ROVOP, the independent subsea remotely operated vehicle (ROV) services company, is gearing up for continued development of its fleet and international expansion after securing £10m of funding from BGF in April 2015.
The announcement of the deal came as Fergus Ewing MSP, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Business, Energy & Tourism, officially opened the company’s new £4.2m headquarters in Westhill, Aberdeenshire. The 18,500 sq ft site allows ROVOP’s fleet of ROVs to be managed from one integrated hub and includes its proprietary training academy, ROV simulator, offices and underwater ROV test facility.
ROVs are tethered, unmanned underwater vehicles used by the offshore oil and gas and renewables industries to carry out a wide range of tasks to support wind farm cable lay and on-going inspection; drilling operations; subsea construction; survey and the inspection, repair and maintenance of subsea pipelines, platforms and other infrastructure.
ROVOP was founded in September 2011 and since then has invested more than £40m in its fleet of ROVs while building a strong reputation for quality, reliability and safety. ROVOP is 100% focused on ROV services and therefore provides genuine expert capability to its growing client base. The investment from BGF allowed the company to continue to grow its fleet of ROVs with a capital expenditure programme that would see the expansion of the fleet to around 50 ROVs over the next three years, operating globally.
Earlier in April 2015, the company opened its western hemisphere headquarters in Houston, Texas, hiring experienced industry experts Scott Wagner, Brett “Gonzo” Eychner and Wayne Betts to lead the business, which has already served customers in both North and South America.
Mike Sibson joined the ROVOP board as investor director for BGF.
STATS secures £4.3m follow-on
STATS Group, the Aberdeenshire-based oil and gas pipeline engineering specialist, is preparing for further international expansion after it secured an additional £4.3 million investment from BGF in January 2015.
The management team behind STATS has also invested more money in the business, which received an initial £7.8m of growth capital from BGF in March 2012.
Since the initial funding deal, STATS has doubled its annual turnover to around £30m, has created 145 additional jobs and has opened operational bases in Canada, the Middle East and the US.
The additional growth capital will fuel the continued rate of expansion, especially in the US, where STATS opened a new facility in 2014 and recently won contracts worth more than $15m to provide intervention and isolation services to one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America.
BGF’s investment will also aid growth in the Middle East, where STATS has pioneered the use of emergency isolation tools as an insurance policy against damage to vital pipeline infrastructure, both subsea and on-land, with clients including national oil companies across the region.
Simon Munro, BGF regional director Scotland, said: “I’m delighted that we are investing more capital in STATS and continuing to back Peter and his team. Since our initial investment in 2012, the company has gone from strength to strength, doubling turnover, creating jobs and expanding globally.
“Follow-on investments are an important part of the BGF model. By supporting businesses that we know and have a proven track-record, we can help them to grow even further.”
Pete Duguid, chief executive officer of STATS Group, added: “Simon and his team at BGF have been very supportive since our first investment. They have not just injected cash into the business but have also offered advice and support during our global expansion.
“The latest funding will help us to maintain the pace of our expansion in the US and the Middle East.”
Peter Duguid founded STATS in 1998 with his sister, Lorraine Porter. The company has since grown to employ 265 people at its head office in Kintore, near Aberdeen, and at its other bases in Inverurie, Kendal, Canada, Malaysia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the US.
Last year STATS invested £500,000 in opening a global training centre at its head office in Kintore to maintain and improve quality and competency standards through in-house specialist training.
Recent work carried out by the group has included isolating the Forties Pipeline System on behalf of Apache North Sea so that a subsea isolation valve could be safely installed on this major pipeline, responsible for transporting over a third of the UK’s oil production.
ACS CLOTHING APPOINTS NEW CHAIR
Leading formal hirewear company, ACS Clothing appoints Dr Teresa Robson-Capps as its new Chair.
Europe’s largest independent supplier of formal hirewear, ACS Clothing, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Teresa Robson-Capps as its Chairperson.
