A team of former Harkand executives have agreed a management buyout of the defunct oilfield services firm’s US and African businesses – giving hope that 100 jobs can be saved.
The team led by AJ Jain, Harkand North America managing director, has agreed a deal with administrators Deloitte to acquire the North American and African business.
The new company, to be known as Ethos Offshore, will continue to provide subsea engineering and construction services to Harkand’s existing US, Mexican and West African client base.
The new company, backed by investment funds advised and managed by Oaktree Capital Management, – the investment company that launched Harkand in 2013 – is expected to have a contracted backlog of $145 million worth of projects. The move also could potentially safeguard more than 100 jobs across North America, Africa and Mexico, Ethos said.
Harkand Group – and a number of its subsidiaries – went into administration on Wednesday. The European business had ceased to trade prior to entering administration due to financial pressures.
Harkand’s European business (based in Hammersmith and Aberdeen) is being wound down with the loss of 171 jobs (148 in Aberdeen). 39 staff will be retained for a short period to assist with the wind-down of the European business.
Ethos said it will be able to deliver a full scope of subsea services to established clients, including ROV and diving, inspection, engineering, project management and survey services. This will provide a sound platform for growth as new opportunities arise, the new company said in a statement.
Operations in the three regions will continue to be led by AJ Jain as chief executive officer, supported by Brian Schacht, head of business development and communications, James Parker, head of North America operations and Doug Fieldgate, head of West Africa operations.
Mr Jain said: “Throughout the transition process, our focus will be to ensure that there is no disruption to clients.
“Our project teams will continue to deliver the high standard of services that our clients are accustomed to.
“We are delighted that Oaktree Capital Management continues to believe in the business created by the North America team of Harkand and is supporting not only the current projects but also the growth ambitions of our new company.”
Guillaume Bayol, Vice President at Oaktree, said: “The management team of Ethos Offshore, led by AJ Jain, has an established track record of delivering excellence to clients and partners in the Gulf of Mexico and West African markets.
“We are excited to work with them to build Ethos Offshore into a company with the highest reputation for safety, service and value for money in the subsea engineering and construction sector. We view this as an opportunity to build a platform and business model that can thrive in today’s challenging environment.”