Financial magnate boosts fortune with Argenta sale
Deal: German reinsurance group Hannover Re snaps up company
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