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Energy staffing company Swift Worldwide eyes IPO - CEO

Swift Worldwide Resources, a firm that staffs big global energy projects with mainly engineers, expects to go public or be acquired within the next five years, the company's CEO told Reuters on Thursday.

Swift, based in Houston, was acquired by New York-based $3 billion private equity firm Wellspring Capital LLC in November for an undisclosed sum.

"We will either sell again to a very large private equity firm or pursue a public flotation," said Tobias Read, the company's chief executive officer. He said he was "indifferent" between the two options.

Swift, which provides engineers and other skilled workers to companies including Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and BP Plc (BP.L) (BP.N) projects it revenue will double to $1.5 billion by the end of 2016, helped partly by the boom in North American shale drilling and projects in places like Africa, said Read.

The company currently employs about 3,500 people in 23 countries and Read said demand was tight globally for skilled professionals in the technologically-intensive petroleum industry.

Like several other companies in the sector that have relocated their headquarters to Houston, Swift recently moved from London to the global epicenter of the energy industry.

ACQUISITIONS

Read said the company is looking to grow organically and buy assets in the staffing market, which is still a bit fragmented.

"I'd like Swift to be part of that small group that consolidates the market through acquisitions," he said.

Swift, which traditionally has provided oil and gas engineers to so called mega-projects like those that produce liquefied natural gas (LNG), has seen its client base expand due partly to the oil and gas drilling boom in North America.

"There is an insane appetite for developing the oil and gas shales, said Read.

Swift is now sending its contractors to much smaller oil and igas companies drilling in shale formations like the Bakken in North Dakota as well as some firms who treat wastewater from oilfield operations, the executive said.

While oil and gas activity is growing in many parts of the world, the biggest companies including Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell RDa.L are cutting or slowing capital expenditures after years of heavy investment to develop major projects.

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