Peak Group executives net £26m from sale to AGR

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The Independent Online

Two former Enterprise Oil engineers and their accountant scooped £26m from the sale of the drilling services company they set up nine years ago to a Norwegian rival yesterday.

Peak Group has been bought by Ability Group (AGR) from Straume, near Bergen, for £26m in cash with the lion's share of this total going to Andrew Paterson, the Aberdeen-based company's chief executive. His 53 per cent stake in Peak will net him £13.7m. The remainder will be shared by Gordon Angus, the chief financial officer, and Bob Lyons, the managing director. Mr Paterson set up Peak in 1997 with a few thousand pounds of seed capital, a series of contracts and some help from Mr Angus. Today, the group has more than 90 staff and operations throughout the world. It had turnover of £25m in 2005.

When he established the company, Mr Paterson's aim was to provide drilling services to oil and gas explorers who are too small to have their own operation. Peak's growth has been accelerated by the soaring oil price.

However, Peak also has some big players as clients. Last year it carried out a drilling programme for KNOC, the Korean National Oil Company, in west Africa. Today, the market Peak targets is worth more than £1bn.

After the takeover by AGR, the group will continue to operate under its own name out of Aberdeen. In fact, it is likely that some of the services offered by the Norwegian company will be brought under the Peak Group brand.

Mr Paterson, Mr Angus and Mr Lyons will remain as executives at the enlarged group. AGR has pledged not to cut any jobs

"Our clients will see the benefits of our greater operating and financial muscle and our staff can look forward to even broader opportunities," Mr Paterson said.

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