Dr Robson-Capps’ extensive experience in technology, retail and telecommunications businesses, and latterly assisting high growth companies in non-executive, advisory and consultancy roles, will help ACS to deliver its strategic objectives as it moves to develop its service offering and extend its international presence.
Teresa was Deputy Head of HSBC Direct Bank from June 2009 to September 2011. During this time she developed and implemented a substantial change programme, integrating sales and service with increased conversion rates whilst improving both customer and employee satisfaction. Prior to this Teresa was Head of Contact Centres for HSBC, a role covering 11 million UK customers from 13 virtual sites.
Teresa was an Associate Partner at Accenture from 2003 to 2006 and in the three years prior to that, was MD of The Customer Division at Reality, a division of GUS plc. Previous senior executive roles include Customer Services Director at Cable & Wireless, Transformation Director at Zurich Insurance and MD of Sears Retail Services.
Dr Robson-Capps’ appointment marks the latest corporate development at ACS following investment of £8.5m in January 2014 by BGF (Business Growth Fund) to assist the company in expanding its operations and investing in its multichannel offering for its retail partners. BGF invested £8.5m in ACS and its bespoke software business Xedo Software, which provides a range of software products to the hire and wedding industries. Xedo has recently relocated to new premises in the centre of Glasgow and is in the process of recruiting additional software developers as part of its expansion plans.
Dr Robson-Capps was introduced to ACS by BGF’s Talent Network, which identified her as a highly regarded individual who would be a significant addition to ACS’s Board.
On the appointment, Richard Freedman, CEO of ACS Clothing commented:
“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Teresa as our new Chair. As a result of BGF’s investment and our own excellent reputation within our industry, we have secured a first rate individual and we look forward to making the most of Teresa’s extensive experience and track record of delivering significant shareholder value.”
Dr Teresa Robson-Capps added: “I am delighted to be taking on this appointment. ACS is a young and extremely dynamic company with a very exciting future. Under Richard’s leadership it has grown substantially in recent years, and I look forward to the chance to contribute to its further success.”
ACS Clothing was established in Glasgow in 1997 by Richard Freedman and his father, Joseph. The business soon expanded initially focussing on the hire of highland wear to the Scottish market, before expanding into formalwear and evening wear across the UK. ACS Clothing has exclusive supplier agreements with retailers including Debenhams, Austin Reed, Greenwoods, Slaters Menswear and Burton as well as its own brand Cameron Ross.
Located in purpose-built facilities spanning 190,000 sq. ft. at Eurocentral, just outside Glasgow, the £11.5m business employs around 100 people. ACS stocks more than three million garments and processed in the region of 400,000 UK orders during 2013, with the wedding season being the period of highest demand. Stock control and garment sorting is completely automated using bespoke technology created by Durkopp allowing ACS to sort and process 5,000 items simultaneously. All garment dry cleaning and maintenance is carried out on the premises.
Leading international geoscience businesses merge to create the Task-Fronterra Group with BGF funding
BGF’s latest investment in Scotland has supported the combination of two leading geoscience businesses, both focused on the oil and gas sector. Aberdeen-headquartered Task Geoscience and Houston-headquartered Fronterra Integrated Geosciences have joined forces to become a global geoscience consultancy – the Task-Fronterra Group. Task-Fronterra has received a financial injection of £3.8m of growth capital investment from BGF, which will take a minority stake.
Task Geoscience was founded in 2001, and Fronterra in 2003. Both are independent geological consultancies providing data processing, borehole interpretation and reservoir modelling services to the major operators in the oil & gas industry. The merger has created the largest independent geoscience company specialising in the use of borehole imaging and core integration, which allows it to improve clients’ understanding of oil and gas reservoirs through analysis of the well bore geology and surrounding faults and fractures. Task-Fronterra has a global footprint, with 10 offices across North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. The combined business benefits from the knowledge of more than 80 of the most experienced geoscientists in the field.
