GEMS International NV (GEMS) is a world leader in the provision of geotechnical, geophysical, survey and metocean services to the global oil and gas, telecommunications, renewable energy, port and harbour and dredging industries. Although the company is registered in Belgium the majority of its operations are based in South West England with overseas operations in Nigeria, Egypt, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Kazakhstan.
The company also has a senior management office in Darlington which is led by the chief executive Charles Tompkins, local entrepreneur and founder of CTC Marine Projects and minority shareholder in GEMS.
GEMS appointed PwC to provide corporate finance advice after Charles Tompkins took operational control of the company as it experienced cash flow difficulties towards the end of 2010 as a result of losses on three exceptional contracts. GEMS required a cash injection of €16m to restore normal working capital levels.
The corporate finance team, led by Paul Mankin, designed an accelerated process to identify and introduce a small number of potential private equity partners with a proven track record of completing transactions within short timescales and experience in working with companies to improve operational controls. The team then co-ordinated the transaction within the tight timetable required and within a complex deal environment including negotiating a standstill agreement with the company’s existing banks and negotiating exit terms and ongoing trading contracts with the founding shareholder. There was also a requirement to recruit an interim CFO during the process and PwC were able to identify a suitable candidate within 24 hours.
Rutland Partners (Rutland) were first introduced to the company in the middle of January 2011 and completed the transaction on March 3. The transaction saw the management team invest alongside Rutland with the company’s existing bank facilities remaining in place. Charles Tompkins of GEMS said: “The GEMS management are delighted Rutland has recognised the company’s potential and we believe that together we can develop GEMS into a larger and even more successful force in the market.”