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Stanford Marine Said to Delay London IPO as It Seeks Sale

Stanford Marine Group postponed a planned initial public offering in London as majority owner Abraaj Group courts potential buyers for the Dubai-based business, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Stanford Marine, an operator of offshore supply vessels for oil and gas firms in the Middle East and Gulf of Mexico, may now sell shares in the first half of 2015 instead of this year and won’t IPO if it finds a buyer earlier, the people said, asking not to be named as the details are private. Abraaj, the largest buyout firm in the Middle East, may seek a market value of about $300 million for the company, the people said.

Private-equity owners exiting stakes in companies they acquired before the global financial crisis are pursuing both merger and IPO routes in a crowded equity capital market in Europe. Listings raised about $31 billion last quarter -- the most since 2006 -- according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Apax Partners LLP sold Travelex Holdings Ltd. to a group of United Arab Emirates-based investors in May after initially planning an IPO.

Stanford Marine reported revenue of $237 million in 2013 and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $60.2 million, according to its website. Abraaj owns a 51 percent stake in the company and the rest is held by Al Waha Capital PJSC, an Abu Dhabi-based investment firm. The owners may look for a valuation of about five times Ebitda, the people said.

London Listings

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG were working on Stanford Marine’s IPO, which one of the people said had been tentatively scheduled for the first half of this year.

Spokeswomen for Waha and Abraaj both declined to comment on the IPO plans, and media contacts for Stanford Marine did not immediately return request for comments. Representatives at the banks also declined to comment.

Competitor Gulf Marine Services Plc raised 179 million pounds ($307 million) in a London listing in March, and its shares have risen 18 percent since.

Shelf Drilling Ltd., a Dubai-based oil-rig supplier owned by Castle Harlan Inc., Champ Private Equity Pty and Lime Rock Partners LLC, said this week it had decided not to proceed with a London IPO to raise at least $500 million. Five companies have withdrawn or postponed sale plans in London this year as investors become more selective about new listings.

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