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19 March 2007

Exponent teams with management in V. Holdings buy-out

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V.Holdings’ management has teamed up with Exponent Private Equity in a buy-out of V.Holdings, the world's largest marine services provider and a leading international provider of energy outsourcing solutions. Close Brothers Private Equity, an investor since 2003, has reinvested some of the proceeds from its previous 50% holding to keep a minority interest.

Through its three business units, V.Ships, V.People and V.Investments, V.Holdings provides ship management and related services to over 900 vessels in both the cargo and leisure segments with $12 billion of assets under management. It also provides manpower recruitment, management and training as well as financial and commercial services such as financing and ship broking. Group revenue in 2006 was $196.6 million, a 42% increase over 2005.

Commenting on the transaction, Donald Anderson, V.Holdings Group CEO stated, “With this new investment structure V.Holdings is appropriately capitalised to pursue our business strategy involving an ambitious agenda for organic growth and selective acquisitions in the shipping and energy services sectors.” He added, “The Exponent team impressed us in terms of what they've achieved since their founding in 2004. Their views on future development of the V.Holdings group closely match our own and they recognise what we have achieved to date. That, combined with their experience investing in a varied range of sectors make Exponent an ideal investment partner for us. We are obviously delighted that Close Brothers, having generated a good return from its initial investment in V.Holdings, has retained an interest. We are also grateful for the strong support our customers have shown for our development agenda. They can be assured that our management team, as long-term shareholders of the group, will continue to be committed to delivering the best solutions for their businesses.”

Richard Campin, co-founder of Exponent commented: “V.Holdings is the most successful ship management company in the world. The business faces many opportunities for significant growth and we look forward to working with the V.Holdings team and contributing to the continued success of the business.”

Tullio Biggi, Deputy Chairman and co-founder of V.Holdings, commented: “The success of V.Holdings to date is due largely to a true partnership culture we extend to all stakeholders. We are delighted to have found a new partner who shares this approach.”

Financing for the transaction was underwritten by HSBC. V.Holdings was advised by NM Rothschild and Norton Rose. Lazard and Allen & Overy acted for Exponent. Kinmont, Moore Stephens and Travers Smith advised V.Holdings’ management team.