Task-Fronterra will be run by the founder and CEO of Task, Lawrence Bourke, who is supported by a senior management team from across both businesses. In addition two senior non-executives, Will Davie and John Forrest, have joined the board. Will Davie brings over 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry including geosciences, with numerous senior management positions within Schlumberger. John Forrest was previously MD of Talisman’s North Sea business, before which he held several senior roles at Mobil.
Geoscience analysis and interpretation is key to understanding oil and gas reservoirs, which in turn is critical in making extremely valuable decisions on how best to maximise the returns from exploration and production activity. Task and Fronterra are the two market leaders in the sector, and enjoy complementary skills and geographical coverage. Furthermore, the complementary expertise provides the opportunity to assist clients across the world with their understanding of mature reservoirs, carbonates, deep-water fields, and unconventional hydrocarbons. In particular the Integrated Shale Gas Workflow, driven from Task-Fronterra’s understanding of the relevance of fracture networks to productivity of shale gas wells, has been pioneering in the industry.
Task-Fronterra’s proprietary software, attitude, allows clients to analyse and visualise surfaces within and between wells in a unique and intuitive manner. The use of Task-Fronterra’s unique workflows, together with interwell analysis using attitude allows the identification of sub seismic faults and fault systems which can improve certainty in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and reduce the risk of poor well positioning with respect to faults. This is important in mature basins such as in the North Sea where poor EOR well placement can result in early water breakthrough.
CEO of the Task-Fronterra Group Lawrence Bourke, commented: “Task and Fronterra share the same culture of constantly leading our scientific field, and always putting our clients first. Task has driven innovation in borehole image analysis and in software tools for interpretation, while Fronterra is the leading presence in analysing shale gas well bores. The combined business will offer more opportunities for our people as well as providing a broader service to our clients and I’m excited about working to bring together two highly talented workforces and creating new jobs in the future as the company grows.”
“BGF has already invested considerable time visiting our US operations and brings a strong understanding of our business and vision. Its growth capital investment and intellectual capital provide a strong opportunity for our business.”
Mike Sibson, BGF’s Investment Director who has joined the Task-Fronterra Group board, said: “Both Task Geoscience and Fronterra Integrated Geosciences have excellent reputations in the industry, and this is a really exciting opportunity to back a powerful combination. The people in both businesses are market leading in their fields, Lawrence has grown and sold a similar business before, and with senior input from Will Davie and John Forrest we have a really strong board to help the team deliver on their plans.”
Specialist oil and gas service provider SPEX Group looking to make a bigger bang with £5m BGF investment
BGF continued to support the UK’s growing oil and gas services sector when it backed SPEX Group in March 2014. SPEX is an Aberdeen-headquartered oil and gas service provider and was looking to accelerate its expansion in international markets and accelerate its technology development with a £5m growth capital investment from BGF. This was BGF’s fourth investment in Scotland this year.
SPEX, which in 2013 won the prestigious PWC/HSBC Technology Innovation of the Year award and the Northern Star Business Award for Commitment to Innovative use of R&D, was founded in 2009 to provide specialist services to the offshore industry, including explosives, cutting, punching and abandonment capabilities. The group has steadily grown to include the Innovation Centre, a fast-track design and prototyping service which offers unique design and technology development expertise to industry, and SPEX Production for rapid machining utilizing state-of-the-art large Mazak CNC machines.
Clients are using the unique SPEX in-house capabilities to design, develop, test and manufacture ground-breaking energetics and non-energetics technologies for a range of applications, and include solutions to solve some of the industry’s biggest challenges.
In September 2013 SPEX also secured fourth place on the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 league table for the first time, making it one of only four companies headquartered in Scotland to make it on to the league table which ranks Britain’s private technology, media and telecoms (TMT) companies with the fastest-growing sales over three years.
