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Blackstone forms PE platform to take advantage of offshore crisis

Investment firm Blackstone has announced the formation of Clarion Offshore Partners, a platform to provide strategic solutions to the offshore oil and gas drilling and services sector.

Blackstone has provided a financial commitment from private equity funds it manages and says that Clarion’s investment mandate is to pursue opportunities with a wide array of industry participants including offshore drilling companies, shipyards, financial institutions, investors, and oil & gas operators. Clarion will provide financing solutions including growth and restructuring capital.

Clarion’s chairman Louis Raspino, along with partners Greg Looser, Kevin Robert, and Ron Toufeeq were part of the executive management team at Pride International, a leading international offshore drilling company which was acquired by Ensco.

Raspino commented: “This is an opportune time in the industry for a well-capitalized and experienced team to provide creative financing and operational solutions. Balance sheets are under severe pressure, existing operators are challenged to deploy assets, and related parties throughout the value chain are also facing financial pressures. We believe Clarion can be a partner of choice to the industry and we are excited about partnering with Blackstone.”

Blackstone’s move comes within hours of an announcement from Hercules Offshore that it is exploring “strategic alternatives” which could see the company sold.

Clarion is not the only new outfit set up to take advantage of distress in the offshore industry. In December 2015, John Fredriksen set up Sandbox, a new company seeking to acquire distressed rig newbuilds.

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Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.
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