Aberdeenshire-based SeaEnergy has been placed in administration as marine engineering services specialist James Fisher & Sons acquired the firm’s Return to Scene (R2S) business.
Trading in the shares of SeaEnergy have been suspended since April, pending clarification of its financial position. Blair Nimmo, Geoff Jacobs and Tony Friar of KPMG have been appointed administrators.
Prior to the administrators’ appointment its SE Innovation Limited (SEIL) business, assets and 10 employees (including the Return to Scene forensic, and Max & Co businesses) were sold to R2S by the Sea Energy directors, and seven employees of SeaEnergy were transferred to R2S.
In March, SeaEnergy, which has its headquarters at Westhill, said it had entered into discussions with a number of parties for acquisition of its R2S Visual Asset Management business as well as other group assets.
It said was facing significant cash flow difficulties and would need to consider a sale of its main assets, or the group businesses would be unable to continue trading beyond May 2016.
SeaEnergy began to experience cash flow challenges in late 2015, due to the ongoing oil price decline adversely impacting R2S activity levels. Client orders were cancelled or postponed, and the number of new business enquiries reduced significantly.
James Fisher has struck a £1.9 million deal to acquire the Return to Scene business. Return to Scene provides visual asset-management photographic capture services, digital media services and forensic services to the oil & gas and security sectors.
In response to these challenges, the SeaEnergy directors secured additional funding in November 2015 via a £1 million working capital loan. In early 2016, trading conditions began to deteriorate even further.
James Fisher will pay £1.9 million upfront for the business and another £100,000 if R2S wins certain contracts before the end of 2016.
All 33 R2S employees have been transferred under the James Fisher deal.
Bob Donnelly of Return to Scene, added: “We are delighted to be part of the James Fisher family. This is an exciting time for our team. The uninterrupted provision of services to our clients is of key importance and as part of James Fisher, we’ll continue to innovate and deliver efficiencies for our clients.”
Of the remaining seven employees of SeaEnergy, three have been made redundant following the appointment of KPMG as administrator and four have been retained to assist the administration process.
Nimmo said: “We are pleased to have concluded the sale of R2S to James Fisher, which will safeguard the majority of jobs within the group, maintain customer service, and provide the best outcome for SeaEnergy’s creditors.
“Based on the information available at present, it is unlikely there will be any recovery for the shareholders,” said Blair Nimmo, joint administrator for SeaEnergy and UK head of restructuring at KPMG.