Employing more than 60 staff, the business operates globally from Aberdeen, and has a strong presence in the North Sea. It has an expanding international footprint having worked in more than 20 countries and has recently invested in opening new operations in the US, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. SPEX’s expansion into Saudi Arabia will support the company’s wider growth plans in the Middle East where there is huge potential for its services.
BGF’s investment is enabling SPEX to continue to accelerate growth to meet demand and allow SPEX to invest in the development of its own tools and technologies with Third Party customers and recruit service personnel for the international expansion of its downhole services business. BGF took a minority stake and BGF Investment Director, Mike Sibson, joined the SPEX board. Banking facilities are provided by Bank of Scotland.
CEO and founder of SPEX, Jamie Oag, explained:
“SPEX has a unique blend of technology and capabilities in-house. We provide these services for major customers, with an increasing international footprint. At the same time we are applying the same expertise to some real and urgent customer problems in the oil and gas industry. The financial support from BGF can speed up our response, allowing us to invest in people, tools and manufacturing equipment while allowing SPEX to maximise the potential of existing technologies that the company believes will be transformational for well control.
“BGF’s combination of capital and support was perfect for SPEX, and we are very pleased to welcome them on board.”
Mike Sibson, BGF’s Investment Director, said:
“We are delighted to invest in SPEX. It is a great fit for BGF. SPEX has built an excellent position based on a unique set of skills, and has exceptionally strong engineering capabilities. It is an ambitious team with a vision to build an international business. We look forward to working together to achieve the vision. BGF started the year with great momentum, and SPEX is our fourth investment in 2014. We have a strong pipeline of opportunities for the rest of the year.”
Mobile telecoms service provider Mono Consultants set to expand with £7m BGF investment
In February 2014, BGF backed the management team of Mono Consultants, one of the largest providers of network support services to the UK mobile telecoms sector.
Headquartered in Glasgow with more than 200 employees operating from eight locations across the UK and Ireland, Mono offers a complete range of end-to-end support services to its network operator clients. Services provided include acquisition and planning; design, build and rigging; integration and commissioning of radio equipment; site maintenance; site decommissioning and, increasingly, programme and project management.
Mono’s clients include the UK’s leading network operators, network operators’ consolidation entities and the main equipment vendors. The business has grown significantly over the past five years and is seeking to continue on this path with turnover of £40m forecast in 2015.
BGF took a minority stake and BGF Investment Director, Duncan Macrae, joined the board.
Created in its present form in 2002, but with its origins dating back to the deregulation of the telecoms market in the mid-1980s, Mono has, over the past decade, significantly increased the range of services offered, has evolved from a regional supplier to a national supplier of these services and has been involved in the delivery of many large, multi discipline projects for its clients.
CEO of Mono, Brian Dougherty, who joined the business when it was formed in 2002 and who has been the CEO since 2007, explained:
“The mobile telecoms market is experiencing a period of unprecedented activity driven by a combination of the introduction of 4g services and the consolidation of the operators’ radio networks as they strive to improve customer experience through both coverage and quality of service whilst controlling and minimising their future operating expenditure.
“Mono has to provide the entire range of services needed by our customers in order that they can obtain the maximum operational, time and cost efficiencies that come from having an end to end service provider.
“Technology change is one of the key drivers for our business and we see this growth continuing through 4g and, in due course, with the introduction of 5g.
“Mono continues to have an excellent and supportive relationship with its bank, HSBC, but the longer-term predictability that is provided by BGF’s growth capital enables us to accommodate the mobilisation and working capital requirements of the growth and development opportunities that are available to us.
“The BGF team have, since the outset, shown an enthusiasm for our business and we look forward to working with them. ”
Duncan Macrae, BGF’s Investment Director who joined the Mono board, said:
“Mono is a market leader that has maintained long standing relationships with its customers thanks to its reliable service and its ability to react quickly and adapt to change in the telecoms market. We look forward to working with Brian Dougherty and his experienced management.”