Expro seeks £100m listing

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The Independent Online
Expro, the oil services group, is to seek a stock market listing in April that will value the company at £100m and make paper fortunes for up to 60 of its managers.

The company's directors own 15 per cent of the shares, with other managers accounting for a further 20 per cent. John Dawson, chief executive, who led the 1992 management buyout of the company from Flextech, the cable television company, says the directors have pledged not to sell their shares for a year. Expro is seeking the listing to reduce its £50m debts and fund further expansion.

Expro was founded in 1973 and rode the back of the North Sea oil boom. From initial bases in Great Yarmouth and Aberdeen it has expanded into 30 countries and now counts companies such as Shell, BP, British Gas and Mobil among its clients.

As well as operations in the former Soviet Union, South America and the Middle East, Expro is looking to expand into Norway and Australia in the next year and will shortly start work in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We are one of the few British companies that is competing with the US giants," Mr Dawson said.

He added that Expro planned to take advantage of the trend towards outsourcing, where multinational oil companies contract out services such as the surveying of oil wells. "We are living in a low oil price environment and our strategy is to use some of our new technologies to help the large oil companies improve their management processes."

Expro has 850 staff and last year made pre-tax profits of £10.4m on sales of £65m. Profits in the current financial year are expected to be significantly higher, the company says.