VEDCO Announces Major Investment to Fund Continued Growth


GRUNDY, Virginia, June 29, 2006 – Virginia Explosives & Drilling Company, Inc. (“VEDCO”), the Grundy, Virginia-based leader in outsourced drilling and blasting services to the Central Appalachian surface coal mining industry, today announces the investment of growth capital by Lime Rock Partners and Cadent Energy Partners, two energy-focused private equity firms. Lime Rock, Cadent, and VEDCO management are acquiring the ownership position in VEDCO from Harren Equity Partners and other non-management shareholders, while simultaneously providing VEDCO with a capital commitment to continue to rapidly grow its business.

Operating under the Virginia Drilling Company and Austin Sales brands, VEDCO has operations throughout the Central Appalachia Basin of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Virginia Drilling Company’s specialized labor force and superior drilling and blasting techniques improve the utilization of capital equipment and labor, decrease explosives costs, and increase efficiency through superior engineering and geological analysis. Austin Sales is the leading independent distributor of explosives in the Central Appalachia region, having served the coal industry for almost 70 years.

With $1.3 billion under management, Lime Rock Partners, based in Westport, Connecticut, is a long-term investor of growth capital in global energy companies in the exploration and production, energy service, and oil service technology sectors. Cadent Energy Partners, based in Rye Brook, New York, is a private equity firm providing growth capital to small and medium-sized companies across the energy industry.

Virlo Stiltner, Vice President of Sales and co-founder of VEDCO, said, “We are excited to begin a new chapter in the history of VEDCO. Our company continues to grow our offering of products and services, and the investment by Lime Rock and Cadent will allow us to better serve our existing customers as well as to reach new customers throughout the Central Appalachian Basin.” Clinton Evans, Vice President of Operations, added, “We see increasing activity levels within the Central Appalachian coal industry. With Lime Rock and Cadent as partners, VEDCO is uniquely positioned to expand its operations to serve the growing sector. We will continue to provide our customers with superior service, operations personnel, and equipment.”

John Reynolds, Managing Director of Lime Rock Partners, noted, “Since we first met the VEDCO team, we were struck by its experience and commitment. Together, management and the company’s extremely talented employees have successfully pioneered and grown the outsourced drilling and blasting business model. We are excited to partner with the team on the next leg of VEDCO’s growth.” Bruce Rothstein, Managing Partner of Cadent Energy Partners, added, “VEDCO is uniquely qualified to take advantage of the increasing trend to outsource drilling and blasting services. Our capital will facilitate management’s strategic plan to expand VEDCO’s fleet and staff to meet its customers’ growing needs.”

For more information on Lime Rock Partners, please visit For more information on Cadent Energy Partners, please visit


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