In October 2006 Graphite Capital led the £70 million management buy-out of NES Global Talent, a leading provider of specialist engineers to the global oil and gas, power and infrastructure industries.

Based in Manchester, the company’s customer base comprises large blue-chip organisations, including all major oil companies and many large international engineering businesses.

NES rolled out 20 new offices under Graphite’s ownership, taking the total around the world to 32. Staff numbers more than doubled to around 450 and the company more than trebled the number of contractors on its books to nearly 5,000 in 62 countries. 

The company was transformed from being predominantly UK focused into a global operator, with three-quarters of its profitability now generated overseas, across all continents. NES grew EBITDA organically every year from 2006 to 2012 despite the difficult economic climate. Net fee income more than doubled and EBITDA trebled under Graphite’s ownership. 

In October 2012, NES was sold for £234 million to funds advised by AEA Investors LP in a tertiary buy-out, generating a significant multiple of original cost.

NES has continued to develop its suite of value added services which it provides to both contractors and corporate customers. The company has opened 18 new offices, principally in its expanding overseas business, almost doubling sales and operating profit under Graphite’s ownership. The fast growing overseas business now accounts for 65% of group revenues and for over 60% of the group’s 3,700 contractors. The company also has a permanent placement business which accounts for approximately 15% of net fee income.

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Key stats

  • Exit Value: £234m
  • Country: UK
  • Date invested: 2006
  • Date realised: 2012

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