Univer­sity in Aberdeen in 2010. He is cur­rently chair­man of Aberdeen-based Hardy Oil and Gas, while just two years ago he was at the heart of a £500mil­lion pri­vate eq­uity-backed man­age­ment buy­out of the Hert­ford­shire-based Mo­tor Fu­els Group.

Just as with Ab­bot, he in­vested in Ar­genta on a longterm view and then ac­tively man­aged the busi­ness.

He had a small stake from au­tumn 2003 and later took full con­trol and be­came chair­man in a res­cue of the com­pany in the wake of Lloyds tak­ing a bat­ter­ing from Hur­ri­cane Rita. In­dus­try body De­com North Sea (DNS) has un­veiled Chris Cox, manag­ing di­rec­tor of Cen­trica’s off­shore ex­plo­ration and pro­duc­tion busi­ness, as key­note speaker for its 2017 con­fer­ence and ex­hi­bi­tion.

The Chal­leng­ing the Norm event, prin­ci­pally spon­sored by Bureau Ver­i­tas UK, will be held at Aberdeen Ex­hi­bi­tion and Con­fer­ence Cen­tre on Wed­nes­day, May 24.

Mr Cox has more than 30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in global oil and gas up­stream ac­tiv­i­ties. As well as se­nior man­age­ment jobs at BG Group, he has held key in­ter­na­tional tech­ni­cal, com­mer­cial and man­age­ment roles at Amer­ada Hess and Chevron Cor­po­ra­tion.

De­com North Sea

“This trans­ac­tion is in the best in­ter­ests of Ar­genta” “Clear pic­ture of re­cent and cur­rent ac­tiv­ity”

chief ex­ec­u­tive Roger Es­son said: “With a num­ber of ma­ture assets in the Cen­trica port­fo­lio and ef­fi­cient de­com­mis­sion­ing amongst his top pri­or­i­ties, Chris is ideally po­si­tioned to pro­vide in­sight into the cur­rent de­com­mis­sion­ing land­scape from an op­er­a­tor per­spec­tive and we are de­lighted to an­nounce him as key­note speaker.

“Now in its fifth year, De­com Off­shore 2017’s pro­gramme will re­flect the ti­tle, Chal­leng­ing the Norm, by fo­cus­ing on pro­vid­ing a clear pic­ture of re­cent and cur­rent ac­tiv­ity within the de­com­mis­sion­ing sec­tor.

“This is an evolv­ing sec­tor, and it is fun­da­men­tal to our com­mit­ment.”

MOVE: Alas­dair Locke re­ceived an hon­orary doc­tor­ate from Robert Gor­don Univer­sity in Aberdeen in 2010

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