New International valve group created

Valco Group aims for further industry consolidation.

Valco Group announces its new corporate identity as a leading international player in the market for industrial valves. The new group, with revenues of about USD 100 million in 2008, currently operates in the oil & gas, marine and energy & industry sectors. Valco Group has been formed from the Norwegian and French valve operations of the former Flowtech division of Technor Group.

“The market possibilities and growth potential for industrial valves are significant. This industry is highly fragmented, thus creating opportunities for growth and further value creation. We are convinced that a focused and well capitalised company like Valco Group is in an excellent position to realise this potential”, says the company’s chairman Atle Eide.

Valco Group, with its head office in Stavanger (Norway), has five operational units: The factory Westad Industri in Norway, the two French factories: Malbranque and SNRI, the sales and distribution company Valco Valves & Automation (Norway) and Technor Valve Services (to be renamed Valco Valve Services) (France). The Group has approximately 400 employees, and is owned by leading private equity investor and oil and gas specialist HitecVision, who acquired the Technor Group in 2006.

The Valco Group has defined four main market segments:

– Oil and gas upstream
– Oil and gas downstream
– Marine sector (LNG and LPG vessels, oil and chemical tankers
– Energy and industy (power plants and chemical industry)

The companies in the group have strong market positions in the provision of valves for LNG and LPG vessels, low temperature and sour gas (H2S) segments. For other areas, the Group sees significant growth potential based on innovation and further development of existing products. The customer list of Valco Group includes several of the world’s leading oil companies, shipping/marine groups, major ship owners and energy companies, as well as several global EPC (Engineering, Procurement & Construction) companies. The majority of Valco’s customers are domiciled in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Valco Group is a new company with a proud heritage, tracing its origins back to 1895 when Westad Industri was incorporated. Today the Westad brand is most known for delivery of quality valves to the shipping industry. In 2008 about 80% of the revenues of Westad were to ship yards in Asia. Within shipping, Oil & Gas, Industry and Power plants, the brands Malbranque and SNRI are well recognized both in France and internationally. Most of the revenues from the French companies comes from markets in Asia, Africa, Middle East and Russia.

Mr. Oddbjørn Kopperstad has been appointed President & CEO of Valco Group and Mr. Kjell Ove Hatlem has been appointed Chief Financial Officer. Kopperstad was former Director of the FlowTech division of Technor, and has his professional background from Baker Hughes and StatoilHydro. Mr Hatlem has long international industry experience, including as CFO of the listed companies Kverneland Group and Comrod Communication. Mr. Alain Lebre, heading the French companies of Valco Group, and Mr.Jørn-Inge Throndsen, head of the operations in Norway, are also part of Group management.

During the last three years, an extensive investment program has been undertaken to increase production capacity and modernise the production facilities in Norway and France. The priority in 2009 is to further streamline work processes and to continue the improvements in our sales and procurement organizations.

“Through this strengthening of the companies, we have a good foundation to take further market share in this fragmented valve market”, says CEO Oddbjørn Kopperstad. “In the coming years, Valco Group will grow organically as well as by acquisition. Our objective is to double our revenues during next 3-5 years, which we see as ambitious but also realistic in todays current environment”.

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