Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Stagecoach tycoon Brian Souter backs buy out of biodiesel venture

Transport tycoon Brian Souter has backed a buy out of Scottish biodiesel producer Argent Energy, which has a recycling venture with his Stagecoach bus and rail group.

By Helia EbrahimiPublished: 3:45PM BST 24 Aug 2009
Souter Investments, the family's private investment group, teamed up with Argent's management to buy the business for an undisclosed sum.
The sale, which sees senior management pick up an equity stake in the business, ends the involvement of private equity firm Cinven, which provided seed capital and investment from Argent's inception in 2001.
Argent was the UK's first large-scale producer of biodiesel, converting used tallow and cooking oil into fuel for cars and commercial vehicles. Its plant in Motherwell, Scotland, has the capacity to produce 45,000 tonnes of biodiesel.
The company already has a venture with Stagecoach, which Mr Souter co-founded with his sister Ann Gloag and now chairs, in which the bus company rewards passengers in Ayrshire with discounted fares in biodiesel-powered vehicles in exchange for them providing used cooking oil for recycling.
Although the terms of the deal were not released it is believed Souter has taken control of about half of the company which has an annual turnover of £25m.
Argent abandoned plans to float on Aim two years ago in the wake of the credit crunch.
Mr Souter is one of Scotland's richest men, but his family investment fund keeps a low profile although it has backed green companies before.