NEW YORK – KPS Capital Partners, LP (KPS) announced on May 1 in a news release that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Lufkin rod lift solutions business from Baker Hughes.
Lufkin was founded in 1902 and acquired in 2013 by General Electric's Oil & Gas division. The division subsequently merged with Baker Hughes, Inc. in 2017.
Lufkin, headquartered in Missouri City, Texas, is a leading global provider of rod lift products, technologies, services and solutions, including automated control and optimization equipment and software for rod lift equipment to the oil and gas industry. With over 100 years of industry leadership, Lufkin manufactures a complete line of surface pumping units, downhole sucker rod pumps and automation systems in six manufacturing and assembly facilities worldwide. Lufkin has an extensive global service footprint that operates in every critical rod lift market in the world.
Upon close, the transaction will transfer assets of the Lufkin rod lift business to an affiliate of KPS, including brand rights, facilities, intellectual property and personnel. Lufkin's power transmission business will remain part of the Baker Hughes portfolio and is not included in the transaction with KPS.
Greek-American Michael Psaros, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Partner of KPS, said, "We are excited to create an independent Lufkin. KPS will build a successful energy platform on the foundation of Lufkin's legendary brand name, unparalleled reputation for reliability, superior technology and global footprint. The historic dislocation in current global and domestic energy markets has created an extraordinary investment opportunity for an investor like KPS. KPS Partner Ryan Baker will lead a team to acquire complementary technologies and products that serve the upstream sector of the energy industry in partnership with Lufkin's management team. Lufkin will benefit from being a debt-free business with access to the very significant financial resources of KPS."
Andy Cordova, the rod lift solutions general manager for Baker Hughes, said, "We are confident in our future as an independent company under KPS' ownership. KPS is an ideal partner with a demonstrated decades-long track record of creating and building industry-leading companies. KPS' global platform, commitment to manufacturing excellence and significant financial resources will enable Lufkin to accelerate its growth and invest in technology and process improvements for our customers, while enhancing our established reputation for industry-leading technology, quality and customer service."
Completion of the transaction is expected mid-year 2020 and is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals.
Simmons Energy, a division of Piper Sandler & Co., acted as advisor and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal counsel to KPS and its affiliates. Citi and Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. acted as financial advisors and King & Spalding International LLP served as legal counsel to Baker Hughes.
Psaros told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “We’re not focused on the price of oil today or in June or in September. We understand that the world is going to remain dependent on hydrocarbons for the next few decades and the U.S. will remain one of the world’s primary producers.”
Of the acquisition, Psaros told WSJ, “This is not the time to put leverage on companies in the energy business. KPS is going to provide the Lufkin platform with the capital it needs to grow organically and through acquisitions.”
Psaros said that “KPS’ global presence is helping its portfolio weather the pandemic, as Asia is already recovering while lockdowns persist in most U.S. states,” WSJ reported.
“Obviously we’ve had a material reduction in revenues, cash flows and profit,” Psaros told WSJ, adding that, “given the acute nature of the pandemic, the portfolio ‘is performing quite well.’”
More information about KPS Capital Partners is available online: www.kpsfund.com.