Show Hide image

Technip to buy Shaw Group’s business for €225m

Shaw's revenues are currently around €220m.

The French oil service company Technip has signed an agreement to acquire Stone & Webster process technologies and the associated oil and gas engineering capabilities from The Shaw Group for approximately €225m in cash.

This acquisition will allow Technip to enhance substantially its position as a technology provider to the refining and petrochemicals industries; diversify further its onshore/offshore segment, adding revenues based on technology supply; strengthen its relationships with clients and partners worldwide, backed by the Stone & Webster reputation; expand in promising growth areas such as the US, where downstream markets will benefit from the supply of unconventional gas; and add skilled resources, notably in research in the US, and in engineering in the US, the UK and India.

Thierry Pilenko, chairman and CEO of Technip, said:

The acquisition of these world-class downstream technologies and high-quality engineering resources fits perfectly with Technip’s strategy to differentiate itself through technology. Technip becomes a major technology provider to downstream markets, adding value to its onshore/offshore segment. In addition, we gain access to promising growth areas, including US petrochemical investments driven by low-price shale gas. Furthermore, we are delighted to welcome 1,200 talented people to Technip, to support our growth and our clients needs. We continue the process of broadening Technips offering of products, services and technologies.

The acquired business generates revenues from technology licensing, process design engineering, early-stage and front-end engineering, PMC and the supply of equipment. This acquisition roughly doubles the revenues that Technip already generates from this type of activity.

The transaction, which is expected to close during the second half of 2012, is subject to customary price adjustment and closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Barclays is acting as financial advisor to Technip and Davis Polk & Wardwell is acting as legal advisor to Technip.

Show Hide image

Geoffrey Howe dies, aged 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.