UAE's Gulf Capital buys stake in oil field firm

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Gulf Capital is buying a controlling stake in OCB Oilfield Services, which provides crews and logistics for oil rigs, to boost its exposure to the sector, the private equity firm said in a statement on Wednesday.

Gulf Capital, which has around US$1bn in assets under management and counts Credit Suisse among its investors, did not provide financial terms of the deal. The company's stake exceeds 51 percent but the specific figure was not provided.

Gulf Capital said the global market for offshore crew supply and linked services, outside North America, is more than US$1bn a year.

Dubai-based OCB, with operations in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, serves about 20 percent of the roughly 35 to 40 significant offshore operators around the world, the firm said.

Oil and gas discoveries in East Africa and "further penetration in the Southeast Asia market... offer significant incremental growth upside," Gulf Capital said.

Last year, Gulf Capital's CEO said the firm expected to close three acquisitions in 2012 including in healthcare, oil and gas, and the food sectors.

Its bid to sell a 79-percent stake in Gulf Marine Services (GMS) for about $500 million collapsed last year, partly due to financing issues, sources told Reuters in June.

Gulf Capital's chief executive said at the time the firm was exploring a potential initial public offering (IPO) for GMS, one of the biggest assets in its portfolio, on a major stock market like London or Singapore in two years' time